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Governor Kelly Announces $10M for Broadband Projects in Rural Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced today that $10 million has been awarded to 12 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the latest round of Broadband Acceleration Grants. The awards will be paired with an additional $12.7 million in matching funds, resulting in an investment of nearly $22.7 million for high-speed broadband access projects across 14 rural Kansas counties. Kansas Tourism, Visit Wichita Partnering to Host 2025 TBEX Summit Kansas Tourism and Visit Wichita are proud to announce Wichita as the host city for the Travel Blogger Exchange (TBEX) Summit on October 1-4, 2025. This esteemed event will bring together leading travel bloggers, influencers, journalists, content creators and tourism industry professionals from around the globe to explore and enjoy the heart of the country. Commerce Launches Statewide Exporters Roundtable Series he International Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce today announced it will begin a monthly Kansas Exporters Roundtable series in July. With three-quarters of potential customers located outside of the United States, Commerce will visit 12 cities across the state and offer assistance for small- to medium-sized Kansas companies. Kansas Launches National Campaign to Attract and Retain Talent Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland, alongside leaders from across the state, today unveiled Love, Kansas, a dynamic talent attraction campaign aimed at boosting Kansas’ population by inviting past residents to choose the Sunflower State as their future home. This national marketing initiative will highlight Kansas as an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family, with a special emphasis on “boomerangs” – individuals with previous ties to the state. View All

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Rural Champions | Placemaking and Recruitment

Revitalizing communities through placemaking is a trend sweeping through rural communities. As communities begin to invest in themselves and build energy around beautification projects, people will see that it is a place where they want to live and be involved.

Lincoln County Placemaking

Project Background

The project aims to advance Placemaking and Beautification Projects in Lincoln County, utilizing various funding sources, including a SEED grant, to enhance downtown areas across all communities in preparation for the 2024 Big Kansas Road Trip, with the Rural Champion facilitating the completion of long-pending projects in preliminary planning stages.

Steps to Success


The project’s success relies on broad community involvement, facilitated by building a diverse committee and utilizing effective communication channels. Strategic planning, outreach efforts and meaningful roles for all participants, including creative solutions for limitations, were crucial in achieving success.

Solutions

To progress, the community fostered love for the project, showcased transformations through pictures and strategically worked during high-traffic times to engage volunteers and accelerate the revitalization. A Strategic Economic Expansion and Development (SEED) grant supported multiple mural projects, demonstrating pride, boosting morale, and inspiring further improvements in the downtown area.

Resources Identified

The resources for the project include (SEED) grant funding covering paint and supplies, Rural Champion grant funding for organizing man-hours, and additional community funds allocated for specific projects. Local hardware shops played a crucial role by supplying materials, and partnerships with community leaders were instrumental in identifying needs and connecting various networks of people for success.

Meet the Rural Champion

Lincoln County Champion – Sara Smith

The Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) sought a Rural Champion to spearhead several initiatives around the “Communities of the Future” theme highlighted in the 2021 Kansas “Power Up & Go” report written by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. In that report, a Community of the Future is one where new residents are welcomed, existing residents are engaged, the arts are supported and creative local projects reflect the vibe of a community.

The Rural Champion will not only build our capacity but also renew our collective energy to launch several key initiatives. Two of those are: 1) Remote Work Relocation Grant Program – The LCEDF has approved the creation of a program similar to Tulsa Remote or Choose Topeka to offer relocation grants to remote workers who move from out-of-state to Lincoln County. The Rural Champion will be the local friendly-face to correspond with potential applicants, provide community information, answer questions, and generally be a ‘concierge’ that helps a mover feel welcome and excited about their move and their future.2) Placemaking and Beautification Projects – The LCEDF has had several projects stuck in preliminary planning stages for several years and the Rural Champion will help push these forward to completion. With the help of several funding sources including a SEED grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, we will take on downtown beautification projects in every community in the county. By the end of 2023 and early 2024, we want visitors to feel a fresh and unique vibe to Lincoln County.

Follow and support this project

Lincoln County Recruitment

Project Background

The primary goals of the recruitment portion of the Rural Champion project is to support success in bringing at least five new families to Lincoln County, and have these families spread the word that Kansas is the place to live.

Steps to Success

Lincoln County, led by the Chamber office and the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF), engaged in diverse marketing initiatives to attract new residents, including a partnership with MakeMyMove for remote work opportunities and the creation of a tailored website. To enhance advertising efforts, outsourcing was considered successful, and the project focused on framing Lincoln’s appealing aspects while offering a flexible array of incentives to ease community participation.

Solutions

The project initially faced budgetary constraints and the challenge of gaining board support, requiring the presentation of compelling statistics and testimonials from community beneficiaries to illustrate positive impact. Additionally, recent county residents within the last five years received incentives, thanks to a local business owner’s willingness to extend their offer for that specific timeline.

Resources Identified

The MakeMyMove initiative secured funding from LCEDF’s general funds and a $20,000 grant from NWKEICI, positioning it as a unique pilot project. In addition, the community’s list of incentives, ranging from tax waivers to local experiences, serves as a crucial non-financial resource to showcase community support.

Meet the Rural Champion

Lincoln County Champion – Sara Smith

The Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) sought a Rural Champion to spearhead several initiatives around the “Communities of the Future” theme highlighted in the 2021 Kansas “Power Up & Go” report written by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. In that report, a Community of the Future is one where new residents are welcomed, existing residents are engaged, the arts are supported and creative local projects reflect the vibe of a community.

The Rural Champion will not only build our capacity but also renew our collective energy to launch several key initiatives. Two of those are: 1) Remote Work Relocation Grant Program – The LCEDF has approved the creation of a program similar to Tulsa Remote or Choose Topeka to offer relocation grants to remote workers who move from out-of-state to Lincoln County. The Rural Champion will be the local friendly-face to correspond with potential applicants, provide community information, answer questions, and generally be a ‘concierge’ that helps a mover feel welcome and excited about their move and their future.2) Placemaking and Beautification Projects – The LCEDF has had several projects stuck in preliminary planning stages for several years and the Rural Champion will help push these forward to completion. With the help of several funding sources including a SEED grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, we will take on downtown beautification projects in every community in the county. By the end of 2023 and early 2024, we want visitors to feel a fresh and unique vibe to Lincoln County.

Follow and support this project

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