Governor Kelly announces 18 recipients awarded $30 million in tourism grants

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced 18 recipients have been awarded $30 million in tourism...
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced 18 recipients have been awarded $30 million in tourism grants.(KWCH)
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 3:34 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced 18 recipients have been awarded $30 million in tourism grants.

Governor Kelly said the funding will be used for developing and improving tourism sites statewide. The funding was made available through the State Park Revitalization & Investment in Notable Tourism (SPRINT) program launched by the Kansas Department of Commerce earlier this year.

Governor Kelly shared a comment about the initiative.

“A thriving tourism sector is critical for the Kansas economy,” Governor Kelly said. “These grants enhance attractions that draw visitors to the state and showcase what makes Kansas a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee designated the funds while the State Finance Council approved the funding to support capital projects that spur regional economic development in the tourism industry, one of the most affected industries by COVID-19.

Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland shared a comment about the tourism grants.

“Increasing the appeal of our state parks and other tourist attractions will have a notable impact on local communities as well as the entire Kansas economy,” Lieutenant Governor Toland said. “The SPRINT awards support major projects that will attract new visitors across the state.”

Governor Kelly said visitor spending has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Senate President Ty Masterson shared a comment about SPRINT grants.

“Tourism is an important aspect of the Kansas economy, a sector in which 85,000 Kansans already are employed,” Senate President Masterson said. “From parks to other attractions, Kansas has so much to offer those traveling and seeking to learn more about our state. The SPRINT grants will help ensure they remain vibrant for decades to come.”

SPRINT applications included investments in many tourism sites and agencies. Recipients will use the funds towards infrastructure enhancements, renovation and repair of facilities, general construction, public land development, recruitment costs for permanent and semi-permanent exhibits, and costs for national museum affiliation. Awardees will have two years to complete their projects and use all awarded funds.

House Speaker Daniel Hawkins shared a comment about the SPARK committee.

“Our attractions and outdoor recreational opportunities benefit residents and visitors alike,” House Speaker Hawkins said. “The SPARK Committee wanted to enhance these sites and improve the quality of life in nearby towns and cities.”

The grantees receiving the funding include:

  • Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum
  • Azura Amphitheater
  • Boot Hill Distillery
  • Children’s Mercy Park
  • Cosmosphere, Inc.
  • Discover O.P. - 8001 Santa Fe Drive
  • Etzanoa Visitor Museum & Immersion Center
  • Historic Jayhawk Theatre
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks
  • Kansas State Fairgrounds - Capper and Fountain House Projects
  • Lindsborg Old Mill & Swedish Heritage Museum
  • Original Pony Express Home Station Inc.
  • Prairie Hill Vineyard LLC
  • The Brown Mansion
  • The Kansas African American Museum and Cultural Center
  • Wareham Wall (The Wareham Opera House)
  • Wichita Art Museum
  • Wilson Czech Opera House Corporation

For more information on SPRINT grant awardees and about the program, click HERE.