Mayor Sly James says he’s not going to let a few “knuckleheads” undo the good accomplished by Kansas City’s summer programs for young people. That’s the right attitude, though the city also needs to work on how to avoid future problems linked to the activities.
The fights that broke out among a limited number of youths at last Saturday’s Rock the Block event at Union Station were unfortunate. As organizers look to make improvements for 2016, they must stay focused on the goal of giving young people all over the city some fun and often constructive things to do when school is not in session.
The summer programming that includes ClubKC and various athletic, arts and educational programs reached a total of 8,500 youngsters, James said this week. And at the Rock the Block event, a large number of people enjoyed dancing, eating and getting together for fun times.
The Police Department capably handled the fights that occurred toward the end of the night, which raises one potential idea of an earlier finishing time for the next Rock the Block gathering.
Beyond that, city officials need to reach out to interested youth to get their ideas for how to improve the future lineup of activities.
James said police officials have told him that they see a slight decrease in crime and victimization of juveniles during the nights that the summer events are held. In addition, the programs have cut down on complaints that young people are gathering aimlessly in shopping areas, especially the Country Club Plaza.
Those are successful aspects of the Mayor’s Nights events. While problems seem to crop up every year, the city has good reasons to march ahead and make the programs bigger and better in the summer of 2016.