Peabody Main Street executive director Shane Marler, was in Holton Wednesday through Friday to take part in a symposium for the reorganization of the Kansas Main Street program. About 50 people from the 26 Kansas Main Street cities were on hand for the meeting.
A board of directors from the member cities had previously filed the articles of incorporation with the state. Kansas Main Street, Inc. has been recognized as the state agency by the National Main Street Center and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Those were housekeeping items that needed to be done before everyone could get together and begin laying the groundwork for funding and other support,” Marler said. “A nine-member board has been appointed. They meet quarterly and also have webinar or phone meetings if necessary.”
Gayla Roten, state Main Street director for the neighboring state of Missouri was a keynote speaker at the symposium. Missouri canceled its state financial support about four years ago. She told about their struggle to get the program back on its feet again.
“Roten addressed some of the problems and pitfalls of reorganization,” Marler said. “But we were pleased to note that she also said that Kansas Main Street, Inc. is way ahead of the game and has already made great strides in restructuring the program.”
Marler said one of the major topics at this reorganization meeting was the issue of fundraising. E-Town Solutions, LLC of Emporia was hired to handle the fundraising. E-Town also will help the new state program with organization development and a training plan.
“We submitted an application for community service tax credits,” Marler said. “The Community Service Tax Credit Program is a division of the Kansas Department of Commerce. KMSI would generate about $400,000 if the application is successful. That money would be the foundation of the restructured program. We will find out July 1 if the application is accepted.”
Marler also noted that Flint Hills Technical College has signed on as a KMSI partner and supporter. The school will provide free office space and all necessary communication equipment when the program hires a state director.
“We tackled quite a few of the basics and I think everyone felt pretty positive and upbeat by the time the conference was over,” Marler said. “None of the cities have dropped out. Everyone is ready to take the next step.”