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Kansas Main Street Selects Eight Rural Communities for New Housing Grant


By the Kansas Department of Commerce


TOPEKA, Kan. — Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced eight inaugural grant recipients of the Residential Opportunities on Main Street (ROOMS) program. A total of eight projects in Designated Kansas Main Street communities are receiving $50,000 each to create a total of 35 new residential units in the upper floors of downtown buildings.

“There is a substantial amount of unused upper-floor space in downtown buildings throughout rural Kansas, and this is a unique opportunity to create additional housing units,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Investing in rural downtown areas is critical for the quality of life in these communities, making them more appealing for current and future residents. With so many companies looking to locate or expand operations in rural Kansas, it is important that viable housing opportunities keep pace.”

This is the first grant of its kind designed specifically for Designated Kansas Main Street communities. Applicants go through a competitive process that demonstrates their commitment and active intent to revitalize their downtown commercial districts. As Designated Main Street communities, each will receive a high level of technical assistance and training from both the state and national Main Street programs. Currently, there are 30 active Designated communities participating in the Kansas Main Street program.

“We know that downtowns can play a role in helping solve the housing issues throughout Kansas, but the projects are very expensive,” Kansas Main Street Director Scott Sewell said.“These grants help create new housing opportunities in these communities and will make each of these downtowns more desirable for living, shopping and investing.”

The summer 2024 ROOMS grant awardees include:
  • Locally Atchison – Creating one new unit, Little Green House, a four-bedroom upscale apartment
  • GO! Augusta – Creating two new units, Free State Apartments, each having two bedrooms
  • Chanute Main Street – Creating 10 new units in the Sturdevant Hardware Building, ranging from studio to two bedrooms
  • Emporia Main Street – Creating seven new one- and two-bedroom units, 502 Lofts in the Bundrem building
  • Great Bend Main Street/Economic Development – Creating three new one- and two-bedroom units, Hammond Lofts
  • Newton Main Street – Creating eight new one- and two-bedroom units in the Voelker Building across from the old city hall
  • Salina Downtown Inc. – Creating one new two-bedroom unit, KPSB Loft
  • Sterling Main Street – Creating six new one- and two-bedroom units in the Shay Building located in the historic central business district

To view a webinar recording about ROOMS, click here. For more information about the Kansas Main Street program, click here.