After a banner year, Kansas City’s riverfront ready for more growth, Port KC leader says


Rendition of KC NWSL stadium courtesy KC NWSL

For Port KC CEO Jon Stephens, coming out of 2021 and into 2022, the central theme is optimism.

Though, Stephens would say it is connections and logistics, when he sat down with the Kansas City Business Journal this week to talk all things Port KC, he said the word “optimism” more times than he likely realizes.

The past year was a banner one for the organization formerly known as the Port Authority of Kansas City, with huge announcements under its belt: the KC Current stadium project; the streetcar line being fully funded for expansion to the riverfront; and upon his visit, President Joe Biden declaring Kansas City as the fastest-growing port in the Midwest.

Yet Stephens, whose work is seemingly never done, remains optimistic about the future.

“We’re poised to continue to see growth, and we’ve got to accommodate that and see some investment there,” Stephens said. “I know that the big coastal ports are going to get billions, but Kansas City needs millions if we’re going to continue grow in the region. It’s not exciting and noticeable to most people, but it’s a really big deal.”

With a number of investments and projects underway, Stephens said he is proud of the work Port KC has done on the reclamation and revitalization of the riverfront.

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