Lincolnville earns KANSTEP grant

Lincolnville community members began sharpening their tools last week when they got word they’d been awarded a KANSTEP (Kansas Small Towns Environment Program) grant to build a new community center.

“They will provide 60 percent of the funds, and then the community provides the labor,” Lincolnville City Clerk Jane Pigorsch said. “We provide our 40 percent in sweat equity.”

KANSTEP is designed to help small communities with major projects. It provides the materials and professional services for the project, and the community provides the leadership and volunteers to do the work.

Pigorsch said Donnie Marrs, a state appointed architect from Salina would draw up the plans for the new building.

“He has 10 days to contact the city to come and get our final plans of what we would like to have in the building,” she said. “And then within 30 days he needs to bring the plans and the cost estimates back to the City of Lincolnville.”

A core committee was formed to coordinate decisions and serve as an intermediary between community members and professionals assigned to the project.

Committee members include Pigorsch, Brian Owens, Gail Makovec, Glenn Carlson, Anita Svoboda John Chizek and Dave Schneider. Schneider is the coordinator or “spark plug” for the program.

The community was invited to submit ideas for the new building, and core committee members then distilled those ideas into a comprehensive plan.

“We have to be able to tell the architect exactly what we want-what kind of lighting, what type of siding, what type of roofing, how many bathrooms, how many ceiling fans and doors-to give him some kind of idea of where to go with his cost estimates,” Pigorsch said.

Plans for the project also include the demolition of the existing community center that suffers a variety of ills, including a crack that runs the entire length of the building.

Pigorsch said they are targeting May 1 to begin demolition.

“We’re trying to shoot for that,” she said. “As of May 1, there will be no further bookings for rental of the building.”

Pigorsch said once the cost of the new building is estimated, they may have to modify some of their plans if the volunteer commitment does not equal at least 40 percent of the total cost.

“If we don’t have the 40 percent sweat equity, then we start whittling away on the building,” she said. “Say if we go in with a 50-foot-by-80-foot building, maybe all our sweat equity will allow is a 40-foot-by-70-foot. Or say we figured on a brick front-we may just have to go with a siding front.”

Pigorsch said they were pleased with the number of people who signed up to help with the project.

Marilyn Graham with the Kansas department of Commerce and Housing complimented them on their well-rounded volunteer list.

“Marilyn said this was one of the best lists that she’s ever seen because we’ve got most of the facets of the building covered,” said Pigorsch.

“With us being a small rural community with a lot of farmers, you can’t go out and hire and pay these big plumbing and electrician prices, so you basically learn to do it on your own.

“We’ve got 143 people on the volunteer list,” she said. “We’re pretty excited.”

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