Downtown Council receives international award of excellence for Imagine strategic plan


Downtown Council staff members celebrate a global award of excellence from the International Downtown Association. DTC staff members (from left) are Sean O’Byrne, Jared Campbell, Ann Holliday, Bill Dietrich, Tommy Wilson, Julie Shippy, and Riley Dietrich.

The International Downtown Association recognized the Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC) last week with the Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence for its resourceful approaches related to the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan. The award was presented last week at the IDA’s 68th Annual Conference & Marketplace in Vancouver, Canada.

A jury of downtown peer professionals evaluated all entries in the 2022 Downtown Achievement Awards. The Award of Excellence acknowledges an excellent response to an urban place management challenge, demonstrating application of industry knowledge and exceeding the jury criteria.

The Imagine Downtown KC strategic plan was among 11 qualified entries in the category of Planning, Design and Infrastructure, which IDA identifies as one of the seven professional urban place management practice areas.

“This category featured unique organizational approaches and projects in the areas of downtown master planning, streetscape improvements, sustainable infrastructure and way-finding,” said Bill Dietrich, President & CEO.

Following two years of visualizing and dreaming by Kansas City leaders and a broad cross-section of stakeholders, the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan was introduced in January 2022. Since then, work on the plan has undergone an inspiring and seismic shift to advance the dreams and opportunities of Imagine into the realities and challenges of implementation, which began this year.

“Turning the Imagine Downtown KC plan into action requires collaboration, creativity, and the strategic use of resources,” said Ann Holliday, DTC Vice President, who accepted the award in Vancouver. “The challenge before the Downtown Council and stakeholders, including the City of Kansas City, Missouri, is to spearhead efforts and provide support to others during the implementation of the plan’s Transformative Strategies and Catalytic Projects.”

The Imagine plan features eight Catalytic Projects, or investments, that will tangibly advance the Vision and Goals of the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan. Some of the projects have specific locations identified, while others are concepts of ideas that will be realized based on site context, synergies, and opportunity, Dietrich said.

The Catalytic Projects include:

  • East-West Connections
  • Innovation Districts
  • Parks, Open Spaces & Plazas
  • Streetcar Expansion
  • Ballpark
  • Street Reimagination
  • Loop Reimagination
  • Arts, Cultural & Historic Destinations

The Imagine Downtown KC plan – developed in 2020 and 2021 and introduced to the public in January 2022 – is designed to serve as the primary vision-setting and policy blueprint for shaping a stronger, better, more resilient urban community with an unflinching commitment to creating an equitable, inclusive, and vibrant Downtown Kansas City.

“The Downtown Council of Kansas City has demonstrated skillful application of urban place management principles with the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The Imagine strategic plan should serve as a framework to all member communities within IDA.”

About IDA
The International Downtown Association is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Its members are city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. The IDA represents an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource
center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit

About the Downtown Council of KC

The Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri is a private, nonprofit membership organization representing Kansas City businesses, property owners, nonprofit organizations and those invested in Downtown’s success. Membership is considered an investment in the future of Downtown KC, as well as the Downtown Council. For more information, visit