Congratulations to the 2019 Developments of Distinction Award Winners
Vidoes of our 2019 Development of Distinction Award Winners
October 17, 2019
By Kevin Collison
Diane Burnette has one big regret leaving Midtown KC Now, formerly MainCor, for a new job with the Urban Land Institute in Washington D.C. after leading the key Main Street organization 16 years.
“The one thing that bums me out,” she said, “I worked hard to get to this point and I’m leaving when the streetcar is coming.”
“Once it opens its doors, I’ll be back to Kansas City and be part of it. It will be so exciting to see stuff in those vacant storefronts.”
And when that planned streetcar extension on Main Street from downtown to UMKC arrives, hopefully in late 2024, the corridor will be ready thanks to the groundwork done by Midtown KC under her leadership.
Back in 2003, when Burnette first took over, what was then MainCor was fighting a rear guard battle to prevent what at one time was a premier artery in Kansas City from declining further.
“I inherited a reactive organization,” she said. “When something would happen, they’d rally the troops and fight for the good and against the bad.”
A pivotal moment occurred in 2007 with the establishment of the Main Street Community Improvement District from 27th to 47th streets.
The CID used tax increment financing revenues generated by the new Federal Reserve Bank and the existing 43rd and Main TIF to rebuild the streetscape, adding new streetlights, signage and crosswalks.
MainCor hired a platoon of CID staff garbed in red and black uniforms to maintain that streetscape and provide additional eyes and ears for security.
And it worked.
“When the CID started, we started a program called repeat nuisance offenders,” she said “At first, we had 30 people on the list. Now it’s five.”
Thanks in part to the CID and major investments by MAC Properties renovating historic buildings along Armour Boulevard into hundreds of new apartments, Main Street is getting its momentum back.
“Midtown is a big attraction for the next generation to live,” Burnette said. “They want to walk to services, get coffee, go to the bar and be part of the community.
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