Oct 22, 2021

Three Kansas Main Street towns to be added through competitive process

Posted Oct 22, 2021 10:01 AM

Office of Governor

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced plans to expand the Kansas Main Street Program by up to three additional communities this Winter.   

Phillipsburg, Russell and Hoisington are current members of the program. 

“When our main street businesses succeed, our whole economy succeeds,” said Governor 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.”

Originally launched in 1985, Kansas Main Street has helped dozens of mostly rural communities work toward ensuring the viability of their downtown districts. During the first 27 years of the Kansas Main Street program, more than $600 million in redevelopment was invested in designated Main Street communities statewide. During that same time nearly 4,000 small businesses were started, creating over 8,600 new jobs. 

The program was closed by the Brownback administration in 2012 and brought back in late 2019 under the directive of Governor Kelly and former Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers’ Office of Rural Prosperity.

“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 this year, the governor announced the addition of Atchison, Baldwin City and Junction City, which brought the total number of designated Main Street communities in Kansas to 28. The program will now add up to three more designated communities, which are eligible for training and technical assistance designed to help them become self-sufficient in downtown revitalization, through a competitive application process.

The competitive process to become a Main Street community will begin on December 1, 2021, when online applications will be available. Those applications will be due no later than January 31, 2022, and the 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.”

Kansas Main Street has planned a workshop for any community interested in learning how to become a designated member of the downtown revitalization program.

The Kansas Department of Commerce will host the virtual application workshop at 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 27. Communities wishing 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 this workshop, visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lcu6vqzsuGNankK3ABKquNgKZXt-B3jjp

The Kansas Main Street program targets preservation and revitalization of downtown districts through the development of a comprehensive strategy based on the four points of Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Restructuring. See more details of current Kansas Main Street membership here: https://www.kansascommerce.gov/program/community-programs/main-street/

For more information on the Kansas Main Street program, contact Scott Sewell, Director of Kansas Main Street, at (785) 296-7288, or [email protected].