RiverGate Mall today announced plans to implement a Youth Escort Policy (YEP) designed to provide all of its shoppers and retailers with a family-friendly, convenient and enjoyable shopping experience. The new policy—which will be enforced beginning Friday, May 11, 2012 —requires all mall visitors under 18 years of age to be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian who is 21 years of age or older on Friday and Saturday nights after 6 p.m.
Both Cool Springs Galleria and the RiverGate Mall are managed by CBL Properties.
The Youth Escort Policy is intended to curtail the rising number of unsupervised youth hanging out at RiverGate Mall and related disturbances occurring there on Friday and Saturday nights. RiverGate Mall management is implementing the policy in response to feedback from local government, business leaders, and members of the community.
“We have been able to initiate a dialogue about the community-wide issue of unsupervised youth and the need for alternative activities for young people,” said RiverGate Mall General Manager Brenda Neely. “Through feedback from many community leaders and groups — and shoppers and retailers that have voiced concern about inappropriate behavior on weekend nights — we have designed a policy that will allow RiverGate Mall to address unsupervised youth issues and provide all of our shoppers with a pleasant shopping experience.”
The conduct of unsupervised youth and young adults at RiverGate Mall has created an uncomfortable atmosphere for mall visitors and an increasing safety challenge.
“Teens and pre-teens are welcome to shop at the mall on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Neely. “We are only asking that our youth customers shop with a parent or guardian who is 21 years of age or older during six of the total 72 shopping hours the mall is open each week.”
Teens employed at the mall will be allowed to work after 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and RiverGate Mall will issue identification to teens under 18 years of age for ease of access to work during these times.
“RiverGate Mall strives to remain a center of commerce in the Nashville area that brings quality stores and shoppers together,” said Neely. “Unfortunately, a growing number of unsupervised youth are attempting to use the mall in a manner that is inconsistent with this purpose.”
Realizing the issue of unsupervised youth is not just a RiverGate Mall issue—but a community wide challenge—Neely and her management team have also engaged in discussions with community groups regarding the need for alternative, supervised youth programs in the area.
“We have been very impressed with the concern expressed by our community and its leaders regarding alternative youth activities,” Neely said. “RiverGate Mall will continue to partner with the community to participate in discussions that address appropriate, supervised activities for youth.”