Program aims to help main streets across Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A main street is the heart of many small Kansas communities, and the Department of Commerce is trying to keep downtowns alive.

The Kansas Main Street Program is helping more than two dozen communities in Kansas. It was scrapped in 2012 and is back for the first time this year.

The legislature approved $250,000 for the program this year. It was developed in the 1980s and is geared at helping communities as small as Belleville to bigger ones like Emporia and Hutchinson.

The program’s director said downtowns are a glimpse of what makes each city unique with historic buildings and core businesses lining the street.

The program helps provide city leaders to develop better organization strategies and shows them how to bring more dollars into their town. Supporters said each community is different, but a little investment can go a long way.

“Helping them figure out how to kind of spice up their retail promotions or their special events, or we can bring in an architect to help them look at their downtown buildings and make sure those buildings fit with the character and the historic flavor that they originally had, or we can bring it somebody to help them do better business recruitment,” said Scott Sewell, director for the Kansas Main Street Program.

Sewell said he hopes to expand the reach of the program and work with other agencies to get the best results.

A link to the program can be found on the Department of Commerce’s website here.

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