Leadership Overland Park Session 7 – Regionalism Day

Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012 by
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Kansas City Skyline from Liberty Memorial

What a great day to be out and touring the city! I took this photo during our stop at Liberty Memorial while on our bus tour of downtown Kansas City. When I first moved to Kansas City in the late 90’s, downtown was dead; it is nice to see how it is coming back to life. Our metro area is unique in that a state line basically splits the city right down the middle. Because both sides of the state line have so much to offer, it makes the discussion of regionalism so important and spending our day in downtown Kansas City felt like an appropriate place to meet.

At the seventh session of Leadership Overland Park, we heard from several folks throughout the day talk about how we use to our advantage the fact there are two states within the metro area. Bob Marcusse from the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) said that as a region we have a lot to offer and we are better served working together than as two individual parts. The KCADC is the organization that works to promote our area as a single region. This organization often teams up with the local chambers and economic development councils when it makes sense to give prospective companies a closer look at our area. But in general the KCADC works on a national scale to get people (and companies) thinking about Kansas City as a place to set up shop. We also heard from a panel of mayors from both sides of the state line. They talked about how they all try to work together and also discussed other issues important to them. They spoke candidly about the perception of a “border war” but stated that issue is often highly exaggerated by the media. The message from the mayors was that they certainly don’t go looking for companies to woo away from other local cities. But if an organization or business is looking to move, they are certainly willing to listen and explain all the things their city has to offer. It is better for a business to relocate within the KC metro area than for it to leave KC altogether.

We were able to add another great tour to the list of impressive things we’ve seen during the Leadership Overland Park program. I had not yet been to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts; and it was just as impressive as I’ve heard. $400M goes a long way to building the top performing arts center in the country (if not the world)! No detail was lost in the design of either theater but what was most impressive to me were the elements of design that went into Helzburg Hall. To maximize the sound, the types of wood on the floor and walls was considered, the air flowing from the ventilation system was studied and the balconies were built to be recessed into the walls to minimize sound being trapped under the balcony. Unbelievable. Great tour. I’m anxious to attend my first performance in this theatre.

Economic Development Day is Thursday, May 24th from the Sprint Campus.

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