Kansas Governor Laura Kelly made a stop in Atchison Tuesday afternoon to visit the NEK Shot of Hope collaborative and to make an announcement that will hopefully boost prosperity for the town and other communities in the state.

Gov. Kelly visited with sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery, Amberwell Health and Atchison County officials during her visit to the vaccine event at the Sophia Spirituality Center located on the Mount campus.

Prioress Sister Esther Fangmann OSB, and Director Wesley Lanter, of Atchison County Emergency Management, accompanied Gov. Kelly, and explained the process to her. Some Amberwell nurses also explained the procedures at the various stations. Patients receive their vaccines according to schedule and then the booster shots are scheduled before they leave the clinic.

Gov. Kelly assured Atchison County Commission members, Lanter and Amberwell staff members that more vaccines will be forthcoming for the community.

Prior to jaunt to the vaccine clinic, Gov. Kelly announced Atchison has been selected as one of the three cities to be accepted into the Main Street Program. Baldwin City and Junction City are the other two cities accepted into the renewed program.

March is Women’s History Month, Gov. Kelly said. Atchison is a good place to make the announcement because it is the home of Amelia Earhart.

The Kansas Main Street Program is affiliated with the National Main Street Center. It was launched in Kansas in 1985, but has been inactive after the Brownback administration ended it in 2012. Kelly’s administration put forth an effort in 2019 to reintroduce the program. Applications were sought in December of 2020. The three additions to the Main Street Program are now among the 28 cities in Kansas Main Street Program.

Kansas Main Street is a self-help technical assistance program administered by the Community Development Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce. The program targets preservation and revitalization of downtown districts through the development of a comprehensive strategy based on the four points of organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring, according to press release from Reeves Oyster, of the Kansas Office of the Governor.

“Main Street gives our communities access to key services, networking, and training opportunities,” Kelly said. “It also allows local officials to prioritize the restoration and preservation of unique, historic downtown business districts.”

Atchison Mayor Abby Bartlett welcomed all present at the announcement at the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce headquarters in the Santa Fe Depot. Bartlett thanked Kelly, Lt. Gov. David Toland and Scott Sewell, Secretary of the Kansas Main Street Program, for embracing Atchison’s potential.

“One of the biggest concerns we hear from Atchison businesses is that it is hard to be successful given the many demands on small business owners,” Bartlett said. “This program isn’t a magic cure, but it does provide resources and training that can have a great impact on our downtown business community.”

For more information on the Kansas Main Street program, contact Scott Sewell, Director of Kansas Main Street, at 785-296-7288 or scott.sewell@ks.gov.

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