Grants available to preserve historic sites in Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Some historic sites in Kansas will be getting thousands of dollars in federal funding.

The Kansas Historical Society will be distributing $500,000 from the National Park Service’s Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program. It will be used to preserve buildings, structures and sites for years to come.

It will head to some of the nearly 1,500 national historic sites in the state. The money will be focused in communities of less than 30,000 people to help with rural revitalization by preserving important places.

“They are the authentic, tangible connection with our past,” said Katrina Ringler, preservation office supervisor for the Kansas Historical Society.

“Maybe there’s a hole in the roof, or the windows are falling out, or the masonry is falling off. Trying to focus those grant dollars on the most urgent projects,” she said.

Money could go toward barns, city halls, courthouses and downtown districts. Emporia Main Street is applying for grants.

“Finding ways to adaptively reuse those architectural styles for today’s customers, today’s businesses, today’s living environments, so people can experience that history,” said Casey Woods, executive director for Emporia Main Street.

He said a thriving downtown is critical to attract entrepreneurs and grow the city’s economy. He said the multi-purpose uses of old buildings are attractive options to people and businesses.

“You have some architectural details that make downtowns cool to redevelop,” said Woods.

Ringler said its important to maintain the state’s history.

“When you can walk up and touch an actual historic building or walk through the rooms, it kind of shows you what people went through in the past and what our connection is to the past,” said Ringler.

“We do need representative examples of all different time periods, and different communities, and different ethnic groups, and different aspects of history,” she said.

Historic sites have until March to apply, with grants going out in May. You can apply here.

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