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From HEAL Award to Rural Champion Playbook: Lincoln County is one to Follow!

Jul 13, 2023

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Post Rock Fitness Center located in downtown Lincoln, KS

The June ORP spotlight highlighted Lincoln Kansas and its many great accomplishments we have been seeing recently!

With the recent announcement of the Spring 2023 HEAL awardees, we thought we would first highlight Post Rock Fitness LLC. This project was part of our first round of HEAL grants in February 2022 and finished in December 2022.  This is an amazing example of what the HEAL grant can help with when rehabbing a downtown building.

When the property owner purchased the building in 2019, the building had no functional bathroom or plumbing, a nearly 40-year-old marginally operational heating and air conditioning system, and a leaking roof on the back addition. At the time they applied for the HEAL grant, the building had been vacant since 2015. Known as the C.R. Building/Hundertmark’s Variety, the building is a contributing resource in Lincoln’s National Register-designated downtown historic district and individually listed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places (RHKP). All historic character on the interior was hidden underneath a drop ceiling installed in 1981, and the basement was full of 100-years’ worth of accumulated junk.  The rehab resulted in the restoration of historical details (such as the original ceiling and plaster walls) along with structural enhancements, new bathrooms, new mechanical systems (heating/air conditioning, plumbing, electrical), new flooring, and a new roof on a portion of the building. 

To say this county and the communities have been busy would be an understatement! We are excited to keep following their journey and see their great projects come to life.

Rural Champion, Sara Smith by mural in Westfall, KS

Along with the major HEAL grant project, Lincoln and all of Lincoln County have been making great strides and making their communities great places to live, work, and play! Also in 2022, the county joined the Rural Champions program, and was awarded a TEFFI: SEED grant award. Sara Smith, Rural Champion, has been hard at work at community placemaking and workforce recruitment. As part of the Rural Champions program, the champions are creating “play books” that will help other rural communities be successful in the same areas and we cannot wait to see her finished product. With the SEED award, the county is making the communities more vibrant at over 50 locations!

Follow their journey here: