Jax Chamber Headed to Kansas City - A few Pointers

September 28, 2009 47 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Next week, the Chamber of Commerce and city leaders will make their annual pilgrimage to a peer city to seek out innovative ideas and successes that Jacksonville could implement. In years past, without bringing back and implementing tangible results, this trip has come under fire by Jacksonville taxpayers. To help make this trip worthwhile, Metro Jacksonville highlights five Kansas City projects that Jacksonville representatives should take a close look at.

1. Kansas City MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

JTA continues to push the concept of BRT to a city where residents continue to state they prefer rail. Especially for its ability to attract sustainable infill economic development in areas where taxpayers have already invested in adequate infrastructure. In Kansas City, Jacksonville's delegation will have the opportunity to see and use a system similar to JTA's planned system: the Kansas City MAX Bus Rapid Transit line.

Recently constructed rail systems in Tampa, Little Rock, Charlotte, Phoenix, Houston and Dallas have all spurred billions in transit oriented development. In Austin and Norfolk, two cities whose rail projects are still under construction, TOD has also already started to pop up along the proposed transit corridors. BRT has been billed by proponents to be rail on rubber wheels. Completed in 2005, the six-mile Kansas City MAX BRT line has had more than enough time to evaluate its impact on stimulating transit oriented development.

Metro Jacksonville urges the Jacksonville delegation to break away from a few business sessions and take a ride on the MAX. After your ride, ask yourselves if BRT feels like rail, is it stimulating transit oriented development, will it enhance the city's image in the eyes of the Creative Class and will it position our community to the front of the New Economy?

To learn more about the Max: http://www.kcata.org/maps_schedules/max/  

2. Bartle Hall Convention Center

Everyone is well aware that the Prime Osborn is a substandard convention facility. However, most only think in terms of the size of the exhibition hall instead of the importance of being located adjacent to complementing uses (ex. hotels, restaurants, retail, etc.).

Kansas City's Bartle Hall is one of those facilities the Prime Osborn has to compete against. While in Kansas City, take a walk around Bartle Hall, which does offer 388,800 square feet of column-free exhibition space on one floor. Take notes on whether there are hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues within a block or two of this complex. Then ask yourself, if you were booking a convention, would you prefer this type of environment or an expanded Prime Osborn surrounded by a bus depot.


3. Historic Preservation

Over the last few decades, Jacksonville's leaders have had little respect, if any, for historic preservation. This lack of respect has resulted in acres of surface parking and an urban core that has lost nearly 50% of its population since 1950. While traveling to various destinations in urban Kansas City, pay attention to whether there has been an effort to preserve and integrate historic structures with modern uses. Try to take a walk through districts like the West Bottoms, Westport, Crossroads, and River Market. Where significant preservation has taken place, compare how the atmosphere feels to Jacksonville's Main Street, Brooklyn and LaVilla.

4. Country Club Plaza

A few of Jacksonville's leaders have been quoted in the local media as believing that the St. Johns Town Center is an example of New Urbanism, when in reality, it is nothing but the latest version of a suburban regional mall.

In Kansas City, if you ride the MAX (hint), you'll have the opportunity to see the United State's first "lifestyle center" because it is a stop on the BRT line. Completed in 1923, Country Club Plaza is the true example of a suburban shopping center built to accommodate both the pedestrian and the automobile. Unlike the SJTC, the Plaza's parking is discreetly concealed in multilevel parking garages beneath and behind the shops, or hidden on the rooftops of buildings. Take a walk around Country Club Plaza and imagine what it will take to transform Jacksonville's zoning regulations to allow for citywide walkable development.

5. Marketing Local History and Culture

Although Jacksonville has a rich urban and cultural history, our community has done a poor job in marketing our past to the rest of the world. On the other hand, Kansas City is well known for its contributions to the musical styles of jazz and blues, as well as to cuisine (Kansas City-style barbecue and steak). Try to find the strategy Kansas City has successfully implemented and attempt to integrate the marketing strategy locally with Jacksonville's unique history and culture as the centerpiece.

Other Areas Worth Exploring

Crown Center & the Power & Light District

Both of these modern developments have become popular destinations in downtown Kansas City. While out touring and enjoying them, attempt to take in how they have handled their parking requirements and integration with surrounding land uses. Are they isolated developments? Do they have large parking lots between the building's front doors and the public sidewalks? Have they been designed in a manner that stimulates pedestrian activity outside of their site boundaries?

39th Street - Restaurant Row

This strip features one of Kansas City's largest selections of independently owned restaurants and boutique shops. It is also the city's main center of literary and visual arts and bohemian culture. Visit and take note of whether the businesses are located in completely new infill development or if they reuse small, older pedestrian friendly structures. What will it take for Jacksonville's Bay Street and Main Street to support a similar atmosphere?

Previous Chamber of Commerce Trips

What the Jacksonville delegation learned from these trips and how this information was applied locally is not clear to the general public.

2008 - Seattle, WA
2007 - Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, China
2006 - New Orleans, LA
2005 - Boston

About The 29th Annual Leadership Trip to Kansas City, MO

The Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce is heading to Kansas City, Mo., for the 29th annual leadership trip October 6-8. This trip is taking a different approach than past leadership trip experiences going back to its roots where
the focus was on leadership. This year, Jacksonville’s top business and civic leaders will see first-hand how Kansas City leaders executed their vision through leadership that forced great change bringing innovative and fresh ideas that
transformed their city into a thriving civic and business community. Through high-level workshops facilitated by Kansas City and Jacksonville leaders featuring both industry and downtown revitalization successes, participants will have the opportunity to discuss new ways to leverage our numerous and valuable resources that will sustain our vibrant and growing community for years to come.

Like Kansas City, Jacksonville has a strong public/private partnership that can be utilized to realize the changes that leaders want to see in our region. Kansas City leaders had the vision and political force to drive real change in their city. These are long-range leaders who think in decades and have been able to bring about long-term success, including the establishment of a strong life sciences sector with the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute at the center; and a revitalized and growing Power and Light District, a nine-block entertainment district featuring restaurants, bars and retail shops in the city’s downtown area.

"This trip is not about just showing you attractive buildings and a great entertainment district. It's about helping you see what can happen when leaders take charge and get involved to make change happen," said Kelly Madden, Wholesale Market President, North Florida, Wachovia Bank and Chamber Chair-elect.

This Year's Itinerary

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Session #1

7:30 a.m. Airport Check-in

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Group Charter Flight

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Travel from Airport

Session #2

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Welcome Lunch

Location: TBD

Topic: Welcome to Kansas City


•Kelly Madden, Chair-elect, Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce

Keynote Speaker:
•Anne St. Peter, Chair, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. Travel

Session #3

1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Leadership Topic 1: Long Range Leadership

Location: Stowers Institute

Focus: James E. Stowers, Jr., The Stowers Institute and Kansas City Life Sciences

•Dr. William Neaves , President and Chief Executive Officer of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
•Dr. Daniel P. Getman, President of Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute
•Joerg Ohle, President & General Manager, Bayer Corporation, Animal Health Division, North America
•Bob Marcusse, President & CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Travel

Session #4

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Hotel Check In/Personal Time

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Travel

Session #5

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Past Chair Reception

Location: AMC Theater

Join 2010 Chamber Chair Kelly Madden as we honor the accomplishments and leadership of past Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce Chairs.

Keynote Speaker:
•Peter Brown, Former CEO, AMC Entertainment

Session #6

7:30 – 11:30 p.m. Dinner

Power and Light District

Explore the newly developed Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City. Choose from a variety of restaurants in the area and enjoy networking time with your fellow trip participants. The trip fee includes a shuttle that will run every 30 minutes between the trip hotel and the Power and Light District. (Price of dinner is not included).

Session #7

9:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Personal Time/Hospitality Suite Open

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Session #8

6:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet Intercontinental Hotel

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Travel

Session #9

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Leadership Topic 2: Government Leadership

Location: Lathrop & Gage Conference Room

Focus: Downtown Revitalization

•Kay Waldo Barnes, former Mayor of Kansas City
•Wayne Cauthen, City Manager, Kansas City, Mo.
•Brenda Tinnen, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Sprint Center/AEG Kansas City
•Kevin Battle, Chief Operating Officer, Kansas City Power & Light District
•Bob Langenkamp, Planning Services
•Herb Kohn, Partner, Bryan Cave LLP
•Jack Holland, Managing Director, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. Tour of Crown Center

Session #10

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Lunch

Location: American Restaurant

Keynote Speaker:
•Don Hall, Jr, President and CEO, Hallmark

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Travel

Session #11

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Personal Time/Hospitality Suite Open

5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Travel

Session #12

5:30 – 6:15 p.m. Leadership Topic 3: Inspiring Leaders

Location: Nelson Atkins Museum

Focus: Jacksonville Leadership

•Mayor John Peyton, Mayor, City of Jacksonville
•Mayor Mark Funkhouser, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Session #13

6:15 – 7:30 p.m. Reception

Nelson Atkins Museum Kirkwood Hall

7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Mayor’s Dinner

Nelson Atkins Museum Rozzelle Court

9:00 – 9:30 p.m. Travel

Session #14

9:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Personal Time/Hospitality Suite Open

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Session #15

6:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet Intercontinental Hotel

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Hotel Check out Travel

Session #16

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Leadership Topic 4: Community Leadership

Location: Kauffman Foundation

Focus: Inspiring Change

•Laura McKnight, President and CEO, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
•Thomas Bloch, Board Chair, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation; President and Founder, University Academy
•Jewel Scott, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
•Karen Pletz, Chair Civic Council; President of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
•William Berkley, Chair Heartland Effort; President/CEO of Tension Envelope

Session #17

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Trip Wrap Up Kelly Madden

Session #18

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Travel

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Airport Check in

2:30 – 6:00 p.m. Group Charter Flight to Jacksonville

6:00 p.m. Arrive in Jacksonville

More Information
Contact: Kelly Gerlach
Phone: (904) 366-6646
E-mail: events@myjaxchamber.com


In conclusion, use this trip to gather ideas that will make Jacksonville better through quick and sensible implementation. Also, take photos and be willing to share what you have learned to all of Jacksonville's residents.

Article by Ennis Davis

Images from Wikipedia