Downtown KC 2030 strategic planning process takes flight

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Part 1 of 2 stories … new strategic planning process for Downtown Kansas City.

The Downtown Council ceremonially introduced a year-long planning process – Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan – at its sold-out Annual Luncheon on Jan. 30 at the Kay Barnes Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.

Bill Dietrich, DTC President & CEO, told the audience of 1,000 Downtown stakeholders the planning process will establish strategy and action steps that will serve as a 10-year road map towards making Downtown Kansas City a stronger and more resilient community through sustainable development and economic opportunity.

The DTC leader began his remarks by asking the audience to Imagine the Downtown of tomorrow.

“A new vision and strategies are needed to shape our future,” Dietrich said. “The goal is to create that framework for confidence and certainty for future investment by setting the direction and priorities for the next decade. Yesterday’s expertise will not guarantee tomorrow’s economic wins. Cities without visionary leaders both private and public who understand this and act to help their community transition will fall behind.”

Much of Downtown’s renaissance over the last 20 years can be traced to prior strategic planning commitments. The 2001 Downtown Corridor Development Strategy, commissioned by the Civic Council, led Downtown Kansas City into the thriving neighborhood it is today.

The Downtown Corridor Development Strategy was updated in 2005, and now, in 2019, the City of Kansas City has requested the DTC lead the creation of a new plan that will align with the Greater Downtown Area Plan (GDAP) recently updated by the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Today, the DTC – along with public and civic partners – is bringing together a broad and inclusive assembly of urban stakeholders to work together to create a fresh, shared vision of the future via the Downtown KC 2030 strategic planning process.

Julie Pierce, DTC board chair and senior vice president of Henderson Engineers, reminded the luncheon audience there is much work ahead for the Downtown KC to continue to grow and thrive.

“Did you know that today, in six major tax categories including earnings and sales, Downtown generates approximately a quarter of our city’s total revenues even though Downtown occupies just less than 2% of the city’s landmass,” Pierce said. “The strength of Downtown’s economic engine is evident.

“Between 2002 and 2019 (over a span of 17 years), Downtown’s tax revenue grew by 115% while the city as a whole grew 97%.  A rising tide lifts all boats, as Downtown goes, so goes our city.”

Much has been accomplished in the last 15 years, but much work remains to be done. The role of the Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan (working title) is to imagine the future, and define, prioritize and establish work plans designed to elevate the trajectory of Downtown.

“We have momentum. It is difficult to say where it comes from, why you have it or when it leaves you, but it does leave you,” Pierce said. “And, it is incumbent upon us to identify and develop strategic opportunities and be intentional about those strategies to keep our momentum as long as possible.”

The board chair invited attendees to download a Scorecard highlighting a few of the major shifts occurring Downtown, and added, “We are at a remarkable moment in our history, an inflection point.”

Click here for Part 2 – Inspiration for the Downtown plan, and next steps in the planning process

The Downtown Council website is your source for learning more about the Downtown KC 2030 planning process. Click here to learn more.