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Kansas Main Street to accept three new communities to downtown revitalization project

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FILE(Kansas Main Street Program)
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:25 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Main Street Program will accept three new communities to bring onboard its downtown revitalization project.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says plans to expand the Kansas Main Street Program with three more communities will happen over the winter.

“When our main street businesses succeed, our whole economy succeeds,” said Gov. Kelly. “That’s why my administration restarted the Kansas Main Street Program in 2019 – to help our communities reinvest in our small businesses, recruit new families to our state, and grow our economy. The expansion of the program is further proof of its success, and I look forward to welcoming three additional communities this winter.”

First launched in 1985, Gov. Kelly said Kansas Main Street has helped dozens of mostly rural communities work to ensure the viability of their downtown districts. During the first 27 years of the program, she said over $600 million in redevelopment was invested in communities throughout the state. During that time almost 4,000 businesses were started which created over 8,600 new jobs.

Gov. Kelly said the program was closed by the Brownback Administration in 2012 and brought back in late 2019 under her order.

“Quality of life is key to the Kelly Administration’s economic development efforts, and we know vibrant downtowns are a key indicator of community’s overall health,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Since Governor Kelly brought the state Main Street program back, Kansas communities once again have the resources and tools they need to breathe new life into their communities and historic commercial districts.”

Earlier in 2021, Gov. Kelly announced the addition of Atchison, Baldwin City and Junction City, which brought the total number of designated communities to 28. She said the program will now add up to three more communities that will be eligible for training and technical assistance to help them become self-sufficient in downtown revitalization through a competitive application process.

Gov. Kelly said the process to become a Main Street community will start on Dec. 1, when online applications become available. Those applications will be due on Jan. 31, 2022, and new communities will be announced in mid-February.

“The Main Street Approach has been around nationally since the 1980s and is a proven economic development tool, especially for small, rural communities,” Scott Sewell, director of the Kansas Main Street program, said. “Opening up the program to more communities in Kansas is yet another positive step forward for our state.”

Gov. Kelly said Kansas Main Street will host a workshop for any community interested in learning how to become a designated member of the downtown revitalization program. She said the Kansas Department of Commerce will host the virtual application workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m.

Gov Kelly said communities that wish to submit applications will be required to first attend the virtual application workshop which will explain the Main Street Approach and the process for successfully completing the application.

To register for the application workshop, click HERE.

For more information about Kansas Main Street, click HERE.

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