TOPEKA – Great Bend will receive $600,000 in federal grant funds to assist with a long-awaited street project, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday afternoon. The funding comes via a Kansas Department of Commerce Small Cities Community Development Block Grant.
“This is exciting news,” said City Administrator Kendal Francis. “The CDBG program is a tremendous support program for communities. It allows us to make continued improvements to critical infrastructure which in turn helps enhance the quality of life for our citizens.”
The targeted work includes a mill and overlay of 12 blocks along Broadway Avenue (Polk St. to Morton), as well as the reconstruction of the intersection at 19th Street and Harrison.
The engineer’s estimate for the project is $1,292,800, and the city will match 50%, which comes to $646,000. The city will draw on its quarter-cent sales tax dedicated to street maintenance to cover the cost.
“We are grateful that the Department of Commerce recognized the value of our project,” Francis said, noting this was a very competitive process. The city submitted its application last October.
Another requirement for this funding bases it on the number of residents in the low- to moderate-income levels. Since all of Great Bend fits this criteria, Francis said the city was eligible for the maximum award of $700,000.
These are federal funds funneled through the State of Kansas. Great Plains Development of Dodge City will administer the grant for Great Bend.
“The Community Development Block Grant program is a powerful tool for improving communities, revitalizing essential infrastructure, and maximizing economic opportunity and I am glad to see Great Bend being recognized,” Kelly said. “Over the past several months, the pandemic has heightened the challenges our rural communities face when it comes to community development – making assistance like this more important than ever. My administration is dedicated to doing all we can to continue addressing rural Kansans’ most pressing needs.”
This specific grant funding is designed to assist communities with projects centered on community facilities projects, with other awards being distributed to assist housing rehabilitation and water and wastewater projects throughout Kansas. In all, awarded communities will share a total of $13,864,149 in federal grants.
The CDBG program administered by the Community Development Division in Commerce provides federal funds to local governments for the development of viable communities by addressing their housing, public facilities and economic development needs. To be awarded funds, local government units must meet at least one of three program objectives:
• The grant will benefit low- and moderate-income persons
• The grant will prevent or eliminate slums and blight
• The grant will resolve an urgent need where local resources are not available to do so
The CDBG funds are one of Commerce’s primary tools in supporting the state’s small, predominantly rural communities.