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Three of the KC Chamber’s “Big 5” ideas involve UMKC

After months of dialogue and dozens of meetings, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce announced its “Big 5” ideas for the region and introduced the “Champions” who will lead the efforts for each.

Three of the five ideas involve UMKC:

“The ‘Big 5’ build on strengths we already have regionally,” said Greg Graves, Chamber Chair and Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “Taken together, they propel the community forward, enhance our quality of life, and create jobs.”

#3. The Making of America’s Most Entrepreneurial City — Champion: Peter deSilva, Chairman & CEO, UMB Bank

“With the list of assets we already have, we are already credible in this space,” deSilva said. “The Kauffman Foundation and nationally recognized Bloch School are just two of those assets. Add in the region’s history of great entrepreneurs and Kansas City could be considered a cradle of entrepreneurship.”

“Entrepreneurs have the vision to grow,” deSilva said, “and that’s where business growth is. This is about ‘growing your own,’ rather than trying to lure other companies here. The companies that grow up here, stay here.”

#4. The KC Regional Translational Research Institute — Champion: Dr. Patrick James, Sr. Managing Partner, Quest Diagnostics; Chair, KC Area Life Sciences Institute

The overarching goal is to make KC a nationally-recognized center for translational research. The five-year goal is to raise $60 million to triple the recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) granted to area researchers.

Thanks to the grant, researchers and clinicians from KU Medical Center, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute will collaborate with colleagues from across the bistate region to create a new multidisciplinary translational research network.

“This could be transformative,” Dr. James said. “It’s a force for further economic collaboration…and an engine for economic growth that will touch all parts of our regional economy.”

#5. The New UMKC Downtown Conservatory — Champion: Leo Morton, Chancellor, University of Missouri-Kansas City

This “Big Idea” calls for relocating the renowned UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance to a new downtown location. The Conservatory is housed on the UMKC campus in three different buildings that require extensive renovation. By moving the campus downtown, it leverages new and existing assets including the Kauffman Performing Arts Center and the Crossroads Arts District, and grows downtown.

The goal is to raise the money necessary for the move ($50-80 million).


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