PRIDE grant denied again

Staff writer

A list of Kansas Department of Transportation grants published Tuesday once again did not include Marion.

Since 2011, PRIDE has been applying for a grant to beautify downtown. Grants have included plans to bury electric cables, to develop a lot between Zimmerman’s and St. Luke Auxiliary Shoppe into a park or paint murals on the sides of buildings, to replace downtown lighting, to redo sidewalks to include bricks or brick stamping, and to perform other improvements.

The grant, applied for in January, would have provided nearly $950,000 for revitalization, with the city paying nearly $250,000.

“Well, shoot,” PRIDE member Sally Hannaford said Tuesday after finding the application had been denied. “I was hoping that this time we had a good shot of it.”

PRIDE members and city leaders thought they had a better chance of receiving the grant after changing their application to include the library. It previously only included only Main St. between Elm and Second Sts. Eighty residents, led by Mayor Todd Heitschmidt and City Administrator Roger Holter, attempted to make downtown look “busier” when KDOT conducted a site visit in April. Previous rejections were blamed in part on not enough people being around when KDOT visited.

KDOT this year awarded 20 grants out of 43 applications received.

Both Hannaford and Holter said they would apply for the same grant next year and make changes to the application as needed.

“It changes the scope each ear as to the criteria they’re looking for to support,” Holter said. “We were going to use this to really accelerate the downtown.”

The goal is to help give downtown Marion a more historic look and feel, Holter said. Some of the improvements still can be made as PRIDE and city budgets allow.

“We’ll have to sit down and re-evaluate and see what we want to do and what we can afford,” Hannaford said.

 

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