MLB eases KC vendor restrictions for All-Star Game

03/14/2012 5:00 AM

05/16/2014 6:14 PM

First Friday in July will not be a bust after all for area food vendors who feared they’d be shut out of the Crossroads because of restrictions coinciding with baseball’s All-Star Game.

Bowing to criticism from vendors and City Councilman John Sharp, Major League Baseball has relaxed language in two proposed ordinances that would have outlawed non-MLB-approved street vending within a mile of a “major sporting event district.”

In the case of the All-Star Game, the district will include a mile radius around Bartle Hall, the Country Club Plaza and the Truman Sports Complex.

Under the revised proposal, nonfood vendors would still be prohibited in those zones before, during and after All-Star week, July 6-10. Baseball says it needs the restrictions to better police the sales of counterfeit fan merchandise.

But new language says established food vendors — those who now have all the required permits to operate in Kansas City — would be exempt from the ban under a pair of substitute ordinances approved Wednesday by the council’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee.

Food vendors licensed between now and the All-Star Game would still be excluded without permission. But the grandfather clause for those already in business pleased Sharp, who worried they couldn’t profit from such a large event.

Besides, he said, downtown Kansas City and the Crossroads wouldn’t be Kansas City without the many food trucks and carts.

“They add a great deal of ambience to the city,” he said.

Stand-alone businesses also will benefit from baseball’s concessions.

Initially, baseball officials had proposed that no temporary signs be allowed, without Major League Baseball’s permission, in a major sporting event district — even on private property, if the signs could be seen from the street or sidewalk.

That restriction still would stand if the ordinance establishing those districts gets full council approval.

However, the time frame is loosened. The original restrictions were for 30 days before and 30 days after the All-Star Game. The new language sets the prohibition at 10 days prior and seven days after.

The revision also reflected one other change Sharp had suggested. Instead of being limited to “professional” sporting events, the new language would apply to amateur events like the recently concluded Big 12 basketball tournament. They, too, would be able to limit signs and nonfood vendors within a mile of their venues, as long as the events were big enough, drawing crowds of at least 35,000 to two or more venues over two or more days.

The provisions now go before the full council.

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