Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced the selection of Atchison, Baldwin City, and Junction City as the newest members of the Kansas Main Street program, bringing the total number of designated Main Street communities in Kansas to 28.
These three communities are the first new additions to the state’s Main Street program since its reintroduction in Kansas in 2019.
“To aid our economic recovery from COVID-19, we must provide every Kansas community with the resources needed to prosper now and into the future," Governor Kelly said. “The Main Street program is a key tool for future growth and economic development, and I am glad to see the addition of Atchison, Baldwin City, and Junction City.”
Kansas Main Street is a self-help technical assistance program administered by the Community Development Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce. The program targets preservation and revitalization of downtown districts through the development of a comprehensive strategy based on the four points of Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Restructuring.
Communities interested in earning designation in the program participated in a competitive application process beginning in December 2020, resulting in three communities selected to be part of the state program.
“Congratulations to Atchison, Baldwin City, and Junction City on being selected as our state’s newly designated Kansas Main Street communities,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Each of these communities will make wonderful additions to this proven downtown revitalization program. They have already demonstrated success in various community projects, and I’m pleased to welcome them into our state’s expanding Main Street family.”
The Kansas Main Street program, originally launched in 1985, has helped dozens of mostly rural communities work toward maintaining and enhancing the viability of their downtown districts. The program was ended by the Brownback administration in 2012, then resurrected in late 2019 under the direction of Governor Kelly with support from Rep. Troy Waymaster and the Kansas legislature.
“We are proud to become a Kansas Main Street community,” Atchison City Manager Becky Berger said. “It is a testament to the hard work and effort we have put in the last several years building a community that is thriving, using our collective creativity and innovative thinking to drive forward toward a better future.”
“We are not only excited, but proud to be accepted in the Main Street program,” Baldwin City Mayor Casey Simoneau said. “As a community with a rich history, resilient business community and proud citizen base we have always taken pride in our Main Street area. Being a part of Main Street will allow us access to resources so we may continue to build upon what has already been started and become a downtown destination for all visitors to enjoy.”
“The Downtown Revitalization Board, The City of Junction City and Geary County look forward to the economic advancement of our downtown with the structure provided by the Kansas Main Street program,” Theresa Bramlage, Chair of the Junction City Main Street Application Committee, said. “The application process has already engaged our community in a way that has been beyond our expectations. Junction City is a proud community with a story to tell. We are very thankful for the platform that the Main Street Program will provide and the guidance it will give us to help reestablish a vibrant downtown community.”
The Kansas Main Street program is affiliated with the National Main Street Center. While there are no federal funds provided directly to Main Street communities, designated cities are eligible for training and technical assistance designed to help them become self-sufficient in downtown revitalization.
“I want to join the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in congratulating these wonderful cities named new Kansas Main Street communities,” Kansas Main Street Director Scott Sewell said. “To our new program participants, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on making sure your downtown remains a healthy and important part of your community. The state office is here to guide you and support you in your efforts, and we look forward to your success.”
For more information on the Kansas Main Street program, contact Scott Sewell, Director of Kansas Main Street, at (785) 296-7288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.