1) Can you introduce us to the Northeast Chamber, the CID, and HNE?

Chamber Mission:
The primary mission of the NEKC chamber is to be the go-to place for your business. We can provide you with education, programs, and networking opportunities to grow your success. We bring businesses together.

We strive to be a financially sound, well-managed business association that helps enhance the quality of life and economic competitiveness in Northeast KC.

Through partnership and collaboration, our goal is to serve the diverse entrepreneurial, cultural, artistic, commercial, industrial, and civic interests of our community.

CID Mission:
CHIME — collaborates with many businesses and stakeholders in the community to generate a place for success. For example, we highlight businesses located within the District in the NE News displaying services and products. We also offer a storefront improvement program that assists our businesses.

GRIME — the Avenue continues to see daily beautification progress made by our Urban Street Ambassadors (USA) who keep the Avenue clear of litter, decorate for various holidays, and maintain common area landscaping, regardless of the weather. They also observe and report street activities for everyone’s safety.

CRIME — our Avenue Angels (Titan Security) address nuisance crimes on properties within the district and are “eyes on the Avenue.” From 8:30am-11:30pm, Titan assists International Marketplace (i.e., CID) businesses and on-site customers.

HNE Mission:
The mission of NE is for the purpose of organizing, uniting, and promoting community engagement, activities, and events in the Historic Northeast area of Kansas City. Since 1995, we have organized parades, family picnics, musical events and, most notably, from 1996 to 2007, a family weekend event called ‘Historic Northeast Festival.’ This event brought together our ethnic business products, foods, live entertainment, youth activities and a carnival to a local park. It was an economic boost to the area and a social event to mix the broad range of our ethnic cultures.

Many of these same activities can now be found at the EGG with small venue celebrations, pop up events, and spotlight sessions for artist galleries. For example, we hosted a Historic Preservation event for Halloween with more than 100 people in attendance, including neighbors and which was collaborated with KC’s Urban Core Group members.

2) Are there any plans in implementing live music venue, brewery, fine dining/ chain restaurants, and event space in our neighborhood? Are any initiatives working towards that within the next year or two?

We continue to take every placemaking opportunity to produce a difference by installing murals, managing multiple potted plantings, and maintaining a clean and safe environment. Our CID funds storefront improvements and decorating for the holidays to improve the area’s aesthetics. We also sponsor and host Historic Northeast Real Estate Exchange (HNE REX) events to bring in commercial retail into our area to improve the visibly of the community; to be more appealing to business owners and developers.

For example, Commercial Developer, Arnold Development, is creating a small city within the Hardesty Complex, and we are working with them as they move forward. We continue to attempt to recruit a restauranter and another retail store owner for the new building at 2600 Independence Ave.

3) How does the chamber cross-promote or collaborate with other chambers or the downtown council?

The best collaboration is through building relationships and sharing opportunities to cross promote the Historic Northeast. We have collaborated with, for example, the Greater KC Chamber/Centurions/Welcome KC for NE tours and KCPD Police Chief search listening sessions to bring citizens into the HNE. KC’s Downtown Council requested our collaboration on their 2030 Strategic Plan, and they in turn nominated one of our team members as an Urban Hero recipient (awards given out annually since 2005).

Examples of other city-wide organizations we collaborate with to bring solutions and celebrations to the HNE.

4) How does the EGG facilitate small business promotion, and how can the neighborhood engage in this effort?

The Economic Growth Gallery (EGG) is programmed exactly for small business promotion through such events as pop-ups shops, studio tours, as well as spotlighting local artists. The EGG reaches out to the community through mostly social media and the press. The best way our neighborhoods could engage is to attend or be a pop-up at theEGG and support the local artists and/or vendors. Also, we use one of our billboards to advertise theEGG as an available space for business promotions.

Local neighborhoods can share our EGG website with others: https://nekcchamber.com/theegg/

Also see our social meeting page where we promote events: https://www.facebook.com/TheEGGKC

5)  Is an effort being made in order to hold businesses accountable for their appearnace on the avenue?

The Chamber promotes storefront improvements (CID properties only) through a rebate program managed through the Independence Ave CID called Storefront Improvement Rebate (SIR):

The “process” to hold business/property owners accountable is to contact the City’s 311 Service Center for reporting code violations – the city has a baseline of accountability through permitting and inspections. We monitor and speak with property and business owners to inform them of various ways they can improve security and appearance, mostly using the City approved International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) as a guide. We also provide educational opportunities on storefront improvement ideas. We also provide a resources page on our website for local business owners (and potential HNE business owners) regarding initiatives and financial incentives: https://nekcchamber.com/incentives/

6) Is there a resource list for small businesses to offer their services, or indicate they are looking for help?

Yes, the Chamber provides a business resource directory where a business can be contacted by consumers. We provide access online through our website: https://nekcchamber.com/members-directory/ Some other local resources available to entrepreneurs, based upon their needs, is: KC Source Link: https://www.kcsourcelink.com/ , KC BizCare: https://bizcare.kcmo.gov/ & Alternative Capital (AltCap): https://www.altcap.org/missouri

7) What are some of the way the board is taking in order to ensure we have the longevity of institutional knowledge and flawless business continuity?

The Chamber & CID are using Google G Drive for a shared database that chronicles and archives every employee’s activity and work. We also use online storage for the EGG activities and archiving. We use ‘alias’ email names for management staff members for communicating, signing into websites, and managing our electronic databases and social media (lonnieclark@indieavecid.com = urban.planner@indeavecid.com. We keep a “Drop Dead” booklet, and we annually review and update our 5-year plan. Furthermore, we create an information and progress presentation monthly that is stored on our website for all to view: https://nekcchamber.com/about-us/meetings-and-reports/

Our advice is to go paperless and into the ‘cloud’ for online (and sharable) storage and archiving.

8) Can you share a list of how the Chamber and CID have given back to the community with us in order to shar ein our newletters?

We are strong supporters of our HNE neighborhoods and community events. Frequently check out our website and the Northeast News for our ongoing sponsorships and activities.

9) What is the unique position of the chamber, and what does it mean when we think through other organizatons in the HNE? How does it collaborate with any overlapping interests?

We tend to reach out to interact with all the other local organizations designed to provide improvements for the NE area, such as Maddie Rhodes, Jerusalem Farms and so forth. Following is a 2022 list of community partners we collaborate with within the HNE neighborhood as well as those city- wide to bring citizens into the area:

10) What is the long term plan for the Chamber and CID (5 year-plan, projected budget, and any other supportive documents to improve our positions and goals)? Is there something like that available to align to as a neighborhood area?

We stay aligned with the KC Strategic Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Council Imagine Plan on behalf of the NE area and build upon those plans to improve our local business community. We have in the past (and will in the future) invited neighborhood residents to attend and be a part of all our planning process meetings. We also provide an open resource on our website for the neighbors to review all plans that affect our area:

NEKC Chamber site for sharing area plans: https://nekcchamber.com/area-plans/
Imagine Downtown site: https://www.downtownkc.org/imagine/
KC Strategic Plan site: https://playbook.kcmo.gov/

11) Are there any advocacy plans to increase mixed-use development along the avenue we could join?

The Chamber refers to the Independence Avenue Corridor Overlay Plan (Ordinance) and the City’s Development Plans, such as Vision KC, to guide us regarding mixed use development. The Chamber has held public meetings regarding development along the Avenue and what residents and business owners here would like to see happen on the Avenue; input from a meeting’s participants produced an array of desired options:

Please refer to our website page that promotes mixed-use development for more details about the Independence Ave Overlay and how the Chamber is working to promote development along the Avenue: https://nekcchamber.com/commercial-property/ 

12) A topic that is consistent in our neighborhood meetings is crime prevention. What efforts does the Chamber and CID already have going on that people could join?

Every Friday the Chamber provides one of our CID properties with a duty-call visit by our security TITAN team (the Avenue Angels) that is advertised in the NE Newspaper (and on their website) that is available for all residence to join in the official visit. Furthermore, we host quarterly Safety & Security meetings open to the public to join that are held at the Chamber office and sometimes out in the neighborhood where an issue might be occurring. Additionally, we have partnered with the KC Police Department Relations Officer to aid with the houseless population within the NE district. And, we have TITAN call-for-service for all our CID properties.

The Chamber also contracts with the City for the CID to keep the NE alleyways clear and open as possible to avoid allowing places that might encourage unscrupulous activities. We also work with Mid America Regional Council (MARC) on installing signage and camera focused on the alleyways. Furthermore, we use our billboard to discourage crime and encourage the cleanliness of the NE to create a respectable environment that might help discourage crime.

13) How do the CID and Chamber Align as we think through regional alignment? What does success look like for the CID?

Both the Chamber and CID collaborate often with Mid America Regional Council (MARC) and other regional partners to stay “aligned” with the region. In accordance with our mission statement (refer to answer on Q1), we believe the CID already ‘looks’ successful, and we continue to move forward with PIAC and Rebuild KC and other community oriented projects within the footprints of the CID. We continue to strive for more success for the District and surrounding community.

14) We believe in the power of entrepreneurs and small business ownership and want to inform our neighbors about that path with resources to get started/ find funding. Is that something the Chamber can help with?

Please visit our website for a comprehensive resource list of local, regional, state, and federal help for startup businesses, small businesses, and entrepreneurs: https://nekcchamber.com/incentives/ Furthermore, we host KC’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) representative quarterly to set one-on-one with owners of startup businesses and small businesses, and entrepreneurs. We also steer those interested in small business development to other sources such as KC BizCare: https://bizcare.kcmo.gov/ as well as AltCap: https://www.altcap.org/missouri and KC Source link: https://www.kcsourcelink.com/

15) What is the Chamber’s point of view on the proposed parking-protected mobility lanes on Admiral?

Answering this question is mute now; the city completed this project as they wanted with minimal engagement with the community as a hole, and we have made that point to the Public Works Dept.

16) We are curious as to how the Chamber benefits from having elected officials, neighborhood representatives, and direct business owners as its board members, and if there are any opening positions people could apply for, we would love to share them.

The Chamber has a full board of 13 consisting of a variety of stakeholders who bring professional guidance to our organization in setting and achieving goals from year to year. This fact benefits the Chamber and its members through several advantages:

  • Representation: Elected officials represent the interests of our local constituents, aid in partnering with government agencies, and guide us through official polices, while neighborhood representatives can provide a local perspective. Business owners can offer insights into the needs of our local business community. Having a diverse group of board members can ensure that the Chamber represents a wide range of interests.
  • Expertise: Board members with different backgrounds and experiences can bring unique skills and knowledge to the table. For example, an elected official may have expertise in public policy, while a business owner may have experience in marketing or finance. This diversity of expertise can help the Chamber make informed decisions.
  • Networking: Board members can help the Chamber build relationships with other organizations and individuals. Elected officials may have connections to other government agencies, while business owners may have relationships with suppliers or customers. These connections can help the Chamber and its members achieve its goals more effectively.
  • Credibility: Having elected officials and other community leaders on the board can lend credibility to the Chamber. This can be especially important when advocating for needed policy changes or security initiatives.

Overall, having a diverse group of board members can help ensure that the Chamber is representing the interests of its members and surrounding neighbors effectively and making informed decisions.