The first first female mayor of Kansas City, Mo., was honored as Kansas Citian of the Year at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Nov. 20.
Kay Barnes, who served two terms as mayor from 1999 to 2007, oversaw the era of Downtown’s revitalization, including the opening of the new H&R Block World Headquarters, Sprint Center and the Power & Light District.
Other improvements that occurred during her watch included the Kauffman Center Parking Garage, improvements in the Crossroads District, the conversion of dozens of buildings into lofts and apartments, with thousands of people moving Downtown.
Barnes also is a strong advocate for minorities, members of the LBGTQ community and women – she was a founder of the Central Exchange and of the University of Missouri Women’s Resource Service Center.
The former mayor received her award in a room named for her, the Kay Barnes Ballroom at the Kansas City Convention Center. Last year’s recipient, Dr. Roy Jensen of the KU Cancer Center, presented the award.
At the event, the role of chamber board chairman also changed hands. Matt Condon, CEO of Bardavon Health Innovations, passed the baton to Gordon Lansford III, CEO of JE Dunn. Lansford highlighted the chamber’s efforts to improve workforce development, including providing early childhood education and addressing crime.
Keynote speaker Nate Silver, whose website FiveThirtyEight is known for its analysis of trends in politics, sports, culture and others, dissected the recent midterms and concluded that the Midwest decides elections.