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The City Haller - March 16, 2012

EDC Announces New CEO

Pete Fullerton has been announced as the CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC). Fullerton has served as the executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council since 1990. During this time the Platte County EDC has been involved in the successful completion of over 130 projects, creating 10,500 jobs in Platte County. “Pete Fullerton brings a wealth of economic development experiences and successes to this role,” said Chamber senior vice president for policy and programs Kristi Wyatt. “The Chamber looks forward to strengthening the partnership with the EDC under Pete’s leadership."

Learn more from the Kansas City Business Journal here.

At the Hall

Everyone is a bit Irish!

The City Council declared March 2012 as Irish-American Heritage Month in Kansas City. Councilman Scott Taylor pointed out Thursday that Kansas City does not just “celebrate Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day.” He noted Crown Center hosted Irish Fest, Union Station houses the Irish Center, and the multiple parades in the city. Fourth District Council representatives Jan Marcason and Jim Glover (the ad hoc council food and restaurant critic) made sure to mention Browne’s Irish Market—the oldest Irish business in North America.

Check out this Kansas City Business Journal article about how bars and restaurants are preparing for the weekend’s festivities.

Going to Saturday’s parade in Midtown? This year marks this parade’s 40th year!

Budget Update

The city is moving toward approving a final FY 2012-2013 budget. A resolution passed Thursday to postpone from March 22 to March 29 the date for final passage of the budget. Councilwoman Jan Marcason noted at Wednesday’s Finance, Ethics and Governance Committee meeting the reason was to achieve consensus on difficult issues for example to allow for additional time for Fire Chief Smokey Dyer and leaders of Local 42 to work on an agreement on how to decrease their budget by 1.4 percent.

Find out here, courtesy of the Kansas City Star, what issues the business community weighed in on the city’s budget.

Downtown Streetcar Resolutions

Resolutions 120246 and 120247 (click here to search for the resolutions) were passed Thursday that support the downtown streetcar project. The mayor and council continued the discussion on the plans for the project. Councilman Russ Johnson named a laundry list of downtown small businesses supporting the initiative. Councilman Jim Glover discussed the economic impact along the streetcar route and that one can “shop, live and work all along the line.”

Rubbing elbows with Superstars

Superstar celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Drew Brees participated in the Make it Right Foundation benefit in New Orleans last Saturday, March 10. The event raised more than $10 million to complete 150 environmentally friendly homes in New Orleans. Kansas City's own civic celebrities were special guests.....U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Mayor Sly James, and BNIM partners Bob Berkebile and Steve McDowell.

BNIM was selected by actor Brad Pitt and his Make It Right Foundation in 2007 to create designs for affordable homes to be built in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

"I was inspired to see these high-powered, wealthy entertainers come together to rebuild the poorest of neighborhoods in New Orleans in a substantial way,” said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. “It was a great evening, but they all stayed up way past my bedtime!”

Mayor Sly James said, "We are taking the lessons learned in New Orleans to work in Kansas City's Green Impact Zone. In one of the very first projects Make It Right is doing outside of the Big Easy, Brad Pitt's great organization is investing in our urban neighborhoods. Some of the money raised as part of this amazing event will find its way to Bancroft School in the heart of Kansas City."

Turn the Page

A child’s ability to read at grade level by third grade is a critical indicator of what his or her future will hold. According to the Kansas City Star, only one-third of the third graders in public schools in Kansas City’s city limits scored at proficient level or better in 2011. 

Mayor Sly James is tackling this problem head-on. “This effort is one of the most important tasks we have in raising the next generation,” said James. “It is such an important job the only person I even considered leading the effort was civic leader Judy Heeter, who has assembled a committee of 30 professionals from across the city, working together on a first rate comprehensive plan and application in hopes Kansas City will be honored with the All-America City Award.”

Read more about this exciting new initiative here in the Kansas City Star.

The Buzz

  • The Kansas City Star's Yael Abouhalkah provides an eye-opening piece this week on how Kansas City compares to other Midwestern cities such as Denver, Fort Worth, Memphis, St. Louis and others on crime, debt load, and number of city employees. Read the article here.

  • Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 27 for the next KCMO Committee luncheon. City event planner Keli O'Neill Wenzel, KC Convention and Visitors Association President Rick Hughes, and the Mayor’s Senior Advisor Jason Hodges will discuss how the city is preparing for the MLB All-Star Game on July 10. Parks Board President Jean Paul Chaurand will also provide an update. E-mail to RSVP.

  • Missouri state lawmakers are adjourned for spring break. They return Monday, March 19, and as usual the pace will increase. Come to The Chamber’s Mid Session Legislative reception Thursday, March 29 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss issues with House Budget Chair Ryan Silvey, Senator S. Kiki Curls, and House Rules Chair John Diehl. E-mail for details. Perfect chance to network with representatives of the business community and the KC delegation.

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