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Girard Downtown Renovation - KOAM TV 7

Girard Downtown Renovation

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GIRARD, KANSAS -

When J.B. Skaggs sees a piece of wood, he sees potential. He also sees potential when he walks through Girard's downtown. 

Skaggs opened his woodworking shop on the Girard square in February. He expects the planned streetscaping will make buildings like his in demand this time next year. 

"It's gonna end up making the buildings more valuable," Skaggs said. "And it's gonna end up helping my business."

The one and a half million dollar project will replace sidewalks, streetlights, street signs, remove hanging power lines. Even replace benches and install trash cans along the downtown square. 

"Myself and other community members have teamed together to say, 'how can we make this a maximum impact? The city is investing a lot of money. What else can we do?'," Executive Director of the Girard Area Chamber of Commerce Julie Smith said. The chamber wants to encourage businesses on the square to join in on the revitalization by offering small matching grants for fixing store fronts and facades. 

If recent, single-building restoration projects are any indication, Smith believes the investment will pull more small businesses downtown. 

"With empty buildings that are renovated and advertised we've been able to see a pretty quick turn around in putting new business in there," Smith said. 

"These small towns.. there's a lot of history," Skaggs said. "A lot of blood and sweat went into them. And it just makes for a better quality of living when you've got a vibrant, exciting downtown."

According to the city, KDOT is providing roughly $1.1 million towards the streetscape project. The city's contribution is about $415,000.

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