New Grant Program Launches for Historic Building Revitalization

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland today announced a new grant program that will move quickly to help revitalize underutilized, vacant and dilapidated downtown buildings in rural Kansas communities.

The Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL) grant program is designed to bring downtown buildings back into productive use as spaces for new or expanding businesses; housing; arts and culture; civic engagement; childcare; or entrepreneurship. The matching grants will help address emergency needs for neglected buildings and assist building owners with eligible expenses for the revitalization of historic properties. Projects submitted must show potential as economic drivers in the community.

“We have a shortage of ready to occupy buildings across the state, but also an abundance of historic buildings with good bones that make them great candidates for rehabilitation,” Lieutenant Governor/Secretary Toland said. “The HEAL program provides an immediate opportunity to close financial gaps in restoring these properties and making downtown districts throughout our state more economically vibrant, while also creating new jobs and services for Kansans.”

There are two funding categories under the HEAL program. Emergency HEAL grants provide immediate relief for buildings at risk of collapse. Emergency HEAL applications will be accepted from November 8-19 with awards announced November 23. All non-Emergency HEAL applications will be accepted until December 20 with awards announced January 10, 2022. Eligible properties must have historical or architectural significance and be in a downtown business district in cities of less than 50,000 population.

The Department will be conducting expedited reviews of Emergency HEAL applications in recognition of the likelihood of collapse of some structures across the state, and the impending winter weather. Applicants selected for Emergency HEAL funding will receive notification prior to Thanksgiving.

Applications must be submitted by building owners in coordination with a local nominating organization. Eligible nominating organizations include: cities, counties, non-profit organizations, designated Kansas Main Street or affiliate cities, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, Small Business Development Centers or local community foundations.

A virtual workshop on the specifics of the program is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., November 8th via Zoom. Registration is required and the Zoom link will be provided after registration.  Information about the HEAL grant program and the online application can be viewed at https://www.kansascommerce.gov/healprogram.

HEAL is possible through a collaboration of the Community Development Division, Kansas Main Street, and the Governor’s Office of Rural Prosperity at the Kansas Department of Commerce.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas in 2021 was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award and was named Site Selection Magazine’s Best Business Climate in the West North Central region of the United States. Find the Department’s strategic plan for economic growth here: Kansas Framework for Growth.