Governor Kelly Announces Nearly $1.4M for Rural Economic Development
Jan 24, 2024
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TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced the most recent round of award recipients for the Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL) grant program, which was created to help rural communities revitalize downtown buildings and create safer downtowns with more job opportunities. A total of 21 projects from across the state will receive almost $1.4 million, along with more than $3.4 million in private local matching funds.
“Vibrant, safe downtowns spur economic growth by attracting businesses and jobs and establishing community pride,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Investments like this bring life back into these communities and are instrumental to their long-term success.”
The Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity, Community Development Division, and Kansas Main Street collaborate on HEAL to revitalize underutilized and dilapidated downtown structures where the cost to rehabilitate exceeds the limit that conventional financing can cover. Downtown landmarks that get new life breathed into them through HEAL are transformed into spaces that serve multiple purposes. Projects are to be completed within two years.
“The Kelly administration understands that delivering prosperity to all areas of the state requires supporting the creation of ready-to-occupy spaces that have character and are efficient to operate for start-ups,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “HEAL helps drive economic growth into rural communities by improving their unique sense of place and increasing their appeal as a home of choice for current and future residents.”
Projects being funded in this round of awards include upper-story housing, child care facilities, retail businesses, and restaurants.
Funding for the HEAL program exists because of bipartisan support from Governor Kelly and the Kansas Legislature to provide annual allocations. A total of 51 applications were received during the latest HEAL grant round. A new round is expected to open this summer.
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