Kansas City SkylineIf you signed up for dine-around tonight (and that’s pretty much everybody), you’re likely enjoying a restaurant in the Kansas City Power & Light District or going near Union Station. Either way, you’ll get a glimpse of local history transformed into modern attractions.

The Power & Light District, its website says, is “a vibrant nine-block dining, shopping, office, entertainment and lifestyle neighborhood that since opening in 2008, provides world-class dining, award-winning entertainment, and luxurious services to guests, visitors and residents.”

The $850 million mixed-use district welcomed more than 95 million visitors in its first decade and has helped revitalize downtown Kansas City.

The district was named after the Kansas City Power and Light Building, an art deco skyscraper and Kansas City landmark since 1931. Construction began in 2004, and the first restaurant, McFadden’s Sports Saloon, opened in 2007. Today it’s a mix of all kinds of restaurants, nightclubs, markets, theaters, apartments and working spaces.

Built in 1914, Union Station once served thousands of passengers each year as a working railroad station. During World War II, an estimated one million travelers, many of them soldiers, passed through the station. It also was home to the nation’s largest Railway Express Building (used for shipping freight and mail) as well as a powerhouse providing steam and power.

Closed in the 1980s, the station sat neglected and narrowly escaped demolition until 1996, when funds were approved for its renovation. It reopened three years later. Today its Grand Hall draws visitors to see its 95-foot ceiling, three 3,500-pound chandeliers and the 6-foot-wide clock. Visitors will find a theater, planetarium, museum and more.

And yep, you can still catch an Amtrak train and hit the rails across the country.

Look for more blogs from IABC Southern Region Vice President for Region Development John Harris during #connect2comms.