Flagship Madison malls roll-out new curfew as city leader voices concern

MADISON (WKOW) --   Two Madison malls are adding a new but controversial policy at the end of the month.    New signs across East and West Towne Malls explain to parents that in just two weeks, anyone under 18 won't be allowed to walk around without supervision on Friday and Saturday nights after 4 p.m.

Mall management says the decision comes after months of discussion.  They say rowdy teens and a recent uptick in shoplifting are what led to the curfew.  Chattanooga, Tennessee based CBL manages eighty plus malls all across the country.  The same policy is in place in about a third of them. 

"It's been very well received by the public and by the retailers in other markets where we have implemented this policy," CBL's Stacey Keating said.  "I think our retailers may see a slight dip in traffic at the beginning, but then they start to see families coming back and spending money on Friday and Saturday nights."

But Boys & Girls Club President Michael Johnson is worried about the curfew's implementation. 

"The timing of it is terrible," Johnson said about what he calls an 'un-vetted' policy. 

"You're not engaging the community, it's irresponsible management, shame on them,"Johnson said.

Keating begs to differ, saying they have worked on the roll-out for quite a while.

"We didn't make this decision in a vacuum, this is a result of conversations with our tenants,  with Madison Police Department," Keating said.

Johnson worries about teens being targeted or simply not having a place to shop independently on the weekends.

"What happens in Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN.. ain't Madison, WI,"he explained about why policies that work at other malls are appropriate everywhere.

Small business food court managers spoke off-camera about their concerns with the curfew as well.  They worry that it may cut their profits by 20 or even 30 percent.

For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/35890257/2017/07/14/flagship-madison-malls-roll-out-new-curfew-as-city-leader-voices-concern

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