Newsletter Feature for February 20, 2017

Good day. This edition again spotlights how communities are succeeding in Smart Growth. Jim Schraeder, DTSKCK Vice President, shares some of his experience from a familiar event:

Downtown KCK is doing a lot of things right. That was one of the things I realized while attending a national conference two weeks ago. DTSKCK Director Chuck Schlittler, LISC's Amanda Wilson, and I participated in the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in St. Louis the first of the month. There were lots of sessions focusing particularly on economic development and housing. In addition, I was able to travel around the center of the city to view several interesting case studies.

So what are we doing right?

  • Downtown Improvement District - For nearly a decade now, businesses have agreed to assess themselves for safety and cleaning ambassadors, for overall beautification, and general marketing. And we've just extended this for another decade.
  • Focusing on healthy and sustainable outcomes - This community correctly has emphasized seeking the "right" kinds of development that will strengthen long-term economic stability. We currently are supporting Prairie Fire Development Groups's new 92-unit mixed income mixed-use residential "agri-hood" along Washington Boulevard that starts to address the "healthy campus" initiative around Downtown's 10th Street corridor. And we have just updated Downtown's detailed inventory of historic properties, which should lead to more opportunities for using historic tax credits to reinvigorate our underutilized commercial buildings.
  • Community-Based Planning - From the 2007 Downtown Master Plan to the 2011 Transit Corridor Improvements planning to the 2014 Downtown Parkway District Implementation Plan for a "healthy campus," intensive community interaction has strengthened the linkages between our Downtown and our surrounding residential neighborhoods. Things like the completion of Downtown's transit hub at 7th & Minnesota have spurred further striving for additional workforce housing, located to take best advantage of improving transit opportunities. The businesses, residents, and governmental leadership of our community continually join together to determine how best to proceed with redevelopment, whether it's new types of housing, a Downtown full-service grocery store, or a new community center / YMCA.

And that's just a start. And they are just a few of the key things which the participants in this conference were discussing.

Yes, we know there are lots of challenges still ahead for our Downtown. And everything I heard at the conference reinforced that, for sure. But what we already have accomplished together has been significant. We have a strong foundation. Downtown KCK definitely can become the authentic and vibrant urban center our plans describe. That fact was reinforced for me as well.

Jim Schraeder - helping develop "Everyone's Downtown" Board Vice President | Chair of Economic Development & Housing Committee Downtown Shareholders of KCK

Another Smart Growth component is wellness and accessibility. Note the bike rack picture below and following article by Rick Behrens. We appreciate Rick sharing this article for our newsletter, and Jim for sharing his thoughts on what Downtown is doing right.

Communities working together for smart growth. Open minds producing results. More reasons to be a part of Downtown. Come, be a part. Come see why Downtown KCK is Everyone’s Downtown.

 

Chuck Schlittler, Director Downtown Shareholders of Kansas City, Kansas Cell/Text: (913) 620-7480 726 Armstrong, Ste 201 Kansas City, KS 66101 Office: (913) 371-0705 www.DowntownKCK.org