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Funds available for downtown projects

By Clay Center Dispatch

Lori Huber, EDG director, told the group the $25,000 grant for upgrading storefronts downtown was sent to Clay Center because of the city’s participation in the KSU Urban Design project.

The funds from the North Central Kansas Community Network, a non-profit organization managed by the Beloit-based North Central Regional Planning Commission, will be available for loans from $2,500 to $5,000 to be paid off at no interest over a period of up to five years.

The funds will be available on a first come-first serve basis and may be used on business buildings in the downtown Clay Center commercial district for facade  improvements including cleaning, painting, removing non-historic additions, handicapped accessibility, window or door repair or replacement, masonry repairs and tuck pointing, replacing, repairing or preserving historically significant architectural details, cornice repair, awnings and canopies, UV glass and exterior lighting.

Repayment begins after construction is completed.

Development program to assist in planning

A program to assist Clay Center in planning and funding a comprehensive redevelopment around the community has been offered by the Manhattan-based Flint Hills Regional Planning Council.

Gary Stith, FHRPC director, told the group five to seven individual volunteers are needed to participate in the program.

Volunteers will meet a minimum of once a month to discuss community needs and will attend five day-and-a half long workshops in Manhattan over a period of 18 to 24 months. Any costs will be paid by the program.

Stith said once a final plan is developed, FHRPC will help the community locate grants and other funding mechanisms. Council Grove and Onaga are already involved in the program, Stith said.

Council Grove is working on downtown redevelopment, Onaga has a housing project going, he said.

Volunteers are needed before March 1 so workshops can begin as early as the first of April, Stith said. Interested persons should contact the Clay Center Chamber of Commerce.

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