Cities agree to local control of incentive funds

Incentive Without Walls funds to remain at local level

The Kansas Department of Commerce announced Monday that the department has agreed with state Main Street cities to transition the Kansas Main Street program to local control.

This agreement comes on the heels of an announcement Sept. 20 by the Department of Commerce that it was ending the Main Street program at the state level because of expected smaller state and federal budgets moving forward.

“The decision to end a program like Kansas Main Street was not an easy one,” said Secretary of Commerce Pat George. “However, in light of our future budget constraints, the Commerce Department must focus on programs that impact the most communities and businesses as we work to expand economic development and grow private-sector jobs statewide.”

A key part of the program has been the $3.7 million in Incentive Without Walls (IWW) funding that has been used by 35 communities since 1996. IWW funds are made available to communities to help with various downtown business needs.

The Peabody Main Street program has $30,000 in IWW funds at its disposal to help businesses with a variety of projects.

“Communities can continue to use IWW funding, administered locally, as long as they continue to stick to current policies and oversight,” George said. “I am very encouraged with the communities’ commitment and attitude in wanting to continue the Main Street program as a non-state affiliated program moving forward.”

In addition, the department will help partially fund the 2012 Kansas Downtown Symposium, scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18 in Emporia. Discussions also will continue about local Main Street organizations maintaining their partnership with the National Main Street Program, which is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“As stated in the past, our local program has been built on a strong foundation thanks to Kansas Main Street and we will continue to develop our community and downtown as we have during our many years as a Main Street city,” said Shane Marler, Peabody Main Street executive director. “The ability to continue to use local IWW funds to assist businesses is a huge victory for our program.”

 

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