Kansas City civic leaders think big to push area growth - KCTV5 News

Kansas City civic leaders think big to push area growth

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The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce unveiled Tuesday its "Big 5" ideas for Kansas City.

The chamber selected the give ideas as a way to bolster growth in the Kansas City area.

"We started with 182 big ideas and now we're down to five.," said Jim Heater, president and chief executive officer of the chamber. "It's been an evolutionary process and gratifying to see the passion for our community and interest in collaboration."

The five ideas are: creating the world's symposium on animal health, urban core neighborhood initiative, America's most entrepreneurial city, a Kansas City regional translational research institute and a new University of Missouri at Kansas City conservatory in downtown Kansas City.

Moving UMKC's music and dance programs from three buildings on the UMKC campus near the Plaza to downtown will require raising up to $80 million. The goal is to leverage the Kauffman Performing Arts Center and the Crossroads Arts District while growing downtown. The hope is to have 2,000 students attending the new campus within five years of its opening.

"The campus would provide living space, practice space, rehearsal space and performance space for somewhere between 700 and 1,000 students, faculty and staff initially," UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton.

The chancellor said the opening of the new Kauffman Center makes the idea compelling and exciting for UMKC.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James also said he is excited about the chamber's ideas.

"Everything's doable if you have people who are dedicated to doing it," James said. "The first thing you have to do is stop challenging the concept of being able to achieve. Once we agree and understand we can achieve, we can do whatever we want to."

The urban core neighborhood initiative is already in progress. It focuses on violence, education and economic development.

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