Unsupervised teenagers will no longer be allowed in two major Madison shopping malls during the evening on weekends after a policy announced by mall ownership.
CBL Properties, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said effective July 28, teenagers without a chaperone will not be allowed in both East and West Towne malls after 4 p.m.
“Our primary goal is to maintain a very family-friendly environment, and we have heard a lot from our retail partners and from our customers that unescorted youth, sometimes numbering into the hundreds on weekend evenings, can create a disruptive environment,” said CBL spokesperson Stacey Keating.
Keating said CBL had discussions over the last several months with city of Madison officials, the Madison Police Department and retailers and their customers.
“We’ve just decided that this is in the best interest of our shoppers and both properties,” Keating said.
Some groups in the city expressed concern that the policy could target teens of specific races, or that it could leave teenagers without a place to go on the weekends.
CBL officials said they would be willing to “partner with” other community organizations to provide programming for teens, but said the policy was necessary to ensure safety of shoppers.
“Teenagers are still very important to us, we’re only asking that they be here with a parent or guardian for 10 hours of the total hours the mall is open each week,” Keating said. “They’re welcome to be here during weekdays, on weekend days and we’re only asking them to be with a parent or guardian for a very small number of hours the mall is open.”