Wednesday was “a excellent working day for tourism in Topeka,” explained Sean Dixon, the president of Check out Topeka Inc.
He declared the condition of Kansas experienced awarded $3.75 million in grant funding for spot improvement at downtown Topeka’s Structure Hall, which was the internet site of events that assisted condition this nation’s background.
The state also awarded $3 million for that identical goal to Good friends of the Topeka Zoo, which manages the zoo in Gage Park, said zoo director Brendan Wiley.
$100 million in grants was available
The zoo and Structure Corridor are among recipients benefiting from the state’s “Building a Stronger Economic climate” grant method, which helps support infrastructure progress and advance economic progress prospects throughout Kansas.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced in January that the point out would make $100 million in federal COVID-19 reduction funding available to facilitate the completion of initiatives that qualify underneath the prerequisites of the American Rescue Approach Act.
Applicants had to doc how the COVID-19 pandemic delayed or otherwise negatively afflicted their projects. Recipients will be demanded to match 25% of the funding they get.
How will Structure Hall use its cash?
The award to Constitution Corridor closes “a substantial funding gap for us,” said Dixon, who sits on the board for Friends of the Cost-free Point out Capitol, an firm functioning toward opening that building at 427-429 S. Kansas Ave. as a vacationer attraction.
That award “very a great deal puts us in achieve of remaining ready to get this open to the public in the near expression,” he said.
Even though significant perform has been accomplished to the structure’s exterior, the grant dollars “would permit us to get the inside done,” Dixon mentioned.
The funding introduced Wednesday will be utilised to carry out work involving flooring, ceiling, utilities and insulation, as very well as putting in demanded elevators, Dixon reported.
“This will effectively get the inside of the building up to where by we want it to be for thing to consider for museum and collecting place,” he claimed.
Constitution Hall, which is two tales tall and has a basement, was built in 1855 of indigenous stone and timber. It is on the National Sign-up of Historic Spots.
Constitution Corridor grew to become a focus of controversy following Missourians crossed the border in huge numbers throughout the Kansas Territory’s very first election in March 1855 to vote illegally while electing a territorial Legislature that was professional-slavery.
That Legislature was regarded by the federal governing administration.
Kansas opposed to slavery responded by keeping a conference in 1855 at Structure Hall and adopting their have structure, which was accredited by the general public in an election professional-slavery advocates failed to figure out.
A absolutely free-state Legislature was elected and began meeting in March 1856 at Constitution Corridor.
The U.S. Military dispersed that Legislature on July 4, 1856, at the buy of President Franklin Pierce.
Just after Kansas turned a state in 1861, Legislators met in Structure Corridor till the recent Statehouse was occupied.
How will FOTZ use its grant dollars?
The grant dollars awarded to FOTZ will be utilised to comprehensive infrastructure perform on the giraffe facility it really is developing and extend parking on the southwest facet of the zoo, Wiley explained.
The dollars may well also be applied to create an “celebration lawn” where by the present-day giraffe show stands, he reported.
“If we can stretch the spending plan out enough, it would also develop a hearth office entry push along a part of the east aspect of the zoo,” he claimed.
Announcement came in the course of time of travel meeting convention
Dixon mentioned that from a basic tourism standpoint, he felt thrilled that Wednesday’s announcement comes at the exact same time the once-a-year African-American Travel Convention is currently being held in Topeka.
That meeting started Tuesday and runs by way of Thursday at Hotel Topeka at Metropolis Heart, 1717 S.W. Topeka Blvd.
The AATC is an association of 2,500 vacation planners serving the African-American neighborhood, its web site states.
A small team of contributors from the meeting was anticipated to check out Constitution Hall Wednesday afternoon, Dixon said.
Tim Hrenchir can be reached at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.