Urban Core Group celebrates 20 years of “adult field trips”

Long-time members of the Urban Core Group Butch Rigby, Bob Mayer and Christina Boveri celebrating the group's 20th anniversary.

Long-time members of the Urban Core Group Butch Rigby, Bob Mayer and Christina Boveri celebrating the group’s 20th anniversary.

Bob Mayer has been involved with the Urban Core Group for twenty years, and it has taken him all over Kansas City to meet all sorts of people.  As the group prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary, long-time members came together at the Weinberger Fine Art, 114 Southwest Boulevard, to look back at what the group has meant to them.

Among networking groups, this one has a unique focus. The founders, including Mayer, Marion Wheeler, and Ray Braswell, wanted to highlight “what is hip and cool in Kansas City,” Mayer says.

So for two decades, group members have made what they jokingly refer to as “adult field trips” to different parts of Kansas City. These meetings in small business spaces, redeveloped buildings and barely-discovered parts of town offer a chance for people with an interest in urban issues to network.

Mayer says it has also afforded a chance “to see opportunity before it happened.”

Christina Boveri, a downtown realtor who has been active in the group almost since its start, says the Urban Core Group is about “bringing people together and making things happen.” And as they’ve met, the group has been at the front end of changes in the Crossroads, West Bottoms and downtown.

“It has been about educating the metro area about how to be an urban area,” says Butch Rigby, another long-time member. When he developed his first building almost two decades ago, the Urban Core group met there and brought 400 like-minded folks to cheer on his efforts.

Since then, he’s been able to offer his encouragement to newer small businesses as the Urban Core group drops into their space.

In the end, maybe the value of the group has been finding people with a similar vision of how Kansas City could be. That how’s Frankie Bellucci, a member for 20 years, see it.

“I’ve done a little bit of business, but I have made more friends.”


  • The official celebration of the Urban Core Group’s 20th Anniversary: on September 23, 2015 at Weinberger Fine Art at 114 Southwest Blvd. from 5:30 – 9:30. More 


One Comment

  1. Bob Mayer says:

    Nicely done, Mary Jo.

    Thanks for highlighting the 20 years of the Urban Core Group!

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