Need Business Space? The City Will Help

Looking north from First Street onto Main Street. Seven storefronts in a row are vacant.

The City of Fort Scott is working to fill the historic downtown area, through a new grant for businesses.

Incentives are in place for business owners with buildings, but a need was seen for businesses who want to lease space in the historic district.

New Business Downtown Grant

“The city has a downtown improvement grant that’s used quite a bit,” Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said. “But to fill occupancy downtown, we needed something to lease space within the historic district. So we went to BEDCO (Bourbon County Economic Development Council) with a proposal to incent new businesses to open…whether they lease or own.”

To be eligible properties must be in the downtown area and must be a new business since May 1, 2017.

The applicant may receive a one-time grant of up to $500 per each new business.

“They are going to do 10 grants a year,” Pruitt said.

BEDCO has dedicated $5,000 a year for this program and will evaluate it on an annual basis to see if changes are needed.

Applications can be submitted online to [email protected] or in person at city hall, 123 S. Main. After review, the applicant will be notified within 30 days.

Pictured below are some of the Main Street and Wall Street properties that are vacant in the historic district of Fort Scott.

The Downtown Building Improvement Grant, a previous city improvement grant, is an incentive to help owners with the financial burden of maintaining and improving structures in the downtown historic district.

To be eligible for this grant all taxes, fees and other debts owed to the city need to be up-to-date. Grants will be made for a maximum of two buildings calendar year, per owner.

Improvements can include: electrical, plumbing, windows, doors, heating/air conditioning, historic renovation and rehabilitation, safety, energy efficiency, structural, code footprint or building inspections.

Grant monies will fund 50 percent of a qualifying improvement project, up to the amount of a building’s current annual property tax, with funding at 100 percent for building inspection or code footprint costs.

The grant needs to be applied for before any construction begins.

If successful, the improvement project must start within 30 days and be completed within 12 months of the grant pre-approval date.

When completed, grant money will be disbursed to the grant applicant.

For more information contact the city at (620) 223-0550 or Pruitt at [email protected].

All but two businesses on the west side of Main Street between Wall and First Street are vacant.

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