The Missouri Main Street Connection hosted the annual Evening of Excellence Awards Thursday, July 28 to honor communities, individuals, businesses and civic organizations that have completed exemplary work in downtown revitalization in Missouri. The event was held at the St. Francis Borgia Parish Jesuit Hall in downtown Washington, Missouri as part of the “Get Plugged in Downtown” state conference. Awards were presented in 16 categories.
Missouri Main Street Connection recognized Donna Furr as the Volunteer of the Year, an award given to only one individual in the state of Missouri each year. Donna was nominated by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street (DLSMS) to honor her many contributions to downtown.
“From her very first meeting, Donna made an immediate impact,” said DLSMS executive director, Donnie Rodgers. “Donna never volunteers for the easy jobs and she is happiest working behind the scenes, which makes this award that much more special. We wanted to call attention to her steadfast service to our community.”
Furr is the incoming Chair for the Downtown Days Committee, by far the largest event that DLSMS plans every year. Not only is she instrumental in the success of the Downtown Days Festival, but she also volunteers on a number of other committees including the Emerald Isle Parade.
Furr is a long-time resident of Downtown Lee’s Summit. Her friendly face is frequently seen in its businesses and throughout the district as she takes her dogs on their daily walk.
If you own a business or property downtown, the recent trend in young crowds invading spaces, otherwise empty, could be alarming. But we are here to tell you that not only do these groups and individuals have the potential to be good for business, but they could be great for business!
For those of you unfamiliar with the trend, a new game was released to the Android and IOS platforms that encourages users to search for Pokemon in their area. App users congregate at historic landmarks, points of interest, and what the game calls Pokemon Gyms. The game took steam and people have been flooding the streets, including those in Downtown Lee’s Summit.
We saw businesses reacting two very different ways to the trend earlier in the week: “Get off my lawn” and “Come on in.”
The “get off my lawn” mentality is certainly an understandable reaction, but look twice at those people walking around outside your door. Those are potential customers, and the way you approach and treat them may have a huge impact on the public’s perception of you and your business. We all know that teenagers and 20-somethings are not known for their deep pockets full of disposable income, but think of all the people they know. These individuals are going to spread the word about your business via word of mouth and social media, whether it be positive or negative.
The other approach, which we recommend, is embracing the trend. Find a way to uniquely incorporate it and welcome users of the game into your business. Own a restaurant? Make a Pokemon special. It could be something already on your menu - just rename it accordingly for a week and see how patrons respond. Own a retail store? Take a photo of a rare Pokemon inside your store, post it on social media, and let app users know you are Pokemon-friendly.
No matter which stance you choose, remember that every person is a potential customer or knows
someone who could be. Your time and energy are much better spent explaining what you are all about to new people who walk in your door than wasted chasing away Pickachu seekers. Have fun and be a little spontaneous! You never know what new revenue sources or streams these younger customers could unveil to you.
Volunteers, community members and local business owners were honored during the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, June 28 at The Gamber Center in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
The following individuals and businesses were recognized for their commitment to the revitalization and preservation of Downtown Lee’s Summit.
- The Living Stone, Best Display Window
- @Jolly’s, Business of the Year
- Dave Eames, Dale Hartley Service Award
- Don Ploeger, Downtown Champion
- Abundant Life Baptist Church, Golden Broom Award
- Nancy Bruns, Mary Stacy Ambassador of the Year
- Melissa Beall, New Downtown Dynamo
- Mayor Pro Tempore Rob Binney, Outstanding Public Official
- Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Office, Outstanding Special Project
- Jillian Steller, Rookie of the Year
- The Blarney Brew Off, Top Special Event
- Donna Furr, Volunteer of the Year
- Downtown Community Improvement District Board, President’s Award
- Community Branding Initiative, Premier Partner Award
Three seats on the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Board of Directors were up for election at the annual meeting. Current investors of the organization voted on a slate of candidates put forward by the organization’s nominating committee. The newly elected board members, to serve a three-year term, include:
- Lynn Hinkle, regional bank manager with Great Southern Bank
- Tony Olson, owner of Snax Management/Neighborhood Café
- Nick Swearngin, owner of John’s Barber Shop
The event’s theme was “At the Heart of it All” and Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street unveiled its new mission and vision:
The mission of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is to promote, enhance, and preserve the heart of our city by cultivating a diverse mix of businesses, cultural and family-friendly events, unique housing options, and inclusive public spaces.
Downtown Lee’s Summit is the past, present, and future heart of our community.
Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization and preservation of Downtown Lee’s Summit. For more information, visit www.downtownls.org.
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. Lee’s Summit is one of six Missouri communities to achieve this honor.
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 continually builds the program through partnerships, planning, programming and outreach at a very high level. The leadership within the organization has built upon the partnership with the city and other groups to promote Downtown Lee’s Summit as an economically viable destination to live, work, shop, eat and have fun.”
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.
“This recognition truly belongs to our volunteers,” said Lynn Hinkle, Board President of DLSMS. “Without their tireless hours, dedication and hard work, the success we’ve experienced here in Lee’s Summit would not be possible.”
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.
Let’s be honest. We all love a good funnel cake now and then. Our staff has been gearing up for Downtown Days for months and we are very excited to get to try some of the great food we’ve been reading about on all those vendor applications. Staff comments:
Julie: Gyros. But my last name is Cook, so I have to live up to that and try everything.
Donnie: Basket ‘o Fries. It’s like an entire meal, but covered in ketchup.
Ashley: Funnel cakes. There’s nothing like a plate of fresh funnel cake.
Jen: Pulled Pork Nachos. I haven’t stopped thinking about them since last year.
(Disclaimer: I totally made up those quotes, but those really are the foods that we are super excited about trying.)
If festival food isn’t your thing, we also have lots of established restaurants and bars in Downtown Lee’s Summit that can cater to your desires. Here’s a handy map of all the places you can get food this weekend:
That’s right, folks! We are upping our beer game this year and bringing you all these great choices. Come on out to either of our beer tents and grab your favorite summer choice while strolling the festival or listening to your favorite band. Beer is served in cans and are $6 a piece. Thanks to Central States Beverage Company for being a great partner for this festival! If you can’t see the picture, here’s what we’re offering this year:
- Boulevard Wheat
- Miller Lite
- Coors Light
- Coors Banquet
- Boulevard Ginger Lemon Radler
- Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale
- Boulevard Heavy Lifting
- Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
- Not Your Father’s Root Beer
- Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
We will also be featuring a frozen mixed drink tent right next to the Depot Stage for your imbibing pleasure. Embrace the Grape will be serving Strum-Runners, Vodka Cherry Limeade, Margaritas, and Hippie Juice which run $6.50-12, depending on size. Light-up souvenir cups will also be available! Wine by the glass will be offered for $6 each.
Grab your friends and get to Downtown Days this weekend!
The Sports and Autograph Booth is bringing back many festival favorites like the Spin-to-Win Prize Wheel, raffle prizes, PLUS players, mascots, and personalities from local athletic organizations. Stop by during festival hours to get autographs and take a selfie with your favorites!
Local sports knowledge authority, and all-around awesome guy Fred Liggett, runs the Sports Booth all weekend and would love for Downtown Days attendees to visit him and get some autographs!
Sports & Autograph Booth Schedule
Friday, June 3:
4-6pm, KC Chiefs/K-State Alum Damian McIntosh & Chiefs Superfan X-Factor
6-7:30pm, KC Chiefs/KU Hall of Famer Curtis McClinton
Saturday, June 4:
10am-Noon, T-Bones Baseball Mascot, Sizzle
12-2pm, Sportswriter Bill Althaus & Royals Superfan Craig Rookstool
2-4pm, Missouri Mavericks Mascot Mac
4-6pm, Missouri Comets Mascot Calvin the Canine
6-7:30pm, Sporting KC Mascot BLUE
Sunday, June 5:
11am-1pm, Independence Veterans Baseball Manager Vern Hasty
1-3pm, UMKC Athletics Mascot Kasey the Kangaroo
Plan to kick off summer with the FREE Downtown Days Festival, presented by Lee’s Summit Medical Center, Friday through Sunday, June 3, 4 & 5. Live entertainment featuring The Elders, carnival, sports & autograph booth, SMOKIN’ on the Summit BBQ Contest, white tigers, classic car show, robotics demonstrations, festival food, handcrafted goods, and two beer tents featuring craft beer and much more are part of this year’s festivities.
Entertainment for all ages at the Depot Stage
The Depot Stage is the place for a great variety of entertaining acts including science demonstrations, dog shows, dance performances, and live music. Headlining the festival are The Elders, an Irish American folk rock band and an area favorite for fans of all ages. The stage, located on SE Main Street just south of 2nd street, will feature performances throughout the weekend of the festival.
Depot Stage Schedule
Friday, June 3
3:30 Larry Garrett
4:30 School of Rock
5:30 Sit Means Sit
6:30 Four Fried Chickens and a Coke **NEW TIME**
8:30 Elton Dan and the Rocket Band **NEW TIME**
Saturday, June 4
10:30 Sit Means Sit
11:00 Mad Science
12:15 Rockin’ Rob
1:30 Summit Theatre Group
2:00 Heart of America Dance Centre
3:45 Smokin’ on the Summit BBQ Awards
4:15 Lee’s Summit’s Got Talent
6:00 State Line Drive
8:30 The Elders
Sunday, June 5
11:15 Studio J Performing Arts Center
12:30 Reed Performing Arts Company
1:45 Studio d Dance Company
3:00 Storybook Theatre
The Downtown Days Festival is coming up this weekend! This event is the main fundraiser for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and helps make so much possible downtown. The festival takes place June 3-5, 2016. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, DLSMS relies on fundraisers to help fund many of its events and programming, allowing us to promote Downtown Lee’s Summit throughout the entire year. We have planned an exciting event this year with the goal of drawing thousands of people to our downtown and provide the community with a festival filled with fun for everyone.
We have some important information to pass on to you regarding street closures:
- TUESDAY, MAY 31 : At 5 p.m., the public parking lot located at Third Street next to Arnold Hall and the public parking lot on Douglas next to Heart of America Dance Studio will close. Carnival rides will begin moving into the Arnold Hall parking lot at 5 p.m. and the White Tigers will arrive that evening to the parking lot on Douglas next to Heart of America Dance Studio. Please encourage your customers and staff to park in the City Hall parking garage located at Second and Green.
- WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1: Green Street from Second to Fourth Streets, and Third Street from Green to Douglas Streets will close at 5 p.m. This is where all the carnival rides will be, as well as in the Arnold Hall parking lot.
- THURSDAY, JUNE 2: All other streets (between Green and Jefferson Streets, and Second to Fourth Streets) will close at noon. Please plan accordingly for deliveries to be completed before 11 a.m. Thursday, June 2, as access will be limited during the festival.
- SUNDAY, JUNE 5: All streets will remain closed until approximately 8pmon Sunday, June 5.
Downtown Days is expected to draw crowds of approximately 100,000 people to our downtown, which is an excellent opportunity to showcase downtown and its amazing businesses! We do understand, however, that street closures and limited storefront access can create challenges for your businesses. We hope you understand the benefits this festival has for our downtown, and we look forward to celebrating with you the first weekend in June!
For a full schedule of events, visit our websitewww.LeesSummitDowntownDays.com
We are excited to be planning another year of the Downtown Days Festival, and it’s going to be here before you know it! The festival is the first full weekend in June every year, so this year, that puts it on June 3, 4 & 5. Our office is buzzing trying to finish up vendor placement, signage, and to-do lists. However, we did get to spend a super fun afternoon with our presenting sponsor, Lee’s Summit Medical Center, last week creating videos to help you stay safe at the festival. Click to view all three videos, and try not to laugh at our staff too much. Thanks to Lee’s Summit Medical Center for making these videos a reality and for being such a great partner and sponsor for Downtown Days!
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