February Update! ⛄️
• RevitalizeYC held a community meeting at the Town Hall on Saturday, February 8th, and via Facebook Live. Current projects, grant opportunities, and ways to support RevitalizeYC were the main topics at the meeting. There was also a viewing of The Rural Road video created by Steve Radley. It ended with a live question and answer session.
• With the help of the city and county, RevitalizeYC is generating a list of available commercial real-estate properties to be advertised on a national online database called Location One (LOIS). This will help advertise our properties across the nation, and attract new businesses to our area.
• Barbara Anderson, from the Kansas Department of Commerce, was onsite to discuss the First Impressions Program. First Impressions is a way to boost community vitality. It works by inviting other rural community members to explore Yates Center, and provide feedback on the community's strengths and highlights areas of concern. Yates Center will be partnered with a sister city, and members from each community become like “secret shoppers.” Afterwards, the results will be shared in a community meeting. This helps the community evaluate successes and set goals for new development.
• The Kansas PRIDE Program was also presented by Barbara Anderson. RevitalizeYC was approved as a Kansas PRIDE community in June of 2019. It's a community-based approach to improve the quality of life in Kansas communities. It encourages cities to work together to identify improvement projects such as community beautification, cultural events, infrastructure improvements, or service delivery activities. The Kansas PRIDE Program helps provide volunteers for certain projects, helps organizations like RevitalizeYC, organize, plan, and access resources to reach community goals.
• To help identify more community needs, there was an intermission to fill out a Community Assessment questionnaire. This form can be located on RevitalizeYC's website (www.revitalizeyc.com). All input is welcomed and appreciated! If you would rather fill out an assessment in person, see Ashton at the Chamber Office.
• The PRIDE Program offers a tiered grant structure. RevitalizeYC is applying for the first tier grant opportunity with an idea for beautification on the square. Last October during the Fall Festival, they had several people approach them and make comments about the lack of nice bench seating for people to enjoy sitting around the square. RevitalizeYC’s first PRIDE grant is to help fund nice cedar park benches to be placed around the town square. The cedar has been donated by local community members and the Yates Center High School Woodshop Class will be designing and building the benches. This is just one of many smaller community grants RevitalizeYC is looking to apply for through Kansas PRIDE. If you have one or two cedar trees you could donate, please contact Mike McCullough.Possible Grant/Funding Opportunities:
• More items discussed at the community meeting was the opportunity to form a land bank. A land bank focuses on the conversion of vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties into productive use. A land bank would provide the community a way to address “problem properties” that become an eyesore, destabilize neighborhoods, create fire and safety hazards, drive down property values and drain local tax dollars. For RevitalizeYC to move forward with a land bank, they are applying for a CSP grant up to $250,000. CSP is the Community Service Tax Credit Program throughout the state of Kansas.
• This program provides participants with a 70% tax credit to be used on their Kansas Income Tax Return. RevitalizeYC is asking for individuals or businesses within the community and beyond, who have a tax liability each year, to make a pledge toward the funding of a land bank. This project will not be possible without pledges and as a community we know how important it is to address the housing issues in the area. Please contact Laura Douglas or JJ Edwards for more information and to obtain a pledge letter toward the support of a land bank project.
• RevitalizeYC is also working to apply for the BCBS Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Grant. This grant focuses on six different community components and has a reward of $500,000 over the course of a four year period. Some examples of the ideas discussed for this grant are as follows and taken from the community surveys done in the summer of 2018:
• Storytelling through tourism opportunities with proper signage to direct people around the community and see what is available and what the area has to offer. • Trail Infrastructure. • A food hub, a structured farmers market, and food policy council. • Community health needs assessment. • Increase and/or improve available childcare services. • Structured food pantry to address the food desert in the area.
Ways To Support RevitalizeYC:
• There are many ways to support RevitalizeYC in their efforts. If anything you have read strikes a cord and you think, this is vital, our community needs to move forward with that, consider writing a letter of support for either the CSP or the Pathways grant. RevitalizeYC is currently accepting pledges for the CSP application, so if you, or a business has a tax liability each year, you have an opportunity to support the land bank project to address the housing needs/concerns within the community. RevitalizeYC is encouraging locals as well as other Kansas based businesses in the state to participate and consider pledging toward this project.
• Currently, RevitalizeYC has an opportunity to partner with a Community Development Consultant who would research state, federal, and private foundations as well as endowments to secure a funder that would support the revitalization initiative long-term. Their fundraising goal for this consultant is $7,000. They are asking specifically for people to donate monetarily to this and believe having a secured funder would be a game changer for the community and would provide proper staffing as they move forward.
• Other ways to support RevitalizeYC is by participating in local fundraisers, purchasing a t-shirt to show your hometown spirit at TradeWinds or Cornerstone Bakery or by volunteering. Amazon donates 0.5% of purchases when you sign up and use Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com), with RevitalizeYC as your designated charitable organization. Memorial contributions, legacy gifts to honor a loved one, bequests, gifts of stock, property or land, are just a few more ways to offer support. In addition, you can donate by going online to www.revitalizeyc.com, and provide a one time gift or participate in our monthly giving plan.If you missed the community meeting, it can be watched on RevitalizeYC's Facebook page.