Local governments receive grants for businesses

Jonathan Riley

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Several city and county governments in Southeast Kansas have been awarded funding for meal programs and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Laura Kelly announced in a press release late Tuesday.

“Kansans have faced unprecedented challenges during the past few months due to COVID-19,” Kelly said in the release. “Our communities need relief – and they need it now. I’m pleased to announce additional resources to help Kansans navigate through the recovery process. These grants will help our communities rebuild their economies and support Kansas families.”

Statewide, almost $9 million in Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response Supplement (CDBG-CV) funding was awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to 66 local governments. The funding will be made available to those entities for distribution to qualifying meal programs as well as to businesses that have suffered financially because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has left many communities searching for resources to support their residents and businesses,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The CDBG-CV award provides cities and counties the ability to determine where the greatest need in their community lies and to provide some relief as we move into the recovery phase of the crisis.”

In Crawford County, governmental bodies including the county itself as well as the City of Pittsburg and City of Girard are receiving more than $470,000. Pittsburg, which applied for $400,000, is receiving $170,300, while Girard is receiving $169,200. County Clerk Don Pyle said Wednesday that Girard’s application included the broader area served by Girard Unified School District 248, which could account for the much smaller city receiving almost as much money as Pittsburg.

Crawford County itself, like nearby Allen, Bourbon, and Labette counties, will receive $132,000. Cherokee and Neosho counties will each receive $169,000, while nearby cities outside of Crawford County including Parsons, Fort Scott and Chanute will each receive $132,000, bringing the total for the six county region to more than $1.6 million.

Crawford County officials had discussed the possibility that Arma and Frontenac would also apply for funding separately, although Arma did not end up applying. Arma City Clerk Bette Lessen said she surveyed local businesses and although some hairdressers may want to apply for county funding, there was only one other business in town that felt it needed grant funding, so the city decided not to apply.

Frontenac did apply for $300,000, however, but was not on the list released Tuesday of governments awarded grants.

“It was on a first-come, first-served basis, you know, and I think we were just a little bit late on applying for it,” Frontenac City Administrator John Zafuta said Wednesday, adding that the city did not apply for meal program funding because it did not meet the low- and moderate-income requirements.

Zafuta and Pyle both said that because Frontenac submitted an application of its own for CDBG-CV funding, they did not expect that local businesses in Frontenac would be eligible for CDBG-CV funds awarded to Crawford County.

Businesses and meal programs that may be eligible for the grant funding can contact their local county or city governments for more information on how to apply.