New grant program intends to revitalize historic buildings in rural Kansas

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FILE – This Aug. 1, 2016 file photo shows the Kimo Theater on historic Route 66 in downtown Albuquerque, N.M. Uruguay issued a warning to its citizens early this week about traveling to the U.S. after two mass shootings last weekend killed more than 30 people. The Latin American country also cited this week three cities citizens should avoid: Albuquerque, N.M., Detroit and Baltimore, Md. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A new grant program announced by the Kansas Department of Commerce intends to revitalize historic buildings in rural Kansas communities.

The Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL) grant program is designed to renovate downtown buildings that are underutilized to boost community engagement.

“We have a shortage of ready to occupy buildings across the state, but also an abundance of historic buildings with good bones that make them great candidates for rehabilitation,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary David Toland said. “The HEAL program provides an immediate opportunity to close financial gaps in restoring these properties and making downtown districts throughout our state more economically vibrant, while also creating new jobs and services for Kansans.”

The HEAL program has two categories for funding, emergency and non-emergency. Emergency HEAL grants will provide immediate relief for buildings at risk of collapse, and applications will be accepted from Nov. 8-19, with awards being announced on Nov. 23.

Non-emergency HEAL applications will be accepted until Dec. 20, with awards announced on Jan. 10, 2022.

Eligible buildings must have historical or architectural significance, and they must be in a downtown business district in cities with a population under 50,000.

A virtual workshop on the specifics of the program will be held on Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Registration is required, and a Zoom link will be provided upon completion of the registration.

HEAL is possible through a collaboration of the Community Development Division, Kansas Main Street, and the Governor’s Office of Rural Prosperity at the Kansas Department of Commerce.

For more information on the HEAL grant program, click here.

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