July 6, 2011
First of all, thanks to those of you who sent us their Big Ideas for Big KC. Talk about creativity and passion – the ideas we got through this website covered a range of issues and opportunities. You’ll find those suggestions among the 182 Big Ideas we’ve collected, posted here.
This all started when we began asking the question, “If you were CEO of “Big KC” – the region – what would your goals be?” Chamber Chair Greg Graves and I met with civic leaders and CEOs, minority representatives and mayors, and proponents for arts, transit and trails, and urban KC. More ideas came via the Web and call-in talk shows.
I have to admit – it’s been great fun.
Greg and I have also seen a real desire at all the meetings for true regional collaboration and determined action. People want to find ways to work above the state line.
The ideas we’ve collected are fascinating. Here’s just a sample:
- Create and pass an initiative petition to triple Missouri’s existing cigarette tax (now the lowest in the nation at 17 cents a pack; the national average is $1.45 per pack) and use new money for a variety of good purposes. (The current 17 cents/pack raises approximately $63 million annually).
- Develop a coalition to attract retail – a “big box” and/or grocery store – within the central city, eliminating “food deserts” within the urban core, saving residents money, and fostering further economic development.
- Convene a year-long process to study the feasibility, costs, and interest in building a light rail system and make a final decision one way or the other.
Here’s our next step: On Tuesday, July 12, The Chamber will hold an all-day session to bring the list to a more manageable number. The process will be led by Michael Gallis, an internationally-known expert in large-scale metropolitan regional development strategies. (Michael’s clients include cities and regions such as Detroit, Charlotte, Orlando, Cincinnati, and Memphis.)
At the end of the day, we’ll have a shorter list to take to The Chamber Board for final consideration. We have no idea what will be on the list – the ideas may be as originally presented or a new amalgam of several proposals.
Next Tuesday promises to be a thought-provoking and interesting day. We’ll keep you posted.
To read the 182 Big Ideas, click here.