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Downtown Council honors its 2024 Urban Heroes

At this year’s Downtown Council luncheon, four businesses + individuals were recognized for helping to shape downtown KCMO.

A screen reads "The Evolution of Downtown: Celebrating Kansas City." Teresa Bolton, Allan Gray, Annie McGinniss, Elliott Ivory, Woodie Bonds Jr., Kemet Coleman, Michele Dawbarn + Johnny Dawbarn stand on-stage before a crowd.

Not all heroes wear capes. | Photo by KCtoday

Three KC mayors took the stage, SomeraRoad outlined its vision for the future of West Bottoms, officials lamented the rejection of a downtown ballpark by Jackson County voters, and walkability expert Jeff Speck exhorted leaders to accelerate cycling infrastructure efforts.

A lot was said at the 2024 Downtown Council Annual Luncheon. But — KCtoday being KCtoday — we’re going to focus on the recipients of the Urban Hero Award, which recognizes local businesses and individuals helping move downtown forward.

Teresa Bolton

As longtime director of the Kansas City Public Library’s Central branch, Teresa Bolton was recognized for her commitment to accessibility of information + resources for all Kansas Citians.


In particular, DTC honored owners Michele + Johnny Dawbarn and the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” represented at HITIDES. For their part, the Dawbarns shouted out the Crossroads’ creative community.

Allan Gray

An inveterate supporter of local art, Allan Gray’s investment in projects like the Zhou B Art Center earned him the title of Urban Hero.

Vine Street Brewing Co.

Kemet Coleman, Woodie Bonds Jr., Elliott Ivory + Annie McGinnis took the stage on behalf of Vine Street Brewing, Missouri’s first Black-owned brewery and an instant classic in the Jazz District.