Udall nabs block grant

Officials from the City of Udall were recently presented with a Community Development Block Grants check by the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The City of Udall has been awarded a $494,360 in Community Development Block Grants from the Kansas Department of Commerce to help build a combined wellness center and library, it was announced on Thursday.

The city will contribute $474,360 which they secured through a USDA Rural Development loan.

Udall Mayor Steve Brown said the library and wellness center will be on the southwest corner of Main and First streets in downtown Udall. The site is the former location of an old gas station that was torn down.

Brown said the library currently shares space with the town historical museum. The wellness center will be available 24 hours a day. For a small fee, people can join and will get a key card so they can have access.

Construction is expected to start in 2021, with the project scheduled to close in 2022. City officials will meet with architects to finalize plans before construction begins.

Brown said one of his goals as mayor is rebuilding downtown Udall. Buildings have been lost to condemnation, and the library/fitness center will be the first new downtown building in 30 or 40 years, he said.

Residents have been wanting a new, standalone library in a central location for a long time, and finally getting one means a lot to people.

“The majority of Udall citizens are excited to see this project start to come to fruition,” Brown said.

The CDBG program allows the Department of Commerce to distribute federal funds to Kansas cities and counties looking to improve their communities, according to a press release. CDBG funds are one of Commerce’s primary tools in supporting the state’s small, predominantly rural communities. Each community awarded has a population less than 50,000.

“Quality of life is key to economic development,” Commerce Secretary David Toland said in a press release. “This investment in critical infrastructure helps keep communities like Udall competitive as they work to retain and recruit residents and businesses. Gov. Kelly and I are proud to support projects in rural communities across our state.”

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