Downtown Council to honor Hall family, Hallmark Cards, Crown Center

Al Mauro, Jr. (center) received the Downtown Council’s highest honor, the J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award, early this year. The 2016 award was presented by Pat Ottensmeyer of Kansas City Southern (left) and Steve Dunn of J.E. Dunn Construction.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City has chosen the Hall family, along with Hallmark Cards and Crown Center, to receive the 2017 J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award early next year in recognition of community vision and downtown stewardship.

The award will be presented at the DTC Annual Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center before an audience of more than 1,000 community champions.

“I’m thrilled that the Hall family will be the recipient of the Downtown Council’s Phil Kirk award,” said Cathy Smith, Chair of the DTC and vice president of corporate planning for Faultless Starch/Bon Ami. “Through Hallmark Cards, Crown Center, and their own civic leadership, the Halls have contributed greatly to making Kansas City the creative, artistic, and culturally advanced city that it is.”

Hallmark Cards has operated its corporate headquarters in Downtown Kansas City since the company was founded in 1910. In 1968, the company established the Crown Center Redevelopment Corp. to revitalize more than 85 acres within the urban core.  Today, the Crown Center campus is home to Hallmark’s headquarters, along with hotels, offices, residential housing, entertainment venues and retail shops.

“Hallmark and the Hall Family are deeply honored to receive this award,” said Hallmark CEO Don Hall, Jr., “because it celebrates the economic vitality of Kansas City, something the company and my family have been deeply committed to for generations.”

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Crown Center creates an indelible, iconic picture of joy and creativity in Kansas City during the holiday season annually.

Today, Hallmark is a diversified portfolio of businesses with about $4 billion in annual revenues and 28,000 employees worldwide. The company is led by CEO Don Hall, Jr. and President Dave Hall, grandsons of founder J.C. Hall and the sons of Donald J. Hall, Hallmark board chairman.

Hallmark’s key businesses include: greeting cards and gift wrap, Hallmark Gold Crown retail stores, home décor and gifts, Crayola art materials and toys, Crown Media cable television channels, and Crown Center, a real estate development company.

“The Kirk Award honors leaders whose vision, guidance and commitment have contributed to setting Downtown Kansas City on the path to revitalization,” said Bill Dietrich, president & CEO of the Downtown Council. “The Halls epitomize these qualities in their professional and personal lives, as did the award’s namesake.”

Since 1943, the Hall Family Foundation has been a catalyst to enrich the community and help people. Donald J. Hall serves as board chairman for the family’s foundation which has played a leadership role in countless transformative Downtown projects, including the redevelopment of the Quality Hill neighborhood, the restoration of Union Station, the expansion of Children’s Mercy Hospital, the restoration of the Folly Theater, the new building addition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the construction of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Kirk Award selection panel, consisting of Downtown Council officers and past chairs, bases its recommendation on the nominee’s contributions to Downtown Kansas City in at least two of the following areas:

  • Creating a capital investment, new building, renovation or technology
  • Increasing the Downtown residential or employee population, business starts or entrepreneurial retail starts
  • Improving Downtown neighborhoods and quality of life, in the areas of businesses, housing, streetscape or the urban environment
  • Displaying a continued commitment to improving the social fabric of Downtown

The establishment of the Phil Kirk Award in 2002 marked a strategic decision to recognize those leaders, those champions who have played critical roles in lifting Downtown from the depths of despair in the 1980s and 1990s into the juggernaut that we see today. For a list of past recipients, including the 2016 recipient, Al Mauro, Jr. (pictured here) go to

The award will be presented at the Downtown Council’s 2018 Annual Luncheon that will unfold from11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26 in the Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom. Learn more about the luncheon, sponsorship opportunities and registration details at:

Edgemoor reveals preliminary design for new KCI terminal

A new look for KCI: Edgemoor unveils preliminary designs for the new airport terminal to the City Council today.

A two-story fountain anchors the sleek, modern, initial design concepts unveiled to the City Council on Thursday by Edgemoor Infrastructure, the team recently selected as the preferred proposer for the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill (SOM), an internationally-known architecture firm, has incorporated elements that reflect Kansas City’s cultural heritage into the preliminary design. The two-story fountain in the center of the terminal would include technology to project messages and colors on the cascading water to welcome travelers.

SOM’s Derek Moore presented the concepts to the City Council today (Thursday). Following a successful election on Nov. 7, the design team will discuss the concepts and collect feedback from Kansas City residents and airport users through a series of design open houses in each council district during November and December.

Convenience for travelers is a major element of the design as well. The design features close-in parking, and a two-level curbside pick-up and drop-off area which will be faster and more convenient for travelers. Also, waiting areas at each gate will have room for the increased number of passengers on today’s planes.

Edgemoor has also created a website  and Twitter account @Edgemoordevel to engage with the community and share information about the design and new terminal development project.

Financing for the new terminal will be paid back from airport revenues, and the city will continue to own and operate the airport. More information about the project is available on the city’s website at

For more information about the project, contact Chris Hernandez, City Communications Director, 816-513-3474 or

Main Street MAX moving to Grand Blvd. on Oct. 1

RideKC will launch a new route for the Main Street MAX on Sunday, Oct. 1- complete with a free family celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. at Washington Square Park near Crown Center.

Beginning on Sunday, the Main Street MAX route will change in Downtown, and run on Grand from 3rd Street in the River Market to Crown Center.

This change will allow for quicker travel through Downtown, allowing riders to arrive at their destination sooner. The Main Street MAX will no longer run its circuitous route on Wyandotte, Main, Oak, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th streets.

MAX will complement KC Streetcar’s frequent service in Downtown on Main and will continue to connect to the streetcar in River Market. South of Crown Center, the Main Street MAX will not change, serving midtown, Country Club Plaza, Brookside and Waldo.

Family Celebration on Sunday

The free family celebration event will features food trucks, free inflatable games, and music from DJ Soap beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.

There will be plenty of prizes and catch-themed giveaways. KC Streetcar, Mid-America Regional Council and B-Cycle will join RideKC at the party. RideKC will also unveil its second Scavenger Hunt, focused on destinations along Main MAX.

“Customer response to this change has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) CEO and President Robbie Makinen. “Downtown has changed a lot in the 12 years since MAX started. Riders are looking forward to a quicker, easier ride on one of our most popular routes.”

Schedule Changes for Main MAX

Spurred by the route change for the Main Street MAX, the KCATA all times on the route will change, effective Sunday, Oct. 1.

On weekdays during the daytime, Main MAX runs every 10 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 20 minutes south of The Plaza. During weekday evenings, Main MAX runs every 15 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 30 minutes south of The Plaza.

On Saturday during the day, the Main MAX runs every 15 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 30 minutes south of The Plaza. On Saturday evenings and all day on Sunday, Main MAX runs every 30 minutes, with all service traveling between Downtown and Waldo.

New maps and schedules are available at and on board Main MAX buses.

And, for more information in general, visit

Solar eclipse inspires 6 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 six 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.