Governor Laura Kelly Announces Three New Openings in Program to Revitalize Downtown Corridors, Strengthen Economic Development
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced the Kansas Main Street program will be accepting applications for up to three new communities in the state interested in joining. The Main Street program – designed to develop and strengthen downtown corridors – has been a proven success for rural communities throughout the state.
“My administration re-implemented Main Street in 2019 because we are committed to providing Kansas communities with the tools and resources they need to prosper,” Governor Kelly said. “Through the program, businesses can access essential technical services, networking, and other training opportunities that will assist their efforts to recruit and retain businesses, and keep talented young professionals in the towns they grew up in. I encourage any community looking to revitalize their downtown to apply.”
During the first 27 years of this program, more than $600 million in redevelopment was invested in designated Kansas Main Street communities. During that same time, nearly 4,000 small businesses were started, creating more than 8,600 new jobs.
Communities wishing to submit applications will be required to first attend an application workshop, scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, December 10. This virtual workshop will explain the Main Street Approach, and the process for successfully completing the application. To register for this workshop, visit this link. Applications must be submitted no later than January 29, 2021, and new communities selected as part of a competitive process will be announced in mid-February.
The Kansas Main Street program, originally launched in 1985 has helped dozens of mostly rural communities work toward ensuring their downtowns remain viable. The program was ended by the Brownback administration in 2012 and brought back in late 2019 under the directive of Governor Kelly and Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers’ Office of Rural Prosperity. There currently are 25 designated Kansas Main Street communities in the program, with all participating in a competitive process to be selected for the program.
The Kansas Main Street program is a cornerstone of the Community Development Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce.
“The Main Street model works, period,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Now that Governor Kelly and the Office of Rural Prosperity have reinstated the Kansas Main Streets, our communities once again have the tools they need to breathe new life into their communities and historic commercial districts. This is a terrific opportunity for communities to change their trajectory by committing themselves to a focused effort to strengthen their downtowns.”
The Kansas Main Street program is affiliated with the National Main Street Center. Main Street is a self-help, technical assistance program that targets revitalization and preservation of downtown districts through the development of a comprehensive strategy based on four points: organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring. While there are no federal funds provided directly to Main Street communities, designated cities are eligible for training and technical assistance designed to help them become self-sufficient in downtown revitalization.
“The Main Street Approach has been around nationally since the 1980s and is a proven economic development tool, especially for small, rural communities,” said Scott Sewell, director of the Kansas Main Street program. “Opening up the program to more communities in Kansas is yet another positive step for the State of Kansas.”
For more information on the Kansas Main Street program, contact Scott Sewell, Director of Kansas Main Street, at (785) 296-7288 or [email protected].