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Managers in Lincoln’s new outdoor entertainment district have proposed a dress code that would ban cut-off shirts, tank tops and clothing associated with gangs.

“We want to create a more sophisticated and mature atmosphere for the young professional we are trying to attract to the area,” said Stefanie Warner, who was hired by WRK Real Estate to oversee the project.

The final dress code is still under review by management and will also most likely include any clothing with profanity or any type of clothing or accessory that could be used as a weapon, such as spiked bracelets or long chains, Warner said.

The dress code will be enforced in a 51,000-square-foot, horseshoe-shaped entertainment and dining district called The Railyard, next to the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in the Haymarket district of downtown Lincoln. The area will include a number of restaurants, bars and shopping and will also host outdoor markets, concerts, Husker tailgating and other events in its 8,000-square-foot courtyard.

Several University of Nebraska-Lincoln students said they think the dress code is unnecessary.

“I guess I don’t really know a lot about the area or motivations for having a dress code, but I think it sounds a little ridiculous to limit expression in that way,” Becca Grosskurth said, a junior environmental studies major. “Besides, Lincoln is hardly cosmopolitan enough for that.”

Kristin Bainbridge, a senior speech-language pathology major, said having a dress code won’t really help with the overall issue of people being offended by certain clothing items.

“There’s always going to be attire that offends people or that they may deem inappropriate,” Bainbridge said. “But that doesn’t mean they need to enforce a dress code. People should be able to wear what they want.”

The dress code and other rules of conduct will be enforced by a private security firm hired for the area along with ambassadors and off-duty police officers, Warner said. Individuals who are not compliant will be asked to change or may be asked to leave the premises, she said.

“We just really want this to be a family-friendly area,” she said. “We want it to be unique from other areas in Lincoln.”

Specifically, Warner said they don’t want the area to become another O Street, a stretch of bars downtown that she said is known for attracting rambunctious crowds of college students on weekend nights.

It’s not uncommon for cities to enforce dress codes in their outdoor entertainment districts either, Warner said. Many downtown businesses have their own dress codes about what patrons can and cannot wear as well, she said.

“We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about the dress code, actually,” Warner said. “But, of course, anytime you try to enforce a new rule, it does ruffle some feathers. We think people will eventually see this is a good thing.”

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