2021 RCED Annual Report


  • Republic County Economic Development with Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Small Business Development Center assists with business planning, incentives, and program information and updates. Other assistance may begin at local workshops or small business training and continue from there as the business starts, expands, or is looking for succession planning help. Below are the number of businesses assisted in 2021 broken down by their stage. Business names not listed for confidentiality.
    • Planning / Start-Up Stage: 38 businesses
    • Expansion/ Growth Stage: 19 businesses
    • Succession Stage: 4 businesses
  • Notable business activity: Highbanks Wind / NextEra continued leasing land for potential wind farm, Heartland Gamebirds, Courtland host grand opening for their lodge, Kallman Office Suites hosts grand opening/ribbon cutting at former Arbuthnot’s and was full within months, Bobo’s Meats began work at former Hanel Vet Clinic, hosted manufacturing/distributing tour for Kansas Department of Commerce representative with Grandpa’s Best / Haarslev / Nutri-Shield / Reinke / Hometown Lumber / Polansky / ProHoe, Tuxies Ten Pins opens bringing the bowling alley, Dollar Tree – Family Dollar opens, KS Agroforestry Award received by Woodland Place Stock Farm and Locke Pierce, Plum Crazy Boutique opens on the square, hosted Empty Building Tour with BCMS, and Stephens Collision and Glass poured concrete for their new location being built on HWY 36.
  • COVID-19 Assistance – RCED answered questions and marketed relief programs
    • CDBG-CV3 – Assisted City of Belleville / NCRP with Belleville business applicants
    • KDA Securing Local Food Systems – Depot Market expands retail space in historic depot and C&C High Tunnels expands wash building and storage.
    • EDA ­– NCRP – Free small business and non-profit courses hosted in the region through the planning commission.
    • HOME Pilot Program – This program is expanding fiber along HWY 81 from Salina – Belleville and partnered with ag producers to bring fiber to homes.
    • Historic Economic Asset Lifeline Program – Heartland Gamebirds received a $65,000 grant for expansion of underutilized/vacant building.
    • KDOL Unemployment Programs
    • SBA Covid-19 Relief Programs – PPP / EIDL
  • Revolving Loan Funds – Republic County Development Committee (RCD) – A separate business gap financing committee represented by local banks and county residents that administers three pools of funding. Once funds are repaid, they are loaned again to a new business in the county. The revolving loan pool is promoted by RCED.
    • Revolving Loan Application Assistance – RCED offers businesses that work with a qualified professional can receive half the cost of consultation up to $500 to prepare and submit a revolving loan application.
  • Belleville Industrial Park – North Central Kansas Industrial Development Corporation – Assisted six requests for information on the property. NCK Industrial is a separate non-profit that works with RCED, the City of Belleville, and Republic County to develop the property.
    • KDOT ED Grant – City of Beville was awarded a $1 million grant for developing a road and infrastructure south and north of Love’s including a retention pond. RCED assisted the City with the grant application and letters of support from KS Dept. of Commerce. Business Commitments – Worked with multiple business projects to secure commitment needed for grant. Following up with local resources and incentives.
    • Hotel Feasibility Study – RCED funded a hotel feasibility study with Spurrier Consulting for future project use at HWY 81 or other future locations.
  • Neighborhood Revitalization Program – RCED worked with 11 taxing entities to renew the NRP from 2021-2025 – 5-year rebate 95%, 90%, 70%, 40%, 20% for new construction <$25,000 increase in appraisal *2021-2025.
    • 11 projects in 2021 – 10 Residential, 1 Commercial projects
    • 2012-2020 – 89 projects valued at $12,844,420
      • Commercial – 22
      • Ag – 27
      • Residential – 36
      • Farm Residential – 15
  • Rural and Remote –Since 2019 21 applicants, 7 graduates (4 from Coding Academy), and 3 placements. 2021 had one Coding Academy graduate and placement living/working remote from county.
  • North Central Kansas Food Council – Board took a pause during COVID-19 and will soon move from NCRP to Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation as it better aligns with their regional health mission. NCKFC promotes local food options and assist local food production and expansion in the region.
  • Rural Energy for America Program – shared with businesses planning to energy-efficient projects. KSU will provide free energy audits and grant application assistance
  • Nex-Generation Round-Up for Youth 2021 – 9 businesses hosted internships for this summer – $1,000 per intern


  • E-Community Loan Pool – Administered by the Republic County Revolving Loan Committee with two other pools of funding. RP Designated Level 1/A Community – $135,000 annual loan fund, $25,000 available for programs FY2021.
    • 2021 – 3 loans in FY21 Irrigation Ales and Heartland Gamebirds (2 with E-Community and Startup KS)
    • 2014-2021 – 12 loans totaling $480,495 for gap financing in 13 loans, average loan of $36,961 at 3.89%.
    • Irrigation Ales, Heartland Gamebirds, David’s Creations, Courtland Building Venture, Bethany Swafford Farm Bureau, Cuba Cash Store, EST Automotive, Kansas World’s Fair, CPR Medical, Belleville Hometown Lumber, BellConn, Coles’ Appliance.
  • Development Opportunity Profile – Presented at Blair Theater the DOP information from Don Macke and the E2 group thanks to Network Kansas for providing this for free. Information covering various retail markets in the county. And outlining a Spending Capture Opportunity totaling over $51 million.
  • E-Community Grants -$4,884 granted in local programming in 2021 with YEC, Small Business Classes, Scholarships, Makerspace Bootcamp, and Launch & Grow Business Networking.
  • Free Small Business Courses – 16 attended courses in (10) spring or fall (6) of 2021.
  • Launch & Grow Business Networking – June hosted at Kallman Office Suites, November hosted with Tuxies Ten Pin / Plum Crazy Boutique / McBattas – Belleville Telescope.
  • Republic County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge – 23 students participated from PVHS and RCHS -13 teams competed in the virtual competition – $1,750 in prizes to top six. Sheetz & Suds – Waylon Sheetz was our entrepreneur speaker.
    • Kansas Youth Virtual Entrepreneurship Challenge – The event was hosted virtually by KSU Wonderfully Made – Carolina Barraza PVHS was one of two teams selected at the highest level for the competition.
    • Kansas State Department of Education – Wonderfully Made – Carolina Barraza PVHS presented to the state board of education in June on her project.
    • Global Entrepreneurship Week Grant – Both PVHS and RCHS art classes received $125 to produce art featuring local entrepreneurs.
  • Makerspace Bootcamp – Provided E-Community grant to Jennifer Mahin to attend the training to assist in K-5th makerspace at East Elementary.


  • Housing – Promoted NCRP housing programs from Weatherization to the Homeownership Program. Shared programs and resources with cities on Rural Housing Incentive program, Moderate Income Housing program, Dane Hansen housing initiatives, Land Banks, and provided market information for multiple prospective housing developers.
  • Dane Hansen – Housing Incentive Programs In December RCED applied for and was awarded $27,500 for three housing incentive programs in 2021. Awarded $11,933.77 in grants, waiting to hear from DH to use the remainder in 2022.
    • Paint the County – $4,433.77 awardedto 9 projects in Belleville (4), Republic (2), Courtland, Scandia, and Norway. Grants up to $500 grants for paint, materials, or rental.
    • Empty Nester grant – $5,000 awarded to 1 project covering moving, closing, and other costs associated with a senior selling a home and moving over to a rental in the county.
    • Demolition Assistance grant – $2,500 award to reimburse for demolition cost from City of Belleville crew to make way to build a new home in 2022. Previous home appraised around $50,000 new home will between $150,000-$200,000.
  • Rural Opportunity Zone  Student Loan Repayment Program
    • $40,579.98 paid to 16 student loan repayment applicants in 2020 to county residents.
    • $20,289.99 came from Republic County and is matched by the State of Kansas
    • 75% of the applicants indicate saved income goes towards housing
    • 12 people have completed the program
    • ROZ Working Group – Worked with KDOC staff and legislators on improving the program as it sunsets in 2021. Program was renewed for 2 more years by legislature.
  • Local Grants – Provides non-profits and communities with information on RCCF, Dane Hansen, Duclos, North Central Regional Planning and other grant programs. Assisted: Belleville Highbanks HOF, Belleville High Banks Race Track, Pivotal Health & Wellness, Republic County Hospital, City of Belleville, City of Narka, City of Agenda, City of Courtland, and City of Scandia.
  • Childcare – Promoted childcare listings on our website and on the RP County Provider Facebook group. Assisted USD 109 with Childcare resources getting their in-home daycare started.
    • Childcare Provider Workshop – 10 attended the online workshop with Childcare Aware, KSU Research & Extension, KDHE, and business resources from RCED.
  • Kansas Sampler Foundation – Networks problems and solutions with KSF to help volunteer lead communities.


  • Republic County Shopping Guide – Holiday listings of retailers, services, and places to support during Covid-19 and holidays.
  • Small Business Saturday – Distributed free materials from Shop Small campaign
  • KS Travel Guide – Worked with Belleville Chamber & Main Street on listings from Republic County for the annual travel guide.
  • Local Food Map – Developed during Covid-19 and continued to be of value in 2021. Promoted eleven local food producers on our website and connected them with Shop Kansas Farms page of 140,000+ followers.
  • Press releases – Sent to local papers, radio stations, and posted to our blog
    • Online Marketing
    • 55,6831 pageviews for www.republiccountykansas.com in 2021 – Most popular pages are Jobs, Homes, Rentals, Business Resources, and the Blog pages reached all 50 states
    • 422 subscribers to RCED E-mail Newsletter
    • 2,100 Facebook Followers and 34,281 reached in 2021
    • 815 Twitter Followers
    • 469 Instagram Followers and 576 reached

Statistics, analysis, graph, data, chart - free image from needpix.com


Republic County Statistical Abstract – KU Institute for Policy & Social Research – https://ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/kcced/profiles/pdf/20157.pdf

2020 Census Results

Republic County only saw a -6.1% county population change from 2010 – 2020. The county has seen over 10%+ decreases every year since 1940 indicating the population decline has slowed this decade. Two cities saw population increases for the first time since 1970, Belleville 2,007 (1,991) and Courtland 294 (285).

Location 20102020% Change
Republic County4,9804,674-6.1%
Age Cohort ESRI data from Don Macke and the Development Opportunity Profile for Republic County

County Trade Pull Factor Change – https://www.ksrevenue.org/prpullfactor.html

County20202021Percentage Change 19-20
Republic County, Kansas0.700.733.4%
Cloud County, Kansas0.970.992.1%
Jewell County, Kansas0.390.4310.4%
Washington County, Kansas0.590.601.4%
Smith County, Kansas0.740.72-2.9%
Ottawa County, Kansas0.360.385.0%
Marshall County, Kansas0.940.940.3%
Mitchell County, Kansas1.091.166.4%
Clay County, Kansas0.780.9319.5%
Saline County, Kansas1.331.362.4%

Sales Tax Change 20020-2021 – https://www.ksrevenue.org/prsalesreports.html  

County20202021% Change
Republic County (2%)$1,150,742.59$1,193,609.663.7%
Cloud County (1%)$ 1,411,853.03$1,489,327.215.5%
Jewell County (1%)$220,389.27$262,722.8319.2%
Washington County (1%)$589,214.57$599,807.781.8%
Ottawa County (1%)$396,576.54$397,275.750.2%
Mitchell County (1%)$1,140,406.77$1,223,351.317.3%
Clay County (1%)$1,102,577.15$1,338,820.2721.4%
Saline County (1%)$11,480,579.63$16,531,291.4546%

City Sales Tax Change 2019-2020 – https://www.ksrevenue.org/prsalesreports.html  

City20202021% Change

2021 Republic County Unemployment Rate – 1.7% December 2021 – www.dol.ks.gov

2002-2018 Republic County Workforce Migration – Charts and maps link. For instructions to create one based on towns or counties.

20022018% Change
Employed in Republic Co.18241789-2.0%
Employed in Republic Co. live outside44460827.0%
Employed and live in Republic Co.13801181-16.9%
Living in Republic Co.226522720.3%
Live in Republic Co. work outside885109118.9%

Luke Mahin – Director
Republic County Economic Development

ABOUT: Republic County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) was formed in 1999 to help improve the economic diversity of Republic County. RCEDC was created by an interlocal agreement between the Republic County Commission and the City of Belleville.

RCEDC offers numerous services and resources including business recruitment and retention work, financial resources, site location selection assistance, marketing assistance, state resources and incentives, employment assistance as well as employee training resources.

The Republic County Economic Development Corporation will meet for the 2021 Annual Meeting on February 21st, 2022 to hold officer elections. Officers in 2021 were Jim Blecha Chairman, Mike Gritten Vice-Chairman and Mike Hadachek Treasurer. Other voting board members are Edwin Splichal, Adam Robertson, David Douglas, Cheri Cardi, Jeff Thompson, Larry Lyder, Dan Kelly, Matt Dowell, Randy Hansen and Ex-Officio member Adam Anderson. Director is Luke Mahin and advisor Jenny Russell.

The RCED board is made up of twelve voting members. Three voting members from each of the three Republic County Commissioner Districts and one member appointed by the Republic County Commissioners, one for City of Belleville and one at large position.

Learn about previous RCED Annual Reports below.


2019 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/rced-2019-annual-report/

2018 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/homegrown-success/

2017 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/2017-a-year-of-change-for-businesses-communities/

2016  http://www.republiccountykansas.com/2016/

Love’s Travel Stop ribbon cutting

2015 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/2015-year-in-review/

Dan Douglas successor of the lumber yard; Belleville Hometown Lumber.

2014 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/rced-highlights-of-2014/

Buffalo Apartments groundbreaking.

2013 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/2013-year-in-review/

Reinke Manufacturing expansion.

2012 – http://www.republiccountykansas.com/rced-2012-annual-summary/

B Defined Fitness owner Kendra Short.