Downtown Lee’s Summit Selected Among Top 25 Main Streets in National Contest

Support Downtown Lee’s Summit by Voting Today

The national small business movement, Independent We Stand, announces the quarterfinalists, including Downtown Lee’s Summit, in the 2017 “America’s Main Streets” contest. As the lifeblood of our cities and towns, Main Streets play an important role in the long-term success of communities and help build a sense of place. Independent We Stand invites the public to vote for their favorite quarterfinalist and move a deserving Main Street one step closer to the grand prize of $25,000.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street was founded in 1989 by a group of visionary business, civic and city leaders to revitalize the heart of their community. At the time, there were 19 empty storefronts and a cycle of disinvestment. Today, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street hosts over 100 days of community events, drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year to a now thriving and vibrant downtown that is home to over 100 locally-owned businesses. Volunteers donate thousands of service hours each year to help ensure that Downtown Lee’s Summit continues to serve as the business and cultural hub of the community and a premier destination for entertainment and shopping in the Kansas City metro.

“The ‘America’s Main Streets’ contest is the perfect opportunity to highlight how important Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is to our community,” stated Donnie Rodgers, Jr., Executive Director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc. “We’ve come such a long way in the last 28 years, from over 19 vacant storefronts in 1989 to nearly 100% occupancy today. It wouldn’t be possible without our amazing volunteers, business owners, and the unwavering support from our community. We are truly honored to be named one of the best Main Streets in America and hope that we can serve as an example to others of the awesome power of the Main Street Approach® in transforming the heart of our community.”

More than 156,000 votes were cast for 242 nominees during the nominations phase of the contest. The quarterfinalists in alphabetical order are:

  • Berlin Main Street | Berlin, MD
  • Bridge Street | Ashtabula, OH
  • Brookhaven Main Street | Brookhaven, MS
  • Coventry Village | Cleveland Heights, OH
  • Destination Downtown Lancaster | Lancaster, OH
  • Downtown Haddonfield | Haddonfield, NJ
  • Downtown Lee’s Summit | Lee’s Summit, MO
  • Downtown Main Street, Red Wing | Red Wing, MN
  • Downtown Northfield | Northfield, MN
  • Downtown Oxford | Oxford, PA
  • Downtown Plano Arts District | Plano, TX
  • Downtown Rochester | Rochester, MI
  • Downtown Shakopee | Shakopee, MN
  • Elizabeth City Downtown | Elizabeth City, MN
  • Ellicott City Main Street | Ellicott City, MD
  • Hayward Main Street | Hayward, WI
  • Historic Downtown McKinney | McKinney, TX
  • La Grange Kentucky Main Street | La Grange, KY
  • Main Street & Downtown Wellsboro | Wellsboro, PA
  • Main Street DeLand | DeLand, FL
  • Main Street Maple Shade | Maple Shade, NJ
  • Main Street Medina | Medina, OH
  • John Front Street | St. John, WA
  • Sykesville Main Street | Sykesville, MD
  • Westerly, Rhode Island | Westerly, RI

Quarterfinalist voting begins May 1 at and runs through May 28.

The top 10 semifinalists will be announced on May 29 and the winner of the 2017 “America’s Main Streets” contest will be announced June 5, followed by a “Main Streets Make Us Better” celebration on the Fourth of July, when the winner will announce how the prize money will be utilized.

Contest prizes include:

  • $25,000 grand prize
  • STIHL Equipment Certificate for $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment, good at any STIHL dealer in the U.S.
  • Do it Best Corp. $500 shopping spree
  • PPG Pittsburgh Paints $500 shopping spree
  • SnapRetail $1,300 subscription package
  • Public relations and social media recognition
  • Alignable small business social media “Neighborhood” on the site
  • Special plaque for winner to proudly display



To reach DLSMS Executive Director Donnie Rodgers Jr.:
To reach DLSMS Assistant Director Ashley Nowell:
To reach DLSMS Events & Promotions Director Julie Cook:
To reach DLSMS Communications Coordinator Jen Steller:
Or call 816-246-6598. High-resolution photos and logos available upon request.

You may use promotional video and b-roll at these links both online or in broadcasts:

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc. is a nationally-recognized and accredited 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Lee’s Summit. Founded in 1989, DLSMS implements the National Trust Main Street Center Four-Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. DLSMS is a multiple state and national award-winner for excellence in downtown revitalization, including the 2010 Great American Main Street Award®, which the National Trust Main Street Center gives to only five communities across the nation every year.

Rich in history, Downtown Lee’s Summit is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its strong ties to the railroad continue to this day — visitors can hop on a passenger train and arrive at the Amtrak station in Downtown Lee’s Summit for a memorable trip. With more than 50 distinctive retail shops, and many restaurants and bars ranging from upscale to laid-back, Downtown Lee’s Summit is an eclectic and fun place to visit. Residential lofts and adjacent historic neighborhoods also make Downtown Lee’s Summit an exceptional place to call home. A unique combination of preservation of history and place, with progressive attitudes and entrepreneurship, make Downtown Lee’s Summit a great place to live, shop, eat and play.

Independent We Stand is a nationwide movement of independent small business owners whose mission is to inspire other small business owners to better understand and celebrate their locally-owned status while educating consumers about the importance and strong economic benefits of supporting them. The Independent We Stand movement is sponsored by STIHL Inc. Supporting sponsors include Alignable, Do it Best Corp., North American Retail Hardware Association, PPG Pittsburgh Paints, and SnapRetail.

STIHL Inc,. America’s number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment, is the founding sponsor of Independent We Stand and the presenting sponsor of “America’s Main Streets” contest. The company follows a unique distribution strategy in the handheld outdoor power equipment industry, choosing never to sell products at big box stores, but instead remaining loyal to its 9,000+ independent servicing dealers nationwide.


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Crowdfunding Campaign to Bring Highly Desired Event to Downtown Lee’s Summit this Summer

The National Main Street Center, Project for Public Spaces, and ioby hosted the Cultivating Place on Main Streets Crowdfunding Challenge to award matching dollars to proposed placemaking projects in 5 states that focused on activating community spaces. Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on the preservation of historic Downtown Lee’s Summit, was selected as one of the pilot communities for this crowdfunding challenge. Funds for the placemaking project will be raised from public support through a crowdfunding campaign with the first $1,500 to be matched by ioby.

LS Downtown Movie NightAfter receiving approval of the project, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is excited to announce Downtown Movie Nights, to include three outdoor movie nights this summer that would be free to the public. The event will be hosted on the steps of City Hall Plaza once a month during evening hours and will activate an under-utilized area in our downtown.

Each movie night will feature a classic movie appropriate for all ages. Attendees will be encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, and picnics to enjoy during the event.

The crowdfunding campaign will be open to the public on Wednesday, April 19. Donations can be made online at the following link:

“Every dollar helps,” said DLSMS Assistant Director Ashley Nowell. “We were very excited to be chosen for this pilot project and hope that the community will rally around this event that people have been asking us to plan for years.”

If the funds are raised and the summer movie series is well received, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street will continue to host this event in subsequent years, with the hope of incorporating the series into the future performing arts and farmers market pavilion space downtown.

The movie night dates are as follows:

  • Thursday, July 27 | 9PM, sponsored by Midwest Property Resources, LLC
  • Thursday, August 24 | 8:30PM, sponsored by Arvest Bank
  • Thursday, September 28 | 8PM, sponsored by Douglas Auto and Tire

For more information on this and other Downtown Lee’s Summit events, visit
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Downtown Lee’s Summit Bunny Hop is April 15

Grab your Easter basket, decorated bonnet or bunny ears, and hop on down to Downtown Lee’s Summit from 10 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, April 15, for the annual Downtown Bunny Hop. This free family activity includes a walking parade led by the Easter Bunny, an Easter Bonnet/Bunny Ears Contest, pictures with the Easter Bunny and free candy at participating downtown businesses, while supplies last.

The parade line-up begins at 9:45 a.m. at City Hall Plaza, 220 SE Green St. in Downtown Lee’s Summit. At 10 a.m., the Easter Bunny, along with Lee’s Summit’s historic fire engine, will lead the parade up Third Street to Howard Station Park on SE Main Street.

Have your camera ready for pictures with the Easter Bunny immediately after the parade at Howard Station Park. Also following the parade, until noon, children can hop around to participating downtown businesses for free candy, while supplies last.

Be sure to decorate an Easter bonnet or hat for the Bunny Ears & Easter Hat Contest, taking place at 10:30 a.m. in Howard Station Park. Awards will be given to the best decorated bonnet or bunny ears in various age categories.

Convenient parking for the Bunny Hop can be found in the public parking garage at the corner of Second and Green streets.

The Downtown Bunny Hop is hosted by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and made possible by the support of Heart of America Dance Centre, Jones Allery & Asthma Center, Renewal by Andersen, and Sky Zone Trampoline Park.

Sponsored by:





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Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Receives 2017 National Main Street Accreditation

The National Main Street Center and Missouri Main Street Connection reaffirmed Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street as a nationally and state accredited Main Street community. This is the highest level a downtown revitalization program can receive. Main Street America logo

The Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street organization is evaluated annually by Missouri Main Street Connection, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, tracking economic progress, preserving historic buildings and more.

Both Norma Ramirez de Miess, Senior Program Officer at the National Main Street Center, and Gayla Roten, State Director for Missouri Main Street Connection, congratulate Downtown Lee’s Summit on their achievement.

Ms. Miess noted that “Downtown Lee’s Summit continues to build upon past successes and creates new opportunities with strong leadership and volunteers from the community. It is exciting to see the impact of Main Street downtown with a low vacancy rate, popular events and future plans for a market and event pavilion.”

During 2016, Downtown Lee’s Summit saw 17 projects that resulted in over $1.4 million in public and private investment. The downtown district also saw 83 net new jobs and 3,907 volunteer hours.

The Missouri Main Street Program’s purpose is to create vibrant communities across the State. This effort is based on numerous recent studies showing that empowering individuals to develop their downtown motivates high achievement, making our state economically stronger. The goal of the Main Street Center and Missouri Main Street program is to encourage preservation-based economic development through the Main Street Four-Point Approach®.

Missouri Main Street Connection provides communities with the tools needed to develop into thriving downtowns. “These tools can be used to create jobs and build a sense of place that not only provides for current Missouri residents, but makes our communities more attractive to new residents and generations to come,” said Ms. Roten.

“It is truly an honor to receive national and state accreditation,” said Donnie Rodgers, executive director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street. “National accreditation validates all of the hard work of our volunteers and community in making Downtown Lee’s Summit one of the greatest downtowns in the nation.”

Communities selected for the accreditation review are evaluated using the annual evaluation process and accreditation criteria intended to assist each community in performing up to national accreditation standards, as prescribed by the National Main Street Center. Though it is a critical moment for a Missouri Main Street community to become accredited, it is equally important for the community to maintain the accreditation status once it has been earned.


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Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmers Market Opens April 1, 2017

Shoppers will find fresh produce, plants, jams, baked goods, meats, eggs, coffee and much more at the Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmers Market, which opens for the season at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at the corner of Second and Douglas streets in Downtown Lee’s Summit. The market is open from 7 a.m. to sell-out every Wednesday and Saturday from April 1 through November 18.Downtown Lee's Summit Farmers Market Poster 2017

The Farmers Market will host several special events this year. On May 13, the market will host its Spring Celebration from 7 a.m. to noon. It will include entertainment, crafts for children, and cooking demonstrations by St. Luke’s East Hospital. Other special events include Christmas in July on July 19 and Harvest Fest on October 7.

The Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmers Market has been named the No. 1 Farmers Market in the state of Missouri by the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest hosted by American Farmland Trust six years in a row. The Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmers Market has been in existence for more than 25 years and is managed by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization and preservation of Downtown Lee’s Summit. The Farmers Market is presented by Saint Luke’s East Hospital. The market is sponsored by Security Bank of Kansas City. For more information, visit or call 816-246-6598.


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Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Supports the Continuation of the Capital Improvements Sales Tax

The Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street board of directors has endorsed the proposed continuation of the half-cent Capital Improvements (CIP) Sales Tax, which will be on the April 4th municipal ballot.

The current half-cent Capital Improvement Sales tax was initially approved by voters in 1997 for a period of 10 years (1998-2008), and was continued in 2007 for an additional 10 years (2008-2018). The funds generated by this sales tax can be used for capital improvements only.

The proposed projects that would be made possible by the half-cent sales tax that have a direct impact on downtown Lee’s Summit include 3rd Street reconstruction from M-291 to Green Street (east) and Jefferson Street to US 50 (west), Douglas Street reconstruction from 2nd Street to Chipman, Independence Avenue reconstruction from Chipman to 5th Street, and the construction of an additional downtown parking garage. Additional projects include road reconstruction, streetlight upgrades and additions, residential curb replacement, sidewalks, storm water infrastructure improvements, and much more throughout the community. (A detailed project list and map can be found here.)

“The investment into the infrastructure at the heart of our city is vital for the continued growth and success of the entire Lee’s Summit community,” stated Lynn Hinkle, president of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Board of Directors. “The entire list of improvements will help ensure that Lee’s Summit continues to be one of the best cities to live, work and play.”

This is a continuation of an existing tax and is not a new tax or tax increase. The current tax is set to expire on March 2018. This renewal would be for a 15 year period (2018-2033).

More information on the April 4, 2017 election, including the proposed half-cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax Continuation, can be found here:

Events and Marketing Summer Internship 2017

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc. (DLSMS), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is accepting resumes for a 2017 summer internship focused on special events and marketing.


  • Develop and draft content for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street social media, website e-newsletters and other external channels as needed
  • Assist, plan and execute events, including taking the lead on the Annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale and Farmers Market Christmas in July event
  • Design and creation of marketing materials including brochures, digital content, posters, ads and other collateral
  • Assist with other special events and programs, as needed


  • Interest in nonprofits and marketing
  • General knowledge of social media platforms
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Products
  • Experience in design based products such as Adobe Creative Suite or Creative Cloud
  • Video production and editing a plus, but not required
  • Ability to work a minimum of 15 hours per week
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends
  • Ability to work independently
  • Enjoys working with people


  • Part Time – 20 hours per week preferred
  • June-August (flexible start/finish dates)
  • Office Hours are M-F 8:30 am – 5:30 pm with some evenings and weekends
  • Compensation: $10 per hour, up to 20 hours per week

Application Instructions:

Please send the following to Donnie Rodgers, Jr. at

  • Cover letter
  • Resume with references
  • Two writing samples
  • Two examples of design work
  • If completing internship for school credit, please include those requirements needing to be met

About Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.: Established in 1989, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc. (DLSMS) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Lee’s Summit, Missouri. DLSMS follows the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization and is an accredited Main Street program through the National Trust Main Street Center. Downtown Lee’s Summit is a recipient of the Great American Main Street Award®, naming it one of the top downtowns in the nation.

Emerald Isle Parade Details, Grand Marshal Announced

Celebrate all things Irish during the annual EMERALD ISLE PARADE, which begins at noon Saturday, March 11, in Downtown Lee’s Summit. The main parade route is on Green, Third and S.E. Main streets. The popular parade and fun activities before and after take place every year the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s Vegas inspired theme is “Feelin’ Lucky.”
The 2017 Emerald Isle Grand Marshal, Nancy Bruns, served as the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce president from 2000-2016. “What an honor to be selected as this year’s Grand Marshal,” Bruns said. “The Emerald Isle Parade is one of my favorite Lee’s Summit events, and I feel privileged to be chosen to lead the parade this year.”

Back this year (with a slight twist) is the Traditional Irish Breakfast, which will now take place the morning of the parade from 8 to 11 a.m. at Llywelyn’s Pub, 301 SE Douglas St. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door and can be purchased at Llywelyn’s Pub Lee’s Summit location.  Advanced tickets are recommended.

The Bits O’ Gold Coin Hunt takes place at 11:30 a.m. in Howard Station Park on SE Main Street. Children 8 and younger may participate in this race to find green and gold coins in the grass at Howard Station Park. No registration is necessary. Prizes will be awarded for children in each age group who find the rare golden coins.

More than 60 Downtown retail and specialty stores will be open throughout the day as they celebrate and showcase spring decor. Downtown restaurants and bars will feature their annual Emerald Isle Pub Crawl which will take place at approximately 1PM, following the parade, and will continue into the evening. To purchase an Emerald Isle Pub Crawl T-shirt or for more information, visit any Downtown Lee’s Summit bar or restaurant.

Judges for this year’s Emerald Isle Parade are Jason Lamb, sports reporter at WDAF-TV Fox 4; Chuck Denton, former Emerald Isle Parade grand marshal; and Jessica Kurzweil, former Emerald Isle committee member.

For more details, visit

The Emerald Isle Parade, is presented by Llywelyn’s Pub, and sponsored by TMC Lakewood Counseling, Amtrak Missouri RiverRunner, Weed Man, Down to Earth Services, Lee’s Summit Journal, and Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street.


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Fourth Fridays Art Walk Announces 2017 Dates, Themes

Family-friendly event happens the fourth Friday of each month, March-August, in Downtown Lee’s Summit

Fourth Fridays Art Walks in Downtown Lee’s Summit are packed with a variety of activities including artist receptions, art showcases, Music in the Park at Howard Station Park, street theater, Yoga in the Streets, and even some surprises. Join your neighbors and friends for this exciting 2017 season, happening on the 4th Friday of the month from March through August, 5-8pm.
How it works: Downtown Lee’s Summit businesses sign up to host an artist each month and the artist’s work will be on display the night of that month’s event. The artist is also on-site to answer any questions patrons may have about their work. Many artists have their works available for purchase the night of the event, and in June, donate a portion of their proceeds to a charity of their choice. The event is free to attend and maps of all participating venues will be available within those shops and restaurants.
“It has been very rewarding to see the growth of Fourth Fridays Art Walk in Downtown Lee’s Summit,” said Melissa McGhee. “As an artist, I’ve had exhibits of my own in various downtown businesses, and it’s wonderful to be able to reach a new audience with my work. As the current chair of the Cultural Arts Committee, it’s exciting to see the number of artists reaching out to us to participate this year and to see that our following is growing steadily. It’s a great event for all ages and it’s a great way to discover Downtown Lee’s Summit.”
Each month, the Fourth Fridays Art Walk has a different theme that the art or artist tie into. Themes for the 2017 season are as follows:
March 24 – Makers in March
April 28 – Art in Our Schools & Alley Kick-Off
May 26 – Music in May
June 23 – Art for a Cause & Cocktail Crawl
July 28 – July for Guys
August 25 – Art in the Alleys

More information about the event can be found at


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Shop Downtown Lee’s Summit to Welcome Spring

Annual Spring Open House Features Giveaways, Instructional Classes

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is hosting its annual Spring Open House from Friday through Saturday, March 3-4, during regular business hours of participating stores. Downtown businesses will feature Spring home décor, specialty gifts, clothing and more, which you can explore throughout the award-winning downtown.

During the event, customers are invited to visit each participating store to enter to win a Downtown Gift Basket and a $100 Downtown Lee’s Summit gift card.

Shoppers will also have a chance to attend instructional classes held at participating stores and taught by local business owners and subject-matter experts. A map including information on class schedules, entering the giveaway contest, and store hours will be available at each participating business.
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