Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George announced Thursday that the Kansas Main Street program is closed effective immediately. The move comes amid departmental restructuring for a total of 18 affected positions.
However, Hoisington Main Street will continue.
“Since Hoisington Main Street Inc.’s funding is local through memberships, sponsorships and the City of Hoisington, we remain a very viable organization,” said Jean Brinlee, executive director. “What we lose in this transaction is educational opportunities, technical and design assistance, and very possibly the Incentives Without Walls (IWW) zero interest loan program that has been instrumental in our revitalization efforts. It would be a shame to see those reinvestment dollars leave our community where they could continue helping our Main Street businesses grow and bring entrepreneurial dreams to reality. KMS has provided us with an amazing foundation to build upon.”
Having qualified through an extensive application process, Hoisington Main Street Inc. has been a Kansas Main Street community since July 2005. Eligible in 2006, the organization has won many KMS awards in multiple categories. Because Hoisington Main Street Inc. is also a National Main Street city, it is still considered a true Main Street community and will continue to receive further educational opportunities through the national level.
Brinlee said she was surprised by the announcement and by the abrupt ending of KMS’s 26 year history of Downtown revitalization through economic development. The state agency helped pump $556,856,397 in public/private reinvestment in over 50 communities throughout the state. Those dollars in turn helped open or expand 3,678 new businesses which in turn created 8,518 new jobs for Kansans. Locally, there was $749,783 in public/private reinvestment into businesses and buildings. The Incentives Without Walls funding program provided $88,965.
Brinlee said, “Hoisington will not notice any visible changes in upcoming programs or events and that the Hoisington Main Street, Inc. board of directors remains committed to the community. We just came off a successful Scavenger Hunt, are nearing completion of a joint project with the Jaycees/H.A.R.P Group (Benches & trash cans throughout the business community), launching of our individual membership drive in October, and anticipate an incredible Ladies Night Out on Nov. 9.
“In our short seven year history, we have accomplished much with the leadership of Mary Helmer, KMS Coordinator and will continue moving forward,” said Brinlee. “Our organization realizes our sustainability comes from the vision, passion and commitment of our volunteers and community. We are truly grateful for each of them.”