Downtown Council to explore new, urban horizons at luncheon

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Downtown KC 2030 – the new long-term strategic planning process for the future of Downtown KC – will serve as the theme of the DTC’s Annual Luncheon on Jan. 30. The luncheon planning process is led by Julie Pierce, Chair of the DTC Board of Directors.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri has its eye on the future in preparation for its Annual Luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

The annual event – Downtown KC 2030 – will introduce a new, comprehensive strategic planning process to Downtown leaders and stakeholders. This process is designed to articulate the Downtown KC of tomorrow.

“In a time when urban centers are revitalizing nationwide due to favorable trends, we are imagining how can we shape Downtown Kansas City into a more successful urban place, maintaining its authenticity and affordability, while promoting strategies of economic inclusion,” said Bill Dietrich, DTC president and CEO.

One of those potential strategies will be reflected by the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Paul Goldberger is a Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic and author of numerous books, including BALLPARK: Baseball in the American City, an architectural history of baseball parks as a form of civic space, published in May 2019 by Alfred A. Knopf.

Goldberger, who The Huffington Post has called “the leading figure in architecture criticism,” is now a Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair. From 1997 through 2011 he served as the Architecture Critic for The New Yorker, where he wrote the magazine’s celebrated “Sky Line” column. 

The Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic and author of several books including, ‘BALLPARK: Baseball in the American City’, will deliver the keynote address at the DTC Annual Luncheon on Jan. 30.

“We have the next generation of catalytic investments before us,  the 2030 strategic planning process will provide our community the opportunity to generate ideas that fire the imagination,” Dietrich said. “Our goal is to get people excited about all the possibilities, as we envision the future of Downtown.”

Goldberger began his career at The New York Times, where in 1984 his architecture criticism was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, the highest award in journalism.

In 2012 he received the Vincent Scully Prize from the National Building Museum in recognition of the influence his writing has had on the public’s understanding of architecture. 

Downtown KC 2030 will celebrate Downtown’s remarkable renaissance over the past 15 years, and serve as the launch into the new strategic planning process.

“We will bring together a broad and inclusive assembly of Downtown stakeholders to work together and create a shared vision of the future,” Dietrich said. “The goal is to create confidence and certainty for future investment by setting the direction and priorities needed for the next decade.”

This year, the City of Kansas City, Missouri asked the DTC to lead the creation of a new strategic plan that will align with the Greater Downtown Area Plan (GDAP), which was recently updated by the City.

The Annual Luncheon is expected to attract more than 1,000 business, civic and philanthropic leaders to celebrate progress and accomplishments; present awards; assess the trajectory of Downtown Kansas City for the long-term; and, embrace the largest urban networking event of the year. The luncheon is set for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the Kay Barnes Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.

 Luncheon Highlights

  • Keynote address by Paul Goldberger, who in 2017 was honored with the Award in Architecture of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which called him the “doyen of American architectural critics.” A book signing of BALLPARK will follow the luncheon program.
  • Opening ceremony and call to action for the Downtown KC 2030 strategic planning process by Bill Dietrich, DTC President & CEO.
  • Presentation of the J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award in recognition of Downtown Stewardship and Community Vision. Kay Barnes, former Mayor of Kansas City, received the 17th annual award last year.
  • Announcement of the Urban Hero Awards honoring individuals who impact Downtown on the grassroots level. The heroes will also be honored at a reception on the evening prior to the luncheon.
  • Recognition of the Harvey Fried Award for Community Spirit and Kindness presented annually to an outstanding Ambassador for the Community Improvement Districts.
  • Immediately prior to the luncheon (beginning at 11 a.m.), guests will participate in the popular networking event, Spirit of Downtown KC Exhibit. More than 50 booth spaces will highlight new developments, creative businesses and the arts in Downtown.

Luncheon planning is led by Julie Pierce, Chair of the DTC Board of Directors and Senior Vice President, Henderson Engineers; with the assistance of Lynn Carlton, Vice-Chair of the Board and Vice President/Regional Director of Planning, HOK; Richard Wetzel, Vice-Chair of the Board and Partner with Centric; and Jerry Riffel, immediate past board Chair and Attorney, Lathrop Gage.

Goldberger will also appear at the Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch on Thursday, Jan. 30, to speak about his book.  A reception will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. Visit for more information.

To reserve your seats, visit, contact Ann Holliday, or Ashley Broockerd,