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Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL)

Realizing the need to rehabilitate downtown buildings with funding that can be disbursed quickly and efficiently, the Kansas Department of Commerce has partnered with the Patterson Family Foundation to create the Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL) program.

The spring 2023 HEAL round will open February 13 and close March 31. An informational webinar will be offered via Zoom at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 2

Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced a third round of Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL) grants intended for revitalizing downtown buildings across the state, in partnership with the Patterson Family Foundation. Currently, a total of $850,000 in funding will be available for this HEAL grant round.

The HEAL program is designed to bring downtown buildings back into productive use as spaces for:

  • New or expanding businesses
  • Housing
  • Arts and culture
  • Civic engagement
  • Childcare
  • Entrepreneurship

Projects submitted must show potential as economic drivers in the community.

Register for the HEAL Webinar

HEAL provides matching grant funds to assist communities in revitalizing underutilized, vacant, or dilapidated downtown buildings through a competitive grant. The amount of funding currently available will be $850,000. The grants are intended to bring buildings back into productive use as spaces for new or expanding businesses, childcare, housing, arts and culture, civic engagement, or entrepreneurship. 

Spring 2023 HEAL Informational Webinar

Feb 2, 2023 11:00 AM in Central Time (US and Canada)

About HEAL

The need for continued assistance with these building improvement projects is great. During the first round of HEAL, more than 240 applications were received requesting nearly $14 million in funding. A total of $1,869,715 was awarded to 32 projects. HEAL is clearly an important grant program in helping communities in their downtown and community development efforts.

HEAL provides matching grant funds to assist communities in revitalizing underutilized, vacant, or dilapidated downtown buildings through a competitive grant. The amount of funding currently available is $850,000. The grants are intended to bring buildings back into productive use as spaces for new or expanding businesses, childcare, housing, arts and culture, civic engagement, or entrepreneurship. 

The two funding categories are building or façade-only and organizations can apply for both, but only one grant will be awarded per community. Downtown disinvestment has made it difficult to preserve significant architectural resources and sustain economic vitality. Facade improvements can preserve valuable historic resources in rural communities and spur economic growth by improving access and use for current times.

NOTE: Unlike the previous versions of HEAL, this round will require a local organization to apply on behalf of a building owner. See the list for eligible applicants.

“The first round of the HEAL program assisted with the revitalization of 32 buildings across the state. The need for this program was great, with more than 200 applications received and considered for funding. Thanks to our strong partnership with the Patterson Family Foundation, we are able to offer another round of the HEAL program – and create new jobs and services for Kansans.”

Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland

HEAL Program Information

Purpose

The HEAL program was created to preserve and bring new economic activity to underutilized, vacant, or dilapidated downtown buildings in rural Kansas. Building grants are intended to bring buildings back into productive use as spaces for new or expanding businesses, childcare, housing, arts and culture, civic engagement, or entrepreneurship. Façade grants are intended to rehabilitate the façade or street view of downtown buildings in need of repair to stimulate economic growth and reinvestment in the downtown district. The building in need of façade rehabilitation should either have a tenant or be tenant-ready.

Eligible Applicants

Nonprofit or local government organizations applying on behalf of building owners of underutilized, vacant, or dilapidated downtown buildings or those needing façade improvements are eligible applicants for the HEAL program.

Project Eligibility Requirements
  • Properties must be in cities with a population of less than 50,000.
  • Properties must be in the downtown business district or corridor and hold architectural significance for the district.
  • Projects must show potential for reuse and revitalization as economic drivers in the community.
  • The awarded project may include funding from any state or federal source if there is no duplication of benefit. Examples include Community Development Block Grant, USDA Rural Development, State Historic Preservation Office programs or local Network Kansas programs.
  • Projects must incorporate Main Street Design Standards and follow local ordinances and code for rehab/construction/façade improvements.
  • Award recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Projects must begin construction no later than September 1, 2023 with construction complete by May 1, 2025 with a tenant in place by August 31, 2025.
    • NOTE: Site cleanup, removal of debris, and demolition do not qualify as construction. Tenant must be leasing the space.  
  • No more than one HEAL grant may be awarded to any city.
  • Previously awarded HEAL (Emergency HEAL or regular HEAL) projects and cities are not eligible to apply for HEAL.
  • Work must not begin before the award of the grant except for removal of façade slipcovers such as metal, stucco, tiles, stone veneer.
  • Work previously completed is not eligible for this grant program.
Best Practices
  • Projects are encouraged to follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm
  • Projects are also encouraged to use best preservation practices as outlined in the Preservation Briefs of the NPS.   https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm
  • Projects that are on the State or National Register of Historic Places or contributing buildings in a Historic District must follow these standard and best practices guidelines and receive appropriate state approvals before beginning work.
Required Supporting Materials with the Application
  • Preliminary architectural drawings, including plans and elevations are required to support the scope of work.  Color renderings are required if work is being done to the street facing façade(s). Written contractor quotes are sufficient for projects that do not require architectural drawings such as roofing.
  • Pro-forma and business plan for building use.
  • A 1:1 match minimum and proof of matching funds from the building owner.
  • A letter signed by both organization and the building owner that confirms commitment by both parties to the project.
Eligible Building Grant Project Expenses

Masonry, insulation, foundations, roofs and guttering, fire stairs, windows, doors, chimneys, walls, ceilings, floors, interior stairs, elevators, lighting and fixtures, electrical wiring, data and communication, wiring (not including equipment), HVAC systems and components, plumbing systems, fire suppression sprinkler systems, and ADA accessibility solutions. This list is not exhaustive. Project expenses not listed here are at the discretion of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce for eligibility under the grant. Up to 5% of the grant award may be retained by the organization for administration.

Ineligible Building Grant Project Expenses

Professional services (architect and engineering fees), acquisition costs, or leasing contracts. This list is not exhaustive. Grant funds are to be utilized for the physical construction of the project.

Building Grant Award Amount

$20 per square foot of the building area, not to exceed $75,000.

Eligible Façade Grant Project Expenses

Masonry, windows, storefronts, cornices, doors, awnings, ADA accessibility solutions. Removal of façade slipcovers such as metal, stucco, tiles, or stone veneer must be performed before applying for a façade grant. This list is not exhaustive. Project expenses not listed here are at the discretion of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce for eligibility under the grant. Up to 5% of the grant award may be retained by the organization for administration.

Ineligible Façade Grant Project Expenses

Professional services (architect and engineering fees) and slipcover removal such as metal, stucco, tiles, or stone veneer – this should be finished prior to applying for a façade grant. This list is not exhaustive. Grant funds are to be utilized for the physical construction of the project.

Facade Grant Award Amount

$20 per square foot of the building area, not to exceed $25,000.

Application Dates and Funding Available

Spring round: Opens February 13 and closes March 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM. Award notifications by late May. Funding Available: $850,000

Award and Reporting Information

Awarded projects will be funded on the following schedule with the corresponding project milestones and deadlines:

  • 50% of the grant when proof of commencement of construction is verified. Site visit required. Deadline: September 1, 2023.

NOTE: Site cleanup, removal of debris, and demolition do not qualify as construction.

  • 25% of the grant when 50% construction completion has been verified. Site visit required. Deadline: June 1, 2024
  • 25% of the grant when 75% construction completion has been verified. Site visit required. Deadline: September 1, 2024
  • 100% construction completion has been verified. Site visit required. Deadline May 1, 2025

Projects that complete milestones ahead of deadlines will receive award payments once project updates, appropriate documentation, verification, and a site visit can be completed. The purpose of this funding mechanism is to ensure rapid progress to rehabilitate these buildings and provide assurance for local financial partners. 

Progress will be evaluated through monthly project updates completed by the applicant, fiscal reports in June and December completed by the applicant, and site visits with Commerce throughout the project. These are all required to keep projects moving forward, resolve challenges as they arise, and ensure successful completion of the project.

HEAL Program Timeline

February 13, 2023Application Publishes
March 31, 2023Application Closes at 11:59 PM
Week of May 27, 2023Public announcement of awards
June – August 2023Initial site visits
September 1, 2023Deadline for Construction to Begin (50% payment)
December 2023Fiscal Report Due
June 1, 2024Deadline for 50% of Construction Completed (25% payment)
June 2024Fiscal Report Due
September 1, 2024Deadline for 75% of Construction Completed (Final Payment)
May 1, 2025100% Construction Completion Deadline
June 2025Fiscal Report Due
August 2025Final Site Visit, Final Fiscal and Project Reports
August 31, 2025Tenant in Building

HEAL Resources

HEAL Frequently Asked Questions

Who applies for the grant?

The grant application must be made by a local or county organization on behalf of the building’s owner. Eligible applicants include Designated Kansas Main Street Programs, Economic Development Corporations, City or County Government, 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 organizations and Community Foundations.

Will property owners be able to apply on their own?

No. The application must come from an eligible organization with the support of the property owner.

Are the organizations that apply required to financially contribute to the project?

No. Applicant organizations are required to endorse the project, but they are not financially obligated to contribute to the project.

Is there a population requirement for applicants?

Yes. Projects must be in cities with a population of fewer than 50,000 people. Of the 729 cities in Kansas, 720 meet this threshold.

Is the project required to be in a specific area of the community?

Yes. Projects must be located in the downtown business district or a connecting corridor. If you are uncertain if your project is within your downtown, please email [email protected]

Once the building is rehabilitated is it required that a viable business will be occupying the space?

Yes. The intent of making these building improvements is so a viable business can utilize the newly renovated space. This can be an existing business or a brand-new business. Part of the application must include a pro-forma/financial plan and a business plan.

If I have received other federal or state funding for this project—ARPA, SPARK, USDA, CDBG, SHPO, etc.—can those be applied as a match?

Yes, as long as the requirements of the other funds allow for HEAL funds to be added to the project.

What are my chances of receiving this grant?

That is difficult to answer, but these are competitive grants. During the first round of HEAL funding, more than 240 applications were submitted requesting nearly $14 million funding. A team at the Department of Commerce will carefully review and score each application based on merit, project eligibility and need.

How much can I receive for my project?

The maximum Building Grant Award Amount is $20 per square foot of the building area, not to exceed $75,000. The maximum Facade Grant Award Amount is $20 per square foot of the façade area, not to exceed $25,000.

I received an Emergency HEAL grant (or regular HEAL grant) the last time around? Can I apply this round?

No. Applications will not be accepted for projects in communities that received Emergency or Regular HEAL grants in the last round.

Can I apply for more than one project in my downtown?

Yes, but only one project will be eligible to receive funding per community. We encourage you to work with business and property owners to prioritize projects and focus on those that have the capacity to meet the grant requirements and the timeline for completion.

I have one property owner in my downtown that owns several contiguous buildings and needs funding for one project for all of these buildings. Is that an eligible project?

Yes. If one person has three buildings that are connected and that project includes all three of those buildings, that is an eligible use, up to the $75,000 maximum.

I have already started my project. Is it eligible for a HEAL grant?

No, projects must be ready to execute quickly, but must begin construction after the award of the grant.

Does my project have to follow any Design Standards?

Projects must incorporate Main Street Design Standards. Projects must also follow state or local ordinances and code for rehab/construction/façade improvements.

Does my project have to follow any Preservation Standards?

Projects are encouraged to follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm

Projects are also encouraged to use best preservation practices as outlined in the Preservation Briefs of the National Park Service.

https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm

Projects that are on the State or National Register of Historic Places or contributing buildings in a State or National Register Historic District MUST follow these standards and best practice guidelines and receive appropriate state approvals with the Kansas State Historical Society office before beginning work.

Main Street Design Standards
Sample Budget
Program Inquiries

HEAL is a collaboration of

Kansas Main Street
Community Service Tax Credits
Community Development Block Grants