Foundations to Futures: Preserving History and Fostering Growth

Join us for Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference. This year’s annual conference Foundations to Futures: Preserving History and Fostering Growth will transform your mindset on the ties between historic preservation, upper-story housing, and historic commercial districts. This conference is for communities of all sizes whose residents and stakeholders are eager to discover how thriving local economies and walkable neighborhoods can transform their communities. The conference brings together over 275 community members including local program directors, board members, volunteers, city and county elected officials and professionals, economic developers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners from across the state of Missouri to revitalize commercial districts and build foundations for the future.

Economic Development Credits Available!
Missouri Main Street Connection invites Certified Economic Development professionals seeking a unique and new perspective on economic development to Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference. This conference will provide a time-tested approach to economic development through historic preservation, which is used to equip local leaders to cultivate a thriving local economy and walkable neighborhoods. This is achieved by utilizing the Main Street Approach™ framework which unites people, preservation, and economic development. All of the conference sessions and educational tours count towards your requirements for recertification as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).
The 2024 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference is recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a professional development event that counts toward the recertification of CEcD.

Main Street 5 & Dime

Shop Main Street during the conference during breaks, between sessions, or at breakfast! Each year MMSC offers a selection of locally-made or Missouri-sourced items alongside Main Street-themed merch for attendees to browse. The Missouri Main Street 5 & Dime works with local Main Street organizations and their small businesses to bring a little bit of Main Street to you. Support local businesses by shopping at the 5 & Dime in the Expo area when you attend the conference this year.

Main Street Clinic

Do you need to develop an idea for your downtown or your organization? Do you need advice from Main Street professionals? The Main Street Clinic is here to help. It will be staffed by Main Street and historic preservation professionals to answer these questions and more. Stop by the Main Street Clinic in the Grand Ballroom Expo area for a consultation. No appointment needed!

Conference Highlights
Tuesday, July 30th

Deep Dive – Bringing Down the Barriers on Historic Preservation

Tuesday, July 30, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Have you ever wondered what the true value of the National Register of Historic Places designation would be for your community? Learn the benefits that historic preservation can bring to your community, unlock the mysteries of National Register designation, and demystify the historic tax credit process. Our panel of experts, including people with firsthand experience with these challenges in communities like yours, will enhance your understanding of the value of preservation and provide you with practical implementation strategies you can use in your community. Join us for an engaging session and discover how preserving historic sites not only safeguards our past but also enriches our communities and supports our local economies.

Deep Dive Sponsor:

“Welcome Home” Evening Opening Reception – Grand Ballroom Foyer

Tuesday, July 30, 2024, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Join us as we kick off the conference at the Kansas City Country Club Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom Foyer. Connect with other attendees while enjoying the “Welcome Home” gallery. The “Welcome Home” gallery is a unique experience MMSC is offering during this year’s Evening Opening Reception. This gallery will have the semifinalists from our “Welcome Home” Preservation Month contest.

Your ticket includes tasty appetizers and one drink. You will find plenty of great places to eat dinner when you leave to explore Country Club Plaza.

Attire – Business Casual.

Grand Ballroom Foyer, Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza, 4445 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111

Tickets available ($25), until sold out, online until July 18th and onsite ($50) at the conference registration desk. Must be pre-purchased. No tickets sold at the event.

Wednesday, July 31st

Welcome & Opening Assembly – Creative Incremental Development Strategies for Main Street

Wednesday, July 31st, 8:30 am

You won’t want to miss Bernice Radle, Executive Director, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, speak about how she identifies, protects and promotes the unique architecture and historic legacy in Western New York.   Bernice Radle is an urban planner, historic preservationist, and building science nerd. She believes that strong healthy neighborhoods are the key to a community’s successes. She also believes that neighborhood strength isn’t defined by how expensive the homes are; it is defined by how inclusive it is to all walks of life. She formerly served as Vice Chair of the City of Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals, a faculty member of the incremental Development Alliance, and a VIP with the Buffalo’s Young Preservationists. She also works with Neighborhood Evolution that trains and builds the ecosystems needed to support small scale development. The Opening Keynote Address is sponsored by BOLD Marketing. 

Opening Keynote Sponsor:

ShowMe Bash & Pitch Party – J. Rieger & Co.

Wednesday, July 31, 2024, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

The ShowMe Bash takes place at the historic J. Rieger & Co., a storied establishment deeply rooted in Kansas City’s rich history. Founded in 1887 within the bustling West Bottoms Livestock Exchange District, J. Rieger & Co. quickly became synonymous with quality and innovation, boasting a diverse portfolio of over 100 alcoholic products. Although Prohibition dealt a blow to the company, it was not the end of its story. Now, a century later, J. Rieger & Co. proudly stands once again as a beacon of Kansas City’s vibrant spirit and entrepreneurial energy.

The evening starts off with a full buffet dinner followed by the Pitch Party, the culmination of the MMSC Creative Space Activation Grant where one community will be awarded $10,000! As the finalists pitch their ideas to the audience, your participation will help choose the winner. One drink ticket is provided with your event registration. Cash bar available.

After the conclusion of the Pitch Party programming, stay around to enjoy their laidback environment, participate in their self-guided tour showcasing the history of J. Rieger & Co., shop in their gift shop, and slide down the 40-foot slide!

Attire – Sporty Casual.

Meet at 5:45 pm in the Hotel Lobby to walk as a group to board the transportation at Main Street and E. 45th Street outside of the hotel.

J. Rieger & Co., The Monogram Lounge, 2700 Guinotte Ave., Kansas City, MO 64120

Tickets available ($50), until sold out, online until July 18th and onsite ($100) at the conference registration desk. Must be pre-purchased, no tickets sold at event.

ShowMe Bash Sponsor:
Thursday,  August 1st

Closing Assembly with Keynote Address – What Would You Do?

Thursday, August 1st, 2:45 PM.

You will want to be present to hear Randy Wilson’s closing keynote. Equal parts information and inspiration, this closing keynote will address and illustrate possible answers to the questions “What would you do?” against relevant topics such as creative housing approaches, placemaking as a recruitment tool for your downtowns. Randy Wilson is a nationally renowned architect who established Community Design Solutions as a community-based design firm devoted to delivering creative, asset-based design services for community building and downtown revitalization. Mr. Wilson serves as the consulting architect to Mississippi Main Street and Main Street South Carolina. In 2023 Mr. Wilson was awarded the Sam Kaye Excellence in Design award to commemorate his lifetime achievement for design services provided to Mississippi Main Street.

Randy - bigger picture hopefully not pixalted

Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony & Dinner – The Bauer

6:00 pm – 6:30 pm Evening of Excellence Reception in the Parlor

6:30 pm – 10:00 pm Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony and Dinner on the third floor.

Join us for our Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony & Dinner as we celebrate the remarkable achievements of our Main Streets and their dedication to revitalizing Missouri’s historic commercial districts. The awards are an opportunity to honor local Main Street programs. Throughout the evening, you will see people, projects, and initiatives that are the best representation of the great accomplishments local Main Street programs made in their historic commercial districts and communities across the state.

Your reservation includes a wonderful four-course dinner with an exceptional awards ceremony that will provide inspiration and new ideas to take home with you.

Attire – Semiformal.

Transportation will not be provided to this event. Parking instructions will be included in your welcome packet.

The Bauer, 115 W. 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

Tickets available for individuals ($80) or VIP table for 8 ($880), until sold out, online until July 18th and onsite for individuals ($160) at the conference registration desk. No VIP tables will be sold onsite. Must be pre-purchased, no tickets sold at event.

Hear Why This Conference is so Important to Attend for Your Community

Recharged and Reassured to Revitalize.

“I found exactly what I needed by attending the 2023 conference. The guest speakers encouraged me during the break-out sessions and provided many suggestions, ideas, and resources to bring home and utilize. Networking with, listening to, and sharing stories of what did and did not work with other communities across the state helped tremendously. The conference recharged me and reassured me that I was on the right path.” Tiffiny Shankle, Charleston Revitalization Movement

Fueled to Engage with Dynamic Speakers!

“I was part of a group of four from Vision Carthage which allowed us to have at least one person in every session during the 2023 conference. We all found the sessions valuable and interesting with the variety of topics they covered. I most enjoyed the general session on Friday: A Recipe For Place. The topic was right on point and the speaker was very engaging. Speaking of recipes: thank you for providing a delicious breakfast each morning, it helped get my brain in gear for the day.” Kara Hardesty, Vision Carthage

Small Steps to Success Begins with Confidence.

“The 2022 conference helped me build confidence, energy, and enthusiasm to come home and get to work with Main Street Albany. There are small steps we can take to make our downtown look more inviting without spending a ton of money… by painting, cleaning up vacant areas; adding greenery; adding seating areas; etc. Listening to the success stories people have had across the state was encouraging and I learned that it is important to take chances on projects and ideas that I might not personally see value in, but that others might.” Kaylie Walker, Main Street Albany

Takeaways in Unique Places.

“I took away great information from the 2022 conference sessions Downtown Sedalia can use soon or in the future. I personally enjoyed the opportunity to explore Independence. It’s always good to get a sidewalk perspective on what other downtowns are doing to bring people into their businesses. As a chef and a local ice cream store owner, I value the insight and resources I’m able to take away from these conferences.

I have found that the networking, especially within Missouri’s communities, is just as valuable as the sessions offered. I have quickly made connections widening the circle of people I feel comfortable contacting if I have a question.” Chris Paszkiewicz, City of Sedalia

Creating a Lively Downtown

“Attending the 2021 revitalization conference provided me a better insight into how to better revitalize our historic downtown, revitalized my interests in gaining a better education in how to disassemble the myths of the issues of creating a lively downtown, and how to become an example in expressing my passion for revitalization to Sedalia’s citizens and other downtowns across the state.
The education that I received from this conference will be used to capture that same passion in the hearts of our property owners, managers, employees, and residents of our downtown.” Tom Oldham, Sedalia Missouri

If They Can Do It, We Can Too!

“The presentation given by the entrepreneurs in Excelsior Springs was very inspiring. I learned a great deal about how to approach the renovation and preservation of old historic buildings, 353 Tax Abatement Credits, the National Preservation Tax Credit, and how these can apply to Brookfield and our historic buildings on Main Street.
The most important thing I got from the 2021 conference was a renewed excitement and enthusiasm to move forward with Main Street, knowing we have chosen the perfect initiative for our community.” Nancy Saccaro, Brookfield
2024 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference Sponsors
2024 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference Partners

This conference is a private and public partnership with the Department of Economic Development, the State of Missouri, USDA, and MMSC.