TOPEKA (KSNT) – A number of Kansas towns are set to receive a boost to their downtown areas 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 the issues surrounding the high cost of revitalization projects in small towns. Through HEAL, building owners are assisted through 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 inaugural HEAL grant recipients were announced on July 26. A little over $1.8 million in matching grants will be awarded to help 32 projects across Kansas.

“The goal of the HEAL is to rescue downtown buildings and restore them as productive spaces for business and community use,” said Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary Toland. “Seeing our downtown districts turned into more attractive and vibrant places to live and work, along with creating new jobs and services for Kansans, is key to our state’s prosperity.”

The 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, childcare, civic engagement or entrepreneurship.

“Vibrant downtown areas are important to the future prospects of smaller communities, so it was not a difficult decision for us to join the Department of Commerce and its partners in funding HEAL grants,” said Lindsey Patterson Smith, President of the Patterson Family Foundation. “HEAL grants give architecturally significant buildings a new lease on life, so they can continue to play vital roles in their communities.”

Emergency HEAL exists to help make strategic investments in underutilized, dilapidated or buildings in danger of collapse. Twenty-four such applications were received for this category with 10 set 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, Strong City – $65,000
  • Jacob Engles Dry Goods/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 & Florist Renovation/Expansion, Marysville – $65,000
  • Weathered Wood Home Store, Council Grover – $65,000
  • The Gym at Matfield Green Recording Studio, 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 Rehab-Children’s Museum, Alma – $65,000
  • Farmhouse Fresh 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 & 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