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Main Street Program to help restore and maintain Girard Square

GIRARD, Ks. — The main square has been one, if not the most memorable locations in cities like Girard, it’s a center for shops, food and business.

However, a major obstacle current and new businesses face is the maintenance of the buildings which house them, but there could soon be some help.

“In order to have jobs and people who want to live here, and come back to Girard, we need a healthy square. We need businesses here, a place to shop, just all around it starts with the square,”
says Mark Schifferdecker, GNBank President & CEO.

Maintaining the historic buildings in the Girard square has been a major goal for the city, and thanks to a recent award, it could see an old program emerge in a new way.

“We used to have a small façade grant program and we wanted to expand that, the problem was we didn’t have any money, and then the T-Mobile grant came up and we wrote that, and then we actually got nominated,” says Johanna O’Brien, Girard City Administrator, “We didn’t get awarded the big one but we did get the 50 thousand dollar hometown grant.”

On top of new banners, speaker system and potential electric car charging stations, the city will be establishing a Main Street Program.

“We thought we would put that into a grant program for businesses on the square to restore buildings or maintenance on buildings,” says O’Brien.

The city began looking for people to get involved and while it was gathering input from stockholders, one of the businesses on the square decided to get involved.

“We donated 150 thousand dollars to help revitalize the square,” says Mark Schifferdecker, “Our bank has been here for 103 years in Girard, in this very same location on the square. So I got to talking with some others at the bank, some others on the board, and we thought, why don’t we get together with the city and see if we can help out in a small way.”

Before too long, one of the biggest obstacles for many businesses will have some help.

“Lots of small towns that have squares that have the old buildings have, they’re very expensive to maintain and that was the piece that we were really missing, the help with the funding,” says O’Brien “So I think by spring we’ll be going and accepting applications for the grant.”

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