Interview: Missy Kelley Shares What’s In Store For Downtown

 Missy Kelley, the new president of Downtown STL, Inc., shares her vision for the neighborhood.


Photo by Matt Kile.

What are you immediate priorities for Downtown? My immediate priorities are to focus on three things: Supporting the innovation culture and success that’s taken place in Downtown over the last few years and helping that grow. We want to support innovators from several perspectives. One [is] infrastructure—making sure we have the services and the amenities people need Downtown, like high- speed internet in buildings and public Wi-Fi in some cases.

Another thing is safety, and that includes lighting for streets and sidewalks, as well as any technology infrastructure that’s supportive of the police, like cameras.

Finally, our third big priority for the next 12-18 months is community-building. That’s really important to many aspects of an urban core, including safety. People who are in the startup scene really feed off of that sense of community with one another and the energy that it creates is so exciting to people not even in that area. Many empty- nesters are drawn to the energy that is fostered by that young, driven, creative set in an urban core, so we want to help connect those dots.

You served as Downtown STL, INC.’s COO for 20 months before taking over as CEO. How does our past experience with Downtown STL inform your approach? What I have found is that there are so many really good ideas and so many opportunities to improve and build upon the great successes that have taken place Downtown over the last decade. But we can’t do all of them. Our organization and our members are probably best served if we narrow that focus and really get something accomplished, start to finish.

This story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue.

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