LCEDF announces Downtown Revitalization Projects

Plans for the Sylvan Grove Public Library’s future expansion is starting to get real! The economic development office’s summer interns met with library staff and a few board members this morning to review schematic designs.

Plans for the Sylvan Grove Public Library’s future expansion is starting to get real! The economic development office’s summer interns met with library staff and a few board members recently to review schematic designs. (photo courtesy of Kelly Larson)

By Hailey Dixon for the Lincoln Sentinel

Out of 17 applications, eight businesses were selected for the Downtown Revitalization Project by Kelly Larson, Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director, members of the LCEDF Board and two interns, Miki Blair and Bethany Pingel.

“I am grateful that we were a part of that decision,” Blair said.

There are four in Lincoln, including the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Center Antiques, Lincoln Senior Center and Lincoln City Hall. In Sylvan Grove, the other four are M & G Designs, the Labertew Aviaries building, Sylvan Grove Senior Center and the Sylvan Grove Library.

“It was hard, it was very hard,” Larson said about the decision.

The goal of the Downtown Revitalization Project is to improve the exterior and interior spaces of these selected businesses.

Blair and Pingel introduced themselves and visited the businesses already. Larson said she hopes to host an event for the public to see the plans the interns designed for the buildings.

Larson said she also hopes this initiative can continue into the future.

The internship for Blair and Pingel is sponsored by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.


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LCEDF hosting Downtown Design Assistance Program for Lincoln County businesses

By Hailey Dixon for the Lincoln Sentinel

The Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation is inviting businesses and organizations in the downtown districts of the Lincoln, Sylvan Grove, Barnard and Beverly communities to apply to the Downtown Design Assistance Program.

“As the primary ‘face’ of our communities, the downtowns don’t always reflect the quality businesses that are in it or leave the most positive impression on visitors,” LCEDF Executive Director Kelly Larson said in a press release obtained by the Lincoln Sentinel. “It’s the LCEDF’s goal this summer though, to make some major strides in turning that around.”

Interested businesses and organizations must apply by May 25. A list of requirements, selection criteria, and the application can be found online at the Live Lincoln County website.

Two interns, an architecture student from the University of Kansas and an interior design student from Kansas State University, will assist with this project over the course of their internships, which is May 31-Aug. 12.

“I see [the interns] working on all the projects together,” Larson said in a recent interview with the Lincoln Sentinel.

The interns will work together to give advice and recommendations to the business or organization owners over the summer in regards to the specific building.

The interns assist the businesses or organizations that are chosen with improvements both on the inside and outside of the buildings.

“We have a great opportunity to go inside the building and help with that as well, but definitely we want to make sure there’s exterior improvements—that’s the top priority,” Larson said.

She said the building renovations will follow historic preservation guidelines as well.

In addition, “a grant, up to $5,000, must be matched by the owner,” Larson said in the release. “The grant is a reimbursement of expenses after the project is completed and the project must be completed within a year of receiving the design assistance.”

“There’s a timeline to that,” she said.

The goal is to select five businesses or organizations to participate in this new initiative, Larson said.

“I’m excited about the projects and the people who are thinking about it,” she said.

At the end of the summer, prior to the interns departing Lincoln County, Larson said she hopes to host an open house event for Lincoln County individuals to see the ideas they come up with for the various businesses and organizations that are chosen.

“Hopefully it is exciting to other people and … builds more momentum for more improvements later on,” Larson said.

Individuals with questions about the program can contact Larson at (785) 524-8954 or lcedfdirector@outlook.com.