Ending Main Street program a blow to rural communities

Communities across the state are still reeling from the abrupt decision by the Brownback administration to end the successful Main Street program. Since 1985, the program has provided training, consultation and financial support to help smaller towns revitalize their downtowns. Areas communities involved in the program include Augusta, El Dorado, Peabody and Winfield. Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, said Main Street was “one of the most effective state programs there was.” The decision to cancel the program, which Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Pat George blamed on “smaller state and federal budgets moving forward,” means that Kansas will be one of only about a dozen states without a state-level Main Street program, the Hutchinson News reported. The move also seems counter to Brownback’s goal of revitalizing rural communities.