For Immediate Release
Beverly Schmitz Glass, PhD 620.276.0891
Like the mythical phoenix that rose from the ashes of its predecessor to a renewed and invigorated life, directors from 23 Kansas downtown programs gathered last week in Hutchinson to revitalize Kansas’s Main Street organization that was shuttered by the Kansas Department of Commerce budget cuts in September 2012.
During the four-hour session the executive directors, under the guidance of Ron Kelly, a successful Hutchinson businessman, and long-time Kansas Main Street and Downtown Hutchinson activist and volunteer, worked through articles of incorporation that had been drafted by Kelly. The articles, signed by eight directors and Kelly, were unanimously voted on and subsequently approved. The signees will become the new organization’s board of directors.
“After losing the state’s support for Kansas Main Street and the state coordinator position, we felt we needed to establish a state association so that we can not only meet the National Main Street criteria to be an accredited program, but also allow us to continue focused central business district revitalization while growing the organization to include more communities at new membership levels,” said Beverly Schmitz Glass, PhD, executive director of the Garden City Downtown Vision program. “There’s a lot of work yet to be done, but we are excited to be moving forward when many thought we would just disappear.”
The name Kansas Main Street, Inc. (KMSI) was retained and the domain secured as was the original website. The new bylaws for KMSI were discussed with additional work and review forthcoming. The directors voted Kelly as interim president, Glass as president-elect, and Casey Woods, Emporia, as secretary-treasurer.
The group intends to formalize its relationships through memorandums of agreement with associations who have stepped up and offered help and support in the way of providing continuing education and training. Network Kansas (a partner in gap financing and e-communities), the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association, Kansas League of Municipalities, Flint Hills Technical College, and National Main Street were the first to extend a helping hand to the 25 communities still continuing their local programs.
The next step is to convene the new board of directors, work out the details of the inaugural membership levels, and flesh out the education and training calendar including determining the host cities. Said Glass, “Then, along with our Board, bring to the table representatives from small business retail, higher education, entrepreneurship enthusiasts, retired successful businesspersons, and legislators who all have a fire in their bellies for Main Street and establish our long-term funding, short and long-term goals, and yearly budget. It’s really pretty exciting to be able to rise up like this after last September’s blow from Commerce. Main Street Kansas is very much alive and growing!”