Salina’s Main Street Renovation project received further backing from the Salina City Council at their meeting held Wednesday, January 12. Carol Lowman, President of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, was given permission by the council to apply for a CIB grant to further the work begun by a recent USDA grant.
According to Lowman, Salina was awarded $11,000 from the USDA to be used towards Main Street Restoration. The funds paid for a comprehensive survey and recommendations, called a downtown roadmap, which was presented to the Mayor and Council Wednesday night. The CIB grant which the Main Street committee is now applying for can be used to update the City’s General Plan, an Economic Action Plan, and Scenario Planning. The CIB grant, however, requires matching funds, but the study and work completed with funds from the USDA grant, can be used for this purpose.
The State of Utah requires each city to regularly update their General Plan, and it is time for Salina City to do so. The CIB grant will help do that. The general plan is the community guidance document that will prepare a strategy or set of goals that the community will work towards over the next ten years. In the case of Salina, it is recommended that an implementable general plan is prepared, combining the residents’ vision elements into a series of actionable items. Through this process, the council will be able to be making changes in the community from day one. This style of the general plan is based on public input, surveying, and other feedback, all of which have been partially completed during the downtown roadmap process. The Main Street Revitalization Committee would use this information to quickly prepare a general plan that meets all municipal planning codes yet is concise and easily implementable.
An economic development action plan provides strategies for the community or municipality to undertake. This task is commonly completed as part of a general plan update and appended to the overall document as an appendix or supportive section. This plan will identify a series of strategies and recommendations that will help diversify the local economy, outline the impact each agency/program element will have, and document the process or milestones for implementation. This plan will support the general plan and reinforce the decisions made with financial projections.
Funds from the CIB grant can also be used for scenario planning, which is preparing a series of scenarios that will highlight the highest and best use for each property. This process is often called a feasibility study or preliminary architectural report. At the end of this report, each site will be provided with a scenario of ideal build-out that is built on the unique characteristics of each property or building, highlighting potential jobs to be created, end-users to be facilitated in the structure, tax generation projections, and other economic development metrics. This report can then be utilized by business owners or property owners as a template for their business plan to acquire outside funding or private development to implement the project. This task can be cut down by the total amount of properties or total costs depending on funding allocation.
The council agreed that the Main Street Committee proceed with the grant application and pledged support to the project.