Solar eclipse inspires 5 watch parties in Downtown KC

Looking for a great place to witness the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21? You’ve come to the right place. Downtown Kansas City will be home to five public watch parties and a Mural + Creativity Festival.

You can get the complete Downtown low-down at, courtesy of the Downtown Council’s Tactical Urbanism group.

America’s greatest solar eclipse since 1918 will cast a patch of darkness from coast to coast on Monday, Aug. 21. Throughout Missouri, anyone will be able to see the eclipse on Aug. 21, but the totality (or total darkness) – when the moon completely blocks out the sun – will best be visible the closer you get to St. Joseph.

Kansas City may be located a bit south of St. Joe and maximum totality, but totality is still expected to best be viewed in Downtown – albeit for a shorter amount of time – when you are north of 19th Street. In Downtown KC, the eclipse will begin at 11:41 a.m. and reach a peak (totality) at 1:08 p.m.

The five Downtown watch parties and one creativity festival are located along the KC Streetcar route at these six locations:

And, BEFORE, you set out for the eclipse watch party of your choice, be sure to know the facts about eye safety and the solar eclipse. According to NASA , never look directly at the Sun. You can not only seriously hurt your eyes, but possibly go blind. Proper eye protection, like eclipse glasses or a Sun filter, is the only safe option. Sunglasses don’t work.

For more information about eye safety, click here or check out this safety flier from NASA.

And, for complete eclipse science, guides and time-stamped viewing maps of the eclipse path, visit





Downtown KC Urban Hero nominations due this Friday

2017 Urban Heroes: Deb Churchill, Andrew Bracker, Julie Nelson Meers, Vince Bryant and Matt Staub

Do you know someone who is passionately working to make Downtown Kansas City a better place?

You can show your appreciation by nominating them for an Urban Hero Award from the Downtown Council! And, you’ll need to hurry. The nomination deadline is on Friday.

Your input is essential in identifying the most qualified candidates for these honors, which will be presented at the DTC Annual Luncheon in January 2018.

Please consider making a nomination for this year’s award.

This Urban Hero award recognizes small businesses and individuals who are passionate about making Downtown KC a more vibrant place to live, work and play.

The most recent set of Urban Hero awards went to five individuals, including Andrew Bracker, the City of Kansas City; Vince Bryant, 3D Development Group; Deb Churchill, The City Market; Julie Nelson Meers, mobank; and Matt Staub, community leader and member of the KC Streetcar Authority.

The award is given to those who have worked to improve the quality of life Downtown.  Click here to make your nomination.

And, remember, the deadline for nominations is this Friday, Aug. 4.

For more information, contact Ann Holliday,, or Julie Shippy,

Downtown Office Summit reflects strength, optimism

View of Downtown Kansas City from the rooftop of the Corrigan Station, which served as home to the Downtown Office Summit on Wednesday.

The Downtown Council stage its first Downtown Office Summit on Wednesday at Corrigan Station. The event was a sell-out not only with Downtown business and civic leaders, but also with developers and potential office tenants who are closely watching and keenly interested in this next chapter of Downtown’s revitalization.

The following report was filed last night by Kevin Collison, publisher and writer of CitySceneKC, a new hyperlocal digital newspaper serving Downtown Kansas City.

Downtown Kansas City is on the cusp of new office construction to meet the needs of employers who want to recruit and retain younger workers seeking the diversity and energy of an urban environment, according to writer Kevin Collison in today’s edition of

That was one of the takeaways at the Downtown Council of Kansas City‘s first ever office summit Wednesday, an event attended by 170 people in the newly redeveloped Corrigan Station office project.

It’s goal was to explore how Downtown can attract more private employers.

“Since our move, we’ve acquired a lot more talent,” said Meg Stapleton of Auto Alert, a software firm that recently relocated its headquarters from California and is occupying 45,000 square feet in a building at 114 W. 11th St.

“We’re attracting the younger, new talent that wants an urban mix.”

The summit was kicked off by Mayor Sly James, who said major projects including the renovation of Union Station, the Sprint Center, Power & Light District and Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, plus events like First Fridays set the stage for a more vibrant downtown.

“The key to any city’s success is attracting businesses and companies in the future who need talent that wants to take advantage of the downtown lifestyle,” James said. “If we corner the market on talent, the businesses will follow.”

To read Collison’s complete story, go to


Nominations open for annual Downtown KC awards

2016 Urban Heroes: Deb Churchill, Andrew Bracker, Julie Nelson Meers, Vince Bryant and Matt Staub.

The Downtown Council has opened nominations for its two annual awards, the Urban Hero Award and the J. Philip Kirk Award.

Your input is essential in identifying the most qualified candidates for these honors, which will be presented at the next DTC Annual Luncheon in January 2018.  Please consider making a nomination for this year’s awards.

Urban Hero Award

This award recognizes small businesses and individuals who are passionate about making Downtown Kansas City a more vibrant place to live, work and play. The award is given to those who have worked to improve the quality of life Downtown.  Click here to make your nomination.

J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award in Honor of Community Vision and Downtown Stewardship

This award is presented annually to a civic leader whose vision, guidance and commitment have helped

Pat Ottensmeyer, 2016 Kirk Honoree Al Mauro and Steve Dunn

set Downtown on a clear path for revitalization.  Click here to make your nomination. 


DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS is  Friday, Aug. 4, 2017!

Contact Julie Shippy, or Ann Holliday, with any questions.

LaunchKC application countdown reaches 2 (days)

The magic number number is down two!

Tech entrepreneurs have only three days left before applications are due for the LaunchKC grants competition on Friday. And, there is MUCH at stake for tech startups.

Not only will LaunchKC give out $500,000 in grants – including one $100,000 grand prize – to nine entrepreneurs, but also the final round of competition will unfold live at Techweek Kansas City  on Friday, Sept. 15.

LaunchKC is a platform for attracting tech entrepreneurs and their early stage businesses to establish/grow emerging enterprises in Kansas City. It is seeking the best and brightest entrepreneurs to apply and compete for $500,000 in non-dilutive grants.

In its first two years, LaunchKC has awarded $1 million via $50,000 grants to 20 startups from six states and three nations. This year will mark the first time that LaunchKC has featured one $100,000 grand prize.

The application window for the third annual LaunchKC competition is open until 11:59 p.m. Friday. To apply, go to the online application at

“Let LaunchKC be the fuel for your entrepreneurial fire,” said Mike Hurd, spokesman for LaunchKC. “A $50,000 grant – let alone a $100,000 grand prize – would serve as a powerful liftoff for a startup business.”

Countdown: 7 reasons & 7 days left to apply for LaunchKC

LaunchKC has awarded $1 million in grants to 20 tech entrepreneurs, including this group from 2016, over the last two years. Applications for the third annual grants competition are due next Friday, July 7.

Tech entrepreneurs have only seven more days to apply for a share of the $500,000 funding pool offered by LaunchKC, the global grants competition.

LaunchKC is in its third year of offering $500,000 in non-dilutive grants to tech startups, following a rigorous competition that culminates at the Techweek Kansas City conference in September.

“The LaunchKC grants application is available online now through midnight on Friday, July 7,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “This is your opportunity to compete for a share of the grant pool.”

LaunchKC has awarded $1 million in grants over the last two years to 20 entrepreneurs from six states and three nations.

Entrepreneurs can apply for a LaunchKC grant online via the website. And, with only seven days left before the application window closes, Hurd offered seven reasons why a budding business leader should apply now:

  1. You could score a $100,000 grant! LaunchKC will award eight $50,000 grants, plus – for the first time – one $100,000 grand prize.
  2. Free office space in Downtown for one year. Each grant recipient will score free working space in the heart of the Crossroads – home of KC’s innovation district
  3. Professional coaching from mentors with expertise in your niche. Each grant recipient will be paired with an industry-specific mentor team
  4. Free educational programming for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. Each recipient will get the chance to learn the basics of business development from those who have been there.
  5. Pitching in the big show! Following weeks of assessment, LaunchKC judges will select 20 applicants to advance to the Techweek Kansas City conference, where they will make their pitches before a live judging panel and audience on Sept. 15.
  6. Everything starts with a spark. LaunchKC has invested $1 million in grants for 20 tech entrepreneurs over the last two years. Consider LaunchKC as the fuel to your flame. Light up!
  7. You can’t win if you don’t play, err, enter. Applications for the 2017 LaunchKC competition will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 7. Click here to  review the online application form.

LaunchKC is a non-profit initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corp., and is funded by generous and visionary sponsors, including:

  • Strategic – Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Techweek;
  • Visionary – Kansas City Power & Light District, UMB Bank;
  • Contributing – Burns & McDonnell, Google Fiber, Husch Blackwell, KCP&L, Lead Bank, Missouri Department of Economic Development;
  • Emerging – Polsinelli, J.E. Dunn Construction, Lathrop & Gage, Marriott Downtown Kansas City;
  • Supporting – Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; UMKC  Bloch School of Business.

More? Contact Mike Hurd, marketing officer, or 816/447-2136.


Time is running out to register for Downtown Office Summit

View of Downtown Kansas City from the rooftop of the Corrigan Building, 19th & Main, home of the Downtown Office Summit meeting on July 12.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City
invites you to attend the
Downtown Kansas City Office Summit
two weeks from today @ 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 12,
Corrigan Building, 1828 Walnut
Cocktail reception to follow at 5:30 p.m. on the Corrigan rooftop (weather permitting)

Mayor Sly James

 The Honorable Sylvester James, Mayor of the City of Kansas City,
will deliver opening remarks: 

The City’s perspective on the future of office development in Downtown.
What are the City’s plans (or vision) to facilitate future growth?  

 Market Overview
E. Gibson Kerr, Vice President, Cushman & Wakefield
Michael Klamm, Managing Director, CBRE
Recent Market Activity
What are the opportunities and obstacles? 
What are tenants looking for in today’s market?

Jon Copaken, Principal, Copaken Brooks
Dave Harrison, President, VanTrust Real Estate
Bryan Johnson, CEO, Colliers International, Kansas City
Troy Schulte, City Manager, City of Kansas City, Missouri
Downtown Office Manager
Downtown Office Tenant 

Moderator: Steve Vockrodt, The Kansas City Star

 Limited seating available. Registration closes, July 7th

For more information, contact Julie Shippy,

Thank you to our sponsors:

Two Ambassadors step up to CID leadership roles

CID Ambassadors Art Chatman, left, and Marvin Williams have stepped into leadership roles this summer in the Community Improvement Districts.

The Community Improvement Districts (CID) of Downtown Kansas City have promoted two long-term Ambassadors to supervisor-level positions. Marvin Williams has stepped into the role of Public Maintenance Ambassador Supervisor, while Art Chatman is the new Public Landscape Ambassador Supervisor.

“It’s with great pride that we announce these promotions. This announcement is not only a vote of confidence in Marvin and Art, but also well-deserved by these two role models for the CID Ambassadors,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CID. “They earned these opportunities the old-fashioned way – through their hard word, integrity and positive attitudes.”

Marvin Williams

Williams has been a CID Ambassador for 11 years. Hired in 2006, he was promoted to Crew Chief in 2008 in charge of the weekend crew.

Williams was introduced to the CID in 2006, when he was looking for a job and putting in applications around the City. One day as he was waited for the bus at the 10th and Main Metro Plex, Williams struck up a conversation with a CID Public Safety Ambassador who was patrolling the bus stop and asked about the Community Improvement Districts. That conversation prompted him to walk across the street and fill out an application. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

“I like how much all of Downtown is progressing since I started in 2006, including the Power & Light District, Sprint Center and the Streetcar,” Williams said. “It’s great to see how the Streetcar has brought so many people to Downtown and the River Market.”

Williams enjoys his work with the CIDs, particularly meeting people and working outdoors.

“I like interacting with people, and helping them find where they need to go,” Williams said. “There’s something about working in the fresh air and the changing of the seasons that makes this job interesting all the time.”

“I’ve never been a lazy person and I have always wanted to do things that make a difference.”

Art Chatman

Art Chatman began his career with the CID as a Public Safety Ambassador in 2005. In 2013,  he was promoted to manage the Downtown Council-run Department of Motor Vehicles office at 615 E. 13th Street for a year. Chatman returned to the DCID as a Safety Ambassador Captain in 2014 and was promoted to Supervisor in 2015 before becoming the CID’s Landscape Supervisor.

Chatman, who was a barber before coming to the CID, still has his barber’s license. “I still cut hair on the side,” Chatman said, “and I’m looking to own my own barber shop someday.”

Chatman says he really likes the family feel of the CID.

“Once you get in with the CID,” he said, “you really don’t want to go anywhere else.” “The only job better than this would be a professional fisherman,” he added.

Chatman is impressed with the revitalization of Downtown and the River Market. he enjoys seeing how they are flourishing and knowing that the small part that he has played as a CID Ambassador to help make it happen.

“It is really hard to remember what it was even like when I first started back in 2005,” Chatman  said.

Click here to learn more about the Downtown and River Market CIDs.




CID Ambassadors: staffing the BIG show(s) in Downtown

Marvin Williams, CID Public Maintenance Ambassador Supervisor, patrols the grounds of Celebration at the Station during the annual Memorial Day weekend event that drew about 50,000 guests.

It may come as no surprise that the Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors are charged with providing a strong and comforting presence in the Central Business District and the River Market seven days a week. But did you know they also work that front lines at some of the major events in Downtown?

In just the last few weeks, CID Ambassadors chalked up more than 800 hours of work over three days at two of the summer’s biggest shows over Memorial Day weekend – the Celebration at the Station at Union Station AND the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival at 18th & Vine.

“Memorial Day weekend stretches us quite a bit, but the CID Ambassadors have a long and proud tradition of providing security and trash collection services at the major, holiday weekend attractions,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director.

CID Ambassadors – visible to the right of the stage – delivered public safety and maintenance services throughout the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival over Memorial Day weekend.

Ambassadors have performed their extra duties at Celebration since 2010. They have been a part of the new Jazz & Heritage Festival and previous Rhythm & Ribs jazz festivals since 2011.

Rowlands said the CID “bumble bees” routinely patrol the Central Library, River Market, City Market, and Ride KC and KC Streetcar stops, along with key intersections, streets, parking lots and special events, welcoming more than 75,000 workers, 24,000 residents and 25 million visitors to Downtown each year.

Ambassadors serve as the first point of contact for emergency needs, and help to maintain order and to deter crime through their consistent coverage and visibility. Maintaining valuable partnerships with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department (KCPD) and other law enforcement agencies helps to sustain low crime levels in Downtown.


Crossroads to launch Downtown high school at Park U. urban campus

Crossroads Charter Schools will open a Downtown High School at a temporary location on the Park University Downtown campus beginning in fall 2018. (Courtesy of The Star.)

The dream of a Downtown Kansas City high school is about to become a reality.

Earlier this year, Crossroads Charter Schools, a network of three schools in the heart of Downtown Kansas City, Mo., revealed the launch of Crossroads High School. Today, Park University and Crossroads announced a partnership for Crossroads High School to utilize the University’s Downtown Campus Center as its temporary home through July 2019.

This fall, the first class of 30 Crossroads High School freshmen, along with five faculty and staff, will occupy three of the University’s classrooms during the day on the third floor of the Commerce Tower redevelopment at 911 Main Street. Crossroads anticipates 70 more students will be added for the 2018-19 academic year while a permanent high school building is prepared to open in fall 2019. Also, as part of the partnership, Crossroads students will have opportunities to visit the University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., to gain additional exposure to college life.

Crossroads will host an open house for its students and parents on Friday, June 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Park’s Downtown Campus, to provide a sneak peek of the opportunities they will have to engage in the downtown community and its accessibility to the city’s streetcar line, which has a stop outside the building.

“We are excited that Crossroads students will expand their studies in this newly renovated, high-tech, university setting,” said Dean Johnson, executive director of Crossroads Charter Schools.

Crossroads opened its first elementary school in 2013 in an office building in Downtown Kansas City and by 2017 enrolled roughly 570 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in two Downtown locations.

“Park University is excited to work with Crossroads Charter Schools as it expands to provide education to high school age students,” said Kena Wolf, associate vice president for campus center operations at Park. “These students give the University a unique opportunity to partner in creative and innovative ways, and support our mutual desire to bring convenient education opportunities to the downtown community, which Park has provided since 1974.”

Kirsten Brown, a current teacher at Crossroads, will be the founding principal of Crossroads High School. For more information about Crossroads Charter Schools, visit

To read more about the Crossroads High School announcement, visit The Kansas City Star at and The Kansas City Business Journal at

Founded in 1875 in Parkville, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, Park University is a nonprofit, private institution that is a national leader in higher education. In 2000, Park achieved university status and now serves 17,000 students annually at 40 campus centers in 21 states and online, including campus centers in Parkville, Independence and Downtown Kansas City, Mo.; Austin and El Paso, Texas; Barstow and Victorville, Calif.; and 33 military installations across the country.

Crossroads Charter Schools, which opened in Downtown Kansas City, Mo., in 2012, prepares and inspires students to build a better tomorrow by providing an academically rigorous K-12 education in a creative, collaborative, community-focused environment. Crossroads Academy – Central Street, is a K-8 school at 10th and Central, and Crossroads Academy – Quality Hill, is a K-3 school at 11th and Washington.


Safety Escort Service available daily from CID Ambassadors

CID Ambassadors provide free Safety Escort services seven days a week to Downtown workers, residents or visitors.Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors are dedicated to providing a strong and comforting presence in the Central Business District and River Market seven days a week.

“The ‘bumble bees’ patrol the Central Library, Ride KC and KC Streetcar stops, the City Market, 18th & Vine, key intersections, streets, parking lots and special events welcoming more than 80,000 workers, 24,000 residents and 25 million visitors every year,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs.

And, they provide personal, safety escort service upon request.

Safety Ambassadors provide assistance through our Safety Escort service by walking residents, employees and visitors in the Downtown area to and from their car and workplace or residence. The CIDs provide this service between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

“While the Downtown area is statistically safer in the terms of crimes against individuals than other places in the City, the CID Safety Ambassadors are committed to helping anyone feel more comfortable walking the sidewalks at any time during the day,” Rowlands said.

“Besides, the Ambassadors have outstanding personalities and the conversations are sure to be polite, positive and interesting.”

The CIDs have logged nearly 8,000 Safety Escorts since the Downtown CID was launched in 2003, including nearly 1,600 last year alone.

To request this free public service, call the CID dispatch at 816-421-5243 during office hours, or 816-820-3475 during evenings or early mornings.


CIDs leverage PIAC funds to build & grow healthy neighborhoods

The Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts are committed to growing Clean, Safe and Green neighborhoods in Downtown KC.


While Clean & Safe has long been the mantra of the urban Community Improvement Districts, they have been joined in recent years by Green, which represents a commitment to beautifying Downtown and the River Market.

Green takes roots in large and small patches of Kansas City’s urban corridors and is nurtured by the green thumbs of the CID Landscape Ambassadors, who focus their attention on flowers, trees and streetscapes.

The Green initiative – now in its eighth year – is made possible by a partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, which awards Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds to the CIDs to make these improvements to the urban landscape.

PIAC has awarded $2.25 million to the DCID and RMCID ($175,000 and $75,000 per year, respectively) over the course of the last eight years to fund these improvements.

“Our Green efforts represent great partnership with the City, a lot of hard work and a complete labor of love for the CID Landscape Ambassadors,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs. “All of the time, money and effort is dedicated to the beautification of Downtown and the River Market for residents, employees and visitors.”

The CID PIAC Scope of Services grid (below) illustrates the volume of improvements made over the years by the Downtown and River Market Landscape Ambassadors: