TOPEKA (KSNT)- Kansas is investing millions of dollars in historic landmarks, wineries and theaters to boost tourism spots in the state.
The Kansas Department of Commerce has awarded $30 million in grants to 18 tourist spots in the state. The money was made available through the State Park Revitalization & Investment in Notable Tourism (SPRINT) program launched by the Department of Commerce earlier this year.
“A thriving tourism sector is critical for the Kansas economy,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “These grants enhance attractions that draw visitors to the state and showcase what makes Kansas a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
The funds were designated by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee and approved by the State Finance Council to support capital projects that spur regional economic development in the tourism industry, one of the most affected industries by COVID-19.
Some of the recipients are receiving awards in the millions of dollars. That includes the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, which is set to receive $10 million. Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Atchison, Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City and Historic Jayhawk Theater in Topeka, will each receive $5 million. Azura Ampitheater in Bonner Springs, and the Kansas African American Museum and Cultural Center in Wichita, will each receive $1 million.
“Increasing the appeal of our state parks and other tourist attractions will have a notable impact on local communities as well as the entire Kansas economy,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The SPRINT awards support major projects that will attract new visitors across the state.”
Visitor spending, which generates a total annual economic impact of $11.2 billion in Kansas, has yet to return fully to pre-pandemic levels.
“Tourism is an important aspect of the Kansas economy, a sector in which 85,000 Kansans already are employed,” Senate President Ty Masterson said. “From parks to other attractions, Kansas has so much to offer those traveling and seeking to learn more about our state. The SPRINT grants will help ensure they remain vibrant for decades to come.”
SPRINT applications included investments in state parks, museums, convention and visitor bureaus, conference centers, performing arts centers, entertainment venues and other tourism-focused businesses and tourism agencies. Recipients will use funds towards infrastructure enhancements, renovation and repair of facilities, general construction, public land development, recruitment costs for permanent and semi-permanent exhibits and costs for national museum affiliation. Awardees will have two years to complete their projects and utilize all awarded funds.
“Our attractions and outdoor recreational opportunities benefit residents and visitors alike,” House Speaker Daniel Hawkins said. “The SPARK Committee wanted to enhance these sites and improve the quality of life in nearby towns and cities.”
|Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks||Statewide||$10,000,000|
|Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum||Atchison||$5,000,000|
|Children’s Mercy Park||Kansas City||$5,000,000|
|Historic Jayhawk Theatre||Topeka||$5,000,000|
|Azura Amphitheater||Bonner Springs||$1,000,000|
|The Kansas African American Museum and Cultural Center||Wichita||$1,000,000|
|Etzanoa Visitor Museum & Immersion Center||Arkansas City||$500,000|
|Kansas State Fairgrounds – Capper and Fountain House Projects||Hutchinson||$450,000|
|Lindsborg Old Mill & Swedish Heritage Museum||Lindsborg||$250,000|
|Wareham Hall (The Wareham Opera House)||Manhattan||$250,000|
|Wichita Art Museum||Wichita||$250,000|
|Boot Hill Distillery||Dodge City||$100,000|
|Discover O.P.||Overland Park||$100,000|
|Original Pony Express Home Station Inc||Marysville||$100,000|
|Prairie Hill Vineyard LLC||Colwich||$100,000|
|The Brown Mansion||Coffeyville||$100,000|
|Wilson Czech Opera House Corporation||Wilson||$100,000|
For more information on the program, click here.