Kansas Main Street

Empowering Downtowns

What is Kansas Main Street?

Main Street is a self-help, technical assistance program that targets revitalization and preservation of downtown districts through the development of a comprehensive strategy.

The program has a long history of success throughout the United States and in Kansas. What started as a small pilot program in the late 1970s has now grown to include nearly 2,000 communities in more than 40 states. Throughout the country, communities have utilized the Main Street ApproachTM to rally residents around a focused plan of action that transforms their community and enhances their quality of life.

Our Four Point Strategy

Economic Vitality

Design

Promotion

Organization

Designated Communities

To become a Designated Kansas Main Street community, registrants must participate in a competitive, annual application process. This process includes attending our Application Workshop and attaining recommendation by the Review Team based on their evaluation of a community’s capacity to achieve success. The completed application must demonstrate:

  • Public and private support for the program, as well as the capability of the applicant to successfully implement the local Main Street program.
  • Financial capability to employ a paid professional director, fund a local Main Street Program, and support downtown-related projects.
  • A cohesive and distinct variety of business activity conducted in a proposed Main Street Program area. 
  • An interest in, and commitment to, historic preservation, specifically in the designated downtown district.

Once selected, Designated Communities receive:

  • Comprehensive technical assistance in all areas of the Main Street Approach designed to further economic development downtown.
  • Training in strategic planning, program capacity building, and organizational management for the Main Street organization.
  • Individualized training for Main Street managers, boards, and other Main Street participants.
  • Attendance to statewide, Main Street-specific, quarterly trainings and professional development opportunities for participant communities.
  • Access to design services on an as-needed basis to help downtown property owners undertake effective rehabilitation, restoration, adaptive re-use, and infill projects, as well as the reimagining of public spaces within the district.  
  • Access to state and national grant funds (when available).
  • Membership to the Main Street America network.
  • At least one paid registration to participate in the annual Main Street America national conference.

To learn more about how to become a Designated Kansas Main Street Community and what that entails, contact our staff below.

Affiliate Communities

To expand the program’s reach and bring similar revitalization tools to more communities, the Affiliate Community program has been created. Participation as an Affiliate Community costs $400 annually, and it allows members to send up to four people to the same quarterly trainings offered to Designated Kansas Main Street communities. Anyone—including individuals, businesses, and civic organizations—may join the Affiliate Program.

Track Record of Success in Kansas

From 1985 to 2012, more than $600 million in redevelopment took place in participating Kansas communities. This included the opening or expansion of 3,800 small businesses, creating more than 8,600 new jobs. With the return of the state program in 2020, 25 previously participating communities and new programs will once again have the resources and tools they need to breathe new life into their communities and historic commercial districts.

Kansas Main Street is Back

Designated Kansas Main Street Programs

Want to Learn More About Community Development Programs?

CONTACT

Shelley Paasch, Business Specialist

(785) 276-9995

Shelley.Paasch@ks.gov

CONTACT

Scott Sewell, Main Street Program Director

(785) 296-7288

Scott.Sewell@ks.gov

In Partnership with the Office of Rural Prosperity.