UNIVERSITY CITY (KMOX) – Teens say there’s not much for them to do during these long, hot, boring days of summer break.
“The police are driving everyone out,” one said of the district along Delmar Boulevard, at Wednesday night’s Youth in the Loop forum at the Heman Park Community Center.
“You could’ve just bought a sandwich at Jimmy John’s, and they’ll still come up to you and tell you that you have to leave,” said one University City high school student of the police and the curfew.
Police Chief Charles Adams said his officers are just doing their job.
“Police aren’t dictating who comes and who doesn’t come. The object is that when you come, you’re supposed to act civilly and obey all the rules,” he said after the meeting.
Greater enforcement of the curfew came after a weekend this past spring, during which crowds of youth caused disruptions.
University City Manager Lehman Walker told KMOX that he doesn’t believe there’s a reason for underage youth to be on Delmar after a certain time, when shops and restaurants are closed and only business that admit over-21 patrons are open.
He said the curfew would not change.
Other adult members of the community in attendance, including the police chief, agreed with that conclusion.
The group of high school students proposed a “teen center,” where they could go without the fear of being kicked-out.
“A safe place so that we’re not such a heavy burden on the city, as we’re told that we are,” one said. “Just for us to have a place where we can hang out and not be harassed and not told that we have to leave at a certain time,” added another.
There was also discussion about mass transit and how to encourage responsible use by kids who often try to catch a free ride, among other issues.
City and community leaders took notes, and said they would take the teens’ ideas under advisement.
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