Great Bend Economic Development Inc. announced Monday morning the selection of the next recipient of a loft grant through a program aimed at revitalizing the upper levels in Great Bend’s downtown area. The award presentation to The Lofts at the Zarah will take place during a 10 a.m. news conference Wednesday, June 21, at the southeast corner of Main Street and Lakin Avenue.
The Zarah, a development in Great Bend’s historic downtown district, will be granted the loft grant to support the creation of 24 new residential units, “contributing to the growth and vibrancy of downtown Great Bend,” said GBED President Sara Arnberger.
The building is owned by the MyTown organization and this is its project, GBED is merely helping facilitate it. In all, this is a $6 million project.
In addition to honoring the Zarah project, GBED will unveil a new incentive program designed to assist Barton County homeowners, she said. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by homeowners with older properties, GBED’s new program aims to provide the necessary support to enhance these residences.
One of the existing programs offered by GBED is Brush Up Barton County, which provides grants for paint and supplies to eligible homeowners for exterior painting projects. Online applications for Brush Up Barton County can be accessed at www.gbedinc.com/housing.
With a dedicated annual budget of $5,000, GBED is able to allocate up to $1,000 per project, helping homeowners enhance the visual appeal and preservation of their properties.
“However, GBED understands that aging homes often require additional assistance beyond exterior paint,” Arnberger said. The newly introduced incentive program will go beyond the scope of Brush Up Barton County.
As to what this new program does, GBED officials said this will be announced at the news conference.
“By providing increased resources and incentives, GBED aims to have a profound impact on the preservation and revitalization of homes throughout the county,” she said.
“GBED remains committed to promoting economic growth and community development,” she said. “Through initiatives like the Loft Grant and the new incentive program, GBED strives to create a vibrant and thriving environment for residents, businesses, and visitors in Barton County.”
In April, it was announced the project will receive a $1.425 million Moderate Income Housing Grant from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation (KHRC).
These new homes have to be considered affordable, meaning the tenants can’t be rent-burdened (the rent can’t be greater than 30% of their income as tracked by the KHRC).
Although most of the units will be “rent restricted,” there may be a couple available to tenants who exceed the income guidelines.
For more information, visit www.gbedinc.com, call 620-796-2407 or email Arnberger at email@example.com.