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Towns see no changes ahead with Main Street programs





PHILLIPSBURG -- The end of the Kansas Main Street program came as a surprise to area members of the organization.

"It was very abrupt," Kera Nuckolls, executive director of Discover Phillipsburg Main Street, said of the notification the office received Thursday.

Discontinuing the state program's isn't likely to have much effect on day-to-day operations, though. The organization's funding comes from local members, the city of Phillipsburg, Phillips County and local foundations, she said.

It also partners with the chamber of commerce and Phillips County Economic Development.

Phillipsburg joined the state's Main Street program in 2008. Since then, a total of $24,230 has been loaned to seven businesses through the state's Incentives Without Walls program.

The board is meeting Monday, but Nuckolls said she doesn't expect the program closure to have much impact.

Much of the work to improve the community has been through volunteer efforts.

However, the program offered workshops in areas of interest such as merchandising and some technical assistance such as architectural advice on business facades. That assistance will be lost.

"Because Discover Phillipsburg Main Street is also a National Main Street city, we are still considered a true Main Street community," Nuckolls wrote in an email. "This is important because we haven't lost our Main Street title."

Russell Main Street Inc. also will continue to operate and belong to the national organization.

Main Street programs are freestanding organizations, according to a Russell Main Street Inc. news release.

"Russell Main Street is saddened by the immediate and sudden decision to cut the state Main Street program. ... Russell Main Street Inc. is still in place and will continue to operate as normal," Jeannine Byers-Long, Russell Main Street president, wrote in the release.

Russell Main Street also collaborates with Russell County Economic Development and Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Russell Area Chamber of Commerce.