More than $1.8 million sent to small towns in Kansas for renovations


TOPEKA (KSNT) — A number of Kansas towns are set to get a boost for their downtowns in the form of matching grants from a new revitalization program.

The Kansas Department of Commerce recently launched the Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL) program to address issues related to the high cost of revitalization projects in small towns. Through HEAL, building owners are assisted with matching grants that cover eligible expenses as historic properties are revitalized. This program was made possible through a collaboration with the Patterson Family Foundation.

The first recipients of HEAL grants were announced on July 26. Just over $1.8 million in matching grants will be awarded to help 32 projects across Kansas.

“HEAL’s goal is to save downtown buildings and restore them as productive spaces for commercial and community use,” said Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce Toland. “Seeing our downtown neighborhoods transformed into more attractive and vibrant places to live and work, as well as creating new jobs and services for Kansans, is key to our state’s prosperity.”

Grants are divided into two funding categories: Emergency and Regular. The program is designed to transform buildings for new or expanding businesses, housing, arts and culture, child care, civic engagement or entrepreneurship.

“Vibrant town centers are important to the future prospects of small communities, so it was not difficult for us to join the Department of Commerce and its partners in funding the HEAL grants,” said Lindsey Patterson Smith, president of the Patterson Family Foundation. “HEAL grants give architecturally significant buildings new life, so they can continue to play a vital role in their communities.”

Emergency HEAL exists to help make strategic investments in buildings that are underutilized, dilapidated or in danger of collapse. Twenty-four such applications were received for this category, 10 of which are expected to receive $585,000 in matching funds. These recipients include:

  • Elmo Building, Burden – $40,000
  • Union Gas Building Renovation, Caney – $65,000
  • Pretty Boy Floyd’s Underground Restaurant and Event Venue, Ellsworth – $65,000
  • Cohn-Gardner Hill Department Store, Eudora – $65,000
  • The Eureka Project, Eureka – $41,000
  • McDonald Hall, Fort Scott – $65,000
  • Kollock and Bragunier-Otte Buildings, Peabody – $65,000
  • David Rettiger Building, Fortified City – $65,000
  • Dry Goods / Jacob Engles Restaurant and Distillery, Wellington – $64,000
  • Stiles Mortuary Building, Wilson – $50,000

A total of 220 applications were received for regular Heal grants with 22 projects receiving $1,294,715 in matching grant funds. These include:

  • The Star Block Restaurant/Retail, Osage City – $65,000
  • Restoration of 17 E. Fourth Ave. – Brewery Manufacturing, Emporia – $65,000
  • HL Hart Building Coworking & Apartment, Newton – $65,000
  • Historic Lowis Building – Nesting Expansion, Colby – $65,000
  • Atchison Riverfront Brewery Project, Atchison – $65,000
  • Letha’s, Plainville – $8,000
  • Farmer and Florist Renovation/Expansion, Marysville – $65,000
  • Weathered Wood House Store, Grover Council – $65,000
  • Matfield Green Recording Studio Gym, Matfield Green – $65,000
  • 1010 Main, Goodland – $65,000
  • 113 W. Lincoln Ave. – Fitness Center, Lincoln – $65,000
  • Bill and Essie’s BBQ LLC, Marion – $65,000
  • Farmers Union Co-op Rehabilitation – Children’s Museum, Alma – $65,000
  • Fresh Farm in Jetmore, Jetmore – $57,260
  • OmGrown Yoga & Wellness Collective, Baldwin City – $41,780
  • The Landing Restaurant & Outdoor Gathering Place, Great Bend – $43,960
  • Junction City Brewery and Restaurant, Junction City – $65,000
  • Midland Theater Front of the House & Stage Restoration, Coffeyville – $65,000
  • Marquee Performing Arts Center, Winfield – $38,715
  • Tree House of Early Learning, Independence – $65,000
  • Robin’s Nest, Minneola – $65,000

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