KC World's Fair

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Chris Stritzel
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KC World's Fair

Post by Chris Stritzel »

I hinted a week or so ago on the World Cup thread that I'd like to one day bring a World's Fair and Olympics to Kansas City. I believe that the efforts to get the World Cup here proved that a wide variety of people could come together on a winning bid. Now making that bid into a successful event is something we'll watch take place over the next 4 years. But I believe that this proves that Kansas City can, and should, be able to host an International Exposition (Expo or World's Fair) as well as an Olympics (maybe).

Currently, Minnesota is representing the United States in a bid for the 2027 Specialized Expo. The theme will be: Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Wellness and Well-Being for All. Renderings of the planned fairgrounds were revealed recently and over 13 million people are expected to visit this event in the roughly 4-month window it'll be open for. Minnesota is going up against Phuket Thailand, Belgrade Serbia, Malaga Spain, and San Carolos de Bariloche Argentina.

This is a specialized expo, so it's not a large and grand event like Dubai hosted in 2021 (delayed from 2020). The Dubai Expo brought in 24 million visitors over the course of 6 months. The fairgrounds are now being repurposed into "Expo City", a green and clean walkable district in Dubai powered by renewable energy sources and keeps the spirit of the Expo alive. The next international exposition will be held in Osaka Japan in 2025. A host for the 2030 Expo has not yet been announced but candidate cities include Busan South Korea, Rome Italy, and Riyadh Saudi Arabia.

The point I'm trying to make here is that Kansas City should, depending on the success of planning and the event of the 2026 World Cup events, should look towards the International Expo in 2035 as a candidate city. By time the announcement for a host city for that event is made, likely in 2028, Kansas City's standing should be greatly improved and elevated thanks to the World Cup and other things that help reshape the city and metro over the next several years. It's in my opinion that Kansas City would be ready by 2035 to host an International Exposition, or what we should call the World's Fair.

Kansas City is already considered the Heart of America, but I imagine it being called the Heart of the World for a roughly 6-month event. KC would be the focus of a global event, opening our doors to tens of millions of visitors and pushing us into the same category of some of the world's greatest cities to have hosted a World's Fair. We'd benefit greatly from it especially if we had a fairground built to withstand the test of time.

Think of it this way: a true public-private investment to reshape a sizable amount of land in Kansas City into a world-class fairgrounds, and later mixed-use neighborhood linked to other neighborhoods and destinations via multiple BRT lines and a few higher capacity transit lines (streetcar or light rail). Pavilions and other structures would be predesigned with the future in mind with them easily able to be adapted to cultural venues, museums, residential buildings, office buildings, hotels, and wellness centers. The focus would have to be on walkability+sustainability. Meanwhile the design could tie forward thinking architecture into Kansas City's Art Deco past in an interesting development that is full of Kansas City and Midwestern culture, but it blends seamlessly with a global cultural mix.

I imagine that the economic impact of this would far exceed the city limits boundaries of Kansas City, so I figured the states of Missouri and Kansas, multiple counties in the metro area, and the Federal Government would all work together to help fund the public and infrastructure sides of things while a plethora of local and national developers make up the other half to see the construction of the fairgrounds through. If some don't think the Federal Government would help fund this, then you're fooling yourself. Why wouldn't they want to be involved in something that would also put the country on the world stage?

I have a general area in mind for where the fairgrounds would go, but the issue is that the area is presently home to industrial usages and a few older apartment buildings. Acquistion would probably be the hardest part of this. But the main thoroughfares would be 12th and the Paseo. It's not in my idea to go east of the Paseo and take over affordable apartments for this, but I would make an effort to at least improve the design and layouts of those buildings in an effort to beautify the area and give residents a better quality of life.

As for what this would cost, I don't even have a real estimate, but I imagine the fairgrounds alone would cost upwards of $10 billion at that point. Throw in the road reworkings and transit improvements and you're probably looking at well over $24 billion. A huge chunk of change for something that would be hugely transformational in more ways than one and leave a lasting legacy that'll be part of Kansas City's history and culture for a century to come.

Below are links to the Rome and Busan international exposition bid websites. Below these are renderings for the Minnesota fairgrounds.
https://www.expo2030busan.kr/main.do
https://expo2030roma.org/
https://www.bie-paris.org/site/en/speci ... po-2027-28
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Riverite
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by Riverite »

I love this idea! Would be great to see KC host an international expo! Would be interested to know if any of us could help as rag members
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Anthony_Hugo98
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by Anthony_Hugo98 »

I would pour my soul into this one
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by normalthings »

"The United States is banned by Congress from using public funds to take part in fairs organised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), like the six-month Expo that started in Dubai last week."
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Anthony_Hugo98
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by Anthony_Hugo98 »

normalthings wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 8:44 pm "The United States is banned by Congress from using public funds to take part in fairs organised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), like the six-month Expo that started in Dubai last week."
So privately funded? Piece of cake
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Chris Stritzel
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by Chris Stritzel »

Anthony_Hugo98 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:33 pm
normalthings wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 8:44 pm "The United States is banned by Congress from using public funds to take part in fairs organised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), like the six-month Expo that started in Dubai last week."
So privately funded? Piece of cake
Privately funded with other funds backed up by local and state governments. And besides, I wasn't expecting federal money to go towards the actual fair, I was expecting money for transit and road related enhancements. But that's only if this ever happens.
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by bspecht »

I know one of the leads for Minnesota 2027 (and 2023). It's an interesting process, but they've at least made some good ground on the political support side of things.
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Chris Stritzel
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Re: KC World's Fair

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Riverite wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:16 pm I love this idea! Would be great to see KC host an international expo! Would be interested to know if any of us could help as rag members
My only goal right now is just to have a "what if..." conversation. I know media people and local big wigs look at this forum. They could see this and at least start thinking about it in the back of their minds. If no one openly puts an idea out there, even if it is insane, then who would? I might sound crazy with my idea, but it's entirely possible for it to happen in the way I imagine it. The World Cup is the proving ground for something like this. And even though that event would be miniature compared to a World's Fair, it's success in planning and implementation would be one that could be supersized for a World's Fair. I guarantee it. But it rides on the success of the World Cup events.

My idea for the Olympics calls for a rework of the stadiums area, but that's a whole other can of worms that won't be opened right now.

KC is capable of swinging above its weight. People might feel down about some recent events here, but generally things continue looking up. Slow and steady, in addition to a constant optimism, will ultimately win the race.
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by earthling »

World's Fair has been held in similar mid-sized markets in past so is doable. Would think much of funding would come from national corporate sponsors (like Disney, Apple, Universal, and others to showcase their ideas of futurism) and they may have different ideas on where best to locate.

No reason KC couldn't pursue it. KC's got this 'little engine that could' thing going for it.
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by herrfrank »

OMG World's Fairs

This was an OBSESSION with several of our mayors over the decades, most vocally Mayor Charlie Wheeler in the 1970s. But Mayors Bartle and Berkley also toyed with this idea.

Here is a national news article from 1983...
https://www.csmonitor.com/1983/0321/032155.html
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by brewcrew1000 »

Aren't they called World's Expo's now? The worlds expo will die out sooner then later, there is no really excitement for it anymore
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by TheSmokinPun »

Yeah, something cool long ago but things have changed. Let's use the money on something else instead of one big commercial for all those private companies you mentioned.
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Chris Stritzel
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by Chris Stritzel »

Whether or not a World's Fair, or World Expo, were to happen here, the point is thinking in the long term. Preferably we'd be able to host the event and bet on 15 million+ or so visitors over 6 months. Even if not, and the plans would be made public, I still envision the grand vision at least partially being implemented. The fairgrounds just bypass the actual event they would've been designed for and become a new neighborhood that connects several existing ones, transit lines would be built (likely BRT and a light rail line or two) to connect us better, road/sidewalk improvements are made, and the city markets its brand across the nation and world.

My vision for a World's Fair here goes far beyond than an actual event. It's been the case since I first thought about it.
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by moderne »

The US does not even belong the the organization that sanctions World Fairs and no longer even participates in them overseas with pavilions.
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Chris Stritzel
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Re: KC World's Fair

Post by Chris Stritzel »

^We had a pavilion at the Dubai Expo and Clayco head Bob Clark was the ambassador for the event.
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Re: KC World's Fair

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