Kansas Cuts Main Street Program

Thursday the Kansas Department of Commerce announced they would be making cuts which included 18 positions as well as eliminating the Kansas Main Street Program immediately.

Belleville, Kansas is one of 25 members of the Kansas Main Street Program which started in 1985. Belleville has been a member since 1992 and has seen much success from businesses participating in the program.

A few Kansas communities, Winfield and Russell, have stated their Main Street programs will continue to operate without the state allocated resources and funds.

Quotes from the Lawrence Journal World article by Scott Rothschild

“In all, 18 positions are affected,” George said in a letter to Commerce workers.

George added, “The decision to eliminate positions is never an easy one, especially with Associates that have dedicated considerable time, energy and passion to the Department and to serving the people of Kansas. I hope that this restructuring eliminates the need for further staff reductions in the future.”

George said he made the decision to restructure in consultation with the administration.

“The Department must restructure in order to meet expected smaller state and federal budgets moving forward,” he said. “In addition, the Department also must focus on core functions that will provide the greatest opportunities to develop the best business environment and to increase private-sector job growth for Kansas.”

The National Main Street Center was created in 1978 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  There are over 1500 Main Street cities across the United States.  Belleville is one of 22 Main Street towns in Kansas.  The Kansas Program was started in 1985 and Belleville is a part of that program.

The Kansas Main Street program uses a common-sense approach to tackle the complex issues of revitalizing a community’s central business district.  Kansas Main Street is a self-help program that uses a four-point approach.  Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic  Restructuring.

Melinda Pierson Belleville’s Main Street director –

“Belleville Chamber and Main Street was shocked by the announcement from Secretary of State Pat George on September 20th that the Kansas Main Street Program was being eliminated. Legislatures had no prior knowledge and were also surprised by this announcement.

Belleville was designated a Kansas Main Street community in 2002. Kansas Main Street local programs are a grass roots and volunteer driven effort with day to day operations and projects funded and implemented locally. Belleville Chamber and Main Street plans to move forward with no changes foreseen at this time. Because of the foundation that Kanas Main Street provided for our local programs we will survive.

We will truly miss working with our state coordinator Mary Helmer who brought so much expertise, leadership, support and passion into our local programs. Our organization is still a member of the National Trust Main Street Center and we will strive to continue to provide beneficial services to our members and businesses.”