Key part of recently axed Main Street program created 168 jobs since 2008

TOPEKA — A primary part of the Kansas Main Street program that Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration eliminated this fall created 168 jobs since 2008, according to the Department of Commerce.

But Commerce Sec. Pat George felt the state’s other economic development programs create more jobs, said Dan Lara, spokesman for the commerce department.

The department will allow communities to use existing money through the Incentive Without Walls program that created jobs.

Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, who is retiring from the Senate, said that eliminating the program seems inconsistent with Brownback’s effort to revitalize rural communities through incentives offered to people in the state’s Rural Opportunity Zones program.

The state has provided $3.7 million to 35 communities through the Main Street incentives program. The $982,000 spent since 2008 created 168 jobs, Lara said. It’s strongest years were 2011 and 2012, when it created 48 jobs in each year. Among those jobs were 29 in Leavenworth, 15 in Parsons, 13 in McPherson, 13 in Hutchinson and 11 in El Dorado.