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Commerce Department, Patterson Family Foundation Team Up to Help Downtown Areas Throughout Kansas

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TOPEKA – It is a familiar sight in smaller Kansas communities throughout the state: vibrant downtown districts whose allure is somewhat diminished by one or two vacant or dilapidated buildings. In many cases, a major barrier to making these structures useful again is the high cost of renovation.

Last fall, the Kansas Department of Commerce launched a new community revitalization program, the Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL), to address the issue. With HEAL, the state assists building owners with matching grants to cover eligible expenses as historic properties are revitalized. HEAL was made possible through a collaboration with the Patterson Family Foundation, which has been dedicated to strengthening rural communities since 2007.

Today, Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland announced the inaugural HEAL grant recipients. Slightly more than $1.8 million in matching grants will be awarded to help 32 projects across the state.

“The goal of the HEAL is to rescue downtown buildings and restore them as productive spaces for business and community use,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary Toland said. “Seeing our downtown districts turned into more attractive and vibrant places to live and work, along with creating new jobs and services for Kansans, is key to our state’s prosperity.”

Grants are divided into two funding categories, Emergency and Regular, for cities with fewer than 50,000 residents. The program is designed to transform buildings for new or expanding businesses, housing, arts and culture, civic engagement, childcare or entrepreneurship – and once again become economic drivers in the community.

“Vibrant downtown areas are important to the future prospects of smaller communities, so it was not a difficult decision for us to join the Department of Commerce and its partners in funding HEAL grants,” said Lindsey Patterson Smith, President of the Patterson Family Foundation. “HEAL grants give architecturally significant buildings a new lease on life, so they can continue to play vital roles in their communities.”

Emergency HEAL was established to make strategic investments in underutilized, dilapidated or buildings in danger of collapse. Twenty-four applications were received for this category. A total of 10 projects are receiving $585,000 in matching grant funds.

Emergency HEAL Award recipients include:

  • Elmo Building, Burden – $40,000,
  • Union Gas Building Renovation, Caney – $65,000,
  • Pretty Boy Floyd’s Underground Restaurant and Event Venue, Ellsworth – $65,000,
  • Cohn-Gardner Hill Department Store, Eudora – $65,000,
  • The Eureka Project, Eureka – $41,000,
  • McDonald Hall, Fort Scott – $65,000,
  • Kollock and Bragunier-Otte Buildings, Peabody – $65,000,
  • David Rettiger Building, Strong City – $65,000,
  • Jacob Engles Dry Goods/Restaurant and Distillery, Wellington – $64,000, and
  • Stiles Mortuary Building, Wilson – $50,000.

A total of 220 applications were received for Regular HEAL grants. Twenty-two projects from across the state are receiving $1,294,715 in matching grant funds.

Regular HEAL award recipients include:

  • The Star Block Restaurant/Retail, Osage City – $65,000,
  • Restoration of 17 E. Fourth Ave – Brewery Manufacturing, Emporia – $65,000,
  • HL Hart Building Coworking & Apartment, Newton – $65,000,
  • Historic Lowis Building – Nesting Expansion, Colby – $65,000,
  • Atchison Riverfront Brewery Project, Atchison – $65,000,
  • Letha’s, Plainville – $8,000,
  • Farmer & Florist Renovation/Expansion, Marysville – $65,000,
  • Weathered Wood Home Store, Council Grove – $65,000,
  • Heartland Gamebirds & Lodge, Courtland – $65,000,
  • The Gym at Matfield Green Recording Studio, Matfield Green – $65,000,
  • 1010 Main, Goodland – $65,000,
  • 113 W. Lincoln Ave – Fitness Center, Lincoln – $65,000,
  • Bill and Essie’s BBQ LLC, Marion – $65,000,
  • Farmers Union Co-op Rehab-Children’s Museum, Alma – $65,000,
  • Farmhouse Fresh in Jetmore, Jetmore – $57,260,
  • OmGrown Yoga & Wellness Collective, Baldwin City– $41,780,
  • The Landing Restaurant & Outdoor Gathering Place, Great Bend – $43,960,
  • Junction City Brewery & Restaurant, Junction City – $65,000,
  • Midland Theater Front of the House & Stage Restoration, Coffeyville – $65,000,
  • Marquee Performing arts Center, Winfield – $38,715,
  • Tree House of Early Learning, Independence – $65,000, and
  • Robin’s Nest, Minneola – $65,000.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.

About the Patterson Family Foundation

Where you come from says a lot about you. But what you do says even more. The Patterson Family Foundation is a family-led foundation extending the legacy of Neal and Jeanne Patterson to improve the rural communities we come from through healthcare, education, economic opportunity, and beyond. Learn more about the Patterson Family Foundation and how it can help your community at https://pattersonfamilyfoundation.org/

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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