Mayor Sly James put the icing on the proverbial cake, as the Downtown Council celebrated the resurgence of Downtown Kansas City at its Annual Luncheon on Jan. 27 before an audience of 1,000 civic, business and community leaders and stakeholders.
“I look forward to this event each year because as a lifelong Kansas City resident, and as your Mayor, the evolution of our Downtown is something I never get tired of talking about,” Mayor James told the enthusiastic audience. “If there is one thing I believe wholeheartedly, it’s that what we see around us right now – is just the start of what’s to come.
“Downtown is a success story that we all can share in. And it’s a success story we want to see play out in all corners of KC,” he continued. “Thank you for your commitment to our city – to big ideas and bold vision. It’s because of this that I am so proud to say that Kansas City is back in the game! ”
Diane Stafford, reporter for The Kansas City Star captured the essence of the luncheon, when she wrote “From economic ignominy a couple decades ago, Kansas City’s Downtown has re-emerged as an entertainment, cultural and residential hot spot with a new streetcar line that connects assets and builds walkable neighborhoods.”
The Star focused much its coverage on remarks by Leinberger, the Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate and Chair, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C.
“Leinberger gave Kansas City big thumbs-up for the catalytic development of the streetcar line connecting the River Market to Crown Center. But “it’s critical to build the second phase,” he said of the line’s proposed expansion south to the Country Club Plaza and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, according to The Star.
“Transportation, Leinberger emphasized, isn’t just a system to move people from place to place; it’s a system to spark economic development by providing public transportation, bike lanes and paths, and sidewalks that build vibrant neighborhoods.
“Increasingly, he said, sought-after neighborhoods — with premium price points for real estate — are in metropolitan cores, not suburbia. Even in suburban communities, he said, their downtowns and shopping centers are being redeveloped to reflect the new urbanism.”
For a complete rundown of luncheon highlights – including links to videos saluting the J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award winner Al Mauro and the five individuals honored as Urban Heroes, click here. Urban Hero recognition went to Deb Churchill, Andrew Bracker, Andrew Bracker, Julie Nelson Meers, Vince Bryant and Matt Staub.