Park, KS Launches New Community Website

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June 8, 2015: Park, KS has launched a new community website on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, an online network for small towns, at: http://lovesmalltownamerica.com/parkks.php

Park, KS, home of Don Kinderknecht, Entertainer and Voice Over Artist, gains another powerful tool for Park to recruit new residents and support existing businesses by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

Park’s new website features community information, a community calendar, photo gallery, business pages, job listings, real estate listings, and more.

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Featured Organization: Grainfield’s American Legion A Place for Patriotism, Fun

A Flag waves 24/7 outside the Grainfield American Legion

A flag waves 24/7 outside the Grainfield Kansas American Legion. Image courtesy of social_d via Creative Commons License.

At the Grainfield, KS American Legion (George M. Scott Post 301), visitors can count on three things: food, fellowship, and fun. The American Legion’s webpage on Love Small Town America highlights the heritage of the local chapter.

Grainfield’s Legion Post in Grainfield, Kansas was named in honor of George M. Scott who died October 15, 1918 in France during the First World War. He was the first Gove County soldier to die in the war and is buried at the Gove Cemetery. The Legion was chartered in December of 1920 and currently has 64 members. This organization honors Veterans by providing a Color Guard at funerals and at Memorial Day Services.

Special events offer opportunities for community members to enjoy fellowship. On the last Wednesday of each  month, the American Legion hosts a Stag/Stagette supper. Bingo enthusiasts get their weekly fix each Sunday. A special Father’s Day Dinner celebrates dads. All events are listed on the Grainfield calendar and visitors are always welcome.

The American Legion building is a point of pride for the organization, known for being clean and well kept. It’s the perfect spot to host small town gatherings in Grainfield, where, in the words of American Legion representative Marvin Beougher, “Everybody knows everyone else. It’s very friendly.”

It’s worth a trip to Grainfield to visit the American Legion, where the flag flies outside 24/7 and visitors are always welcome in this friendly community.

Want the world to know about how great your group is? Businesses and organizations from participating Love Small Town America communities are eligible to be featured in an upcoming blog post. Get free publicity for your business, organization, or event as part of the Love Small Town America family. Contact us for more information! 

Rural Opportunity Zones

Rural Opportunity Zones are Kansas counties offering incentives for individuals to relocate, including tax breaks and student loan forgiveness. Interested in the ROZ website scholarship? Click here. 

The program was created by the Kansas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback in the summer of 2011. The incentives took effect beginning January 1, 2012 and are still going strong in the first quarter of 2014, attracting hundreds of applicants from across the nation.

We here at Love Small Town America have been enthusiastic supporters of this measure since its inception and we continue to partner with the ROZ to help participating Kansas counties share what they have to offer with the world. Soon, we hope to have many ROZ counties online here at LSTA, so you can compare side by side what small town schools, job opportunities, real estate listings, community events, and more each county has to offer and make an informed choice about which county would make the best new home.

Rural Opportunity Zone Counties on Love Small Town America

Rural Opportunity Zone Website Scholarship

From now until July 15, 2014 communities (towns and/or counties) that are participating in the ROZ program and have a population of 5,000 or fewer can apply for a free LSTA website. Learn more.

Size Qualification
ROZ counties with a total population of less than 5,000, or communities within an ROZ county with a population of less than 5,000 (regardless of county size) can apply for a website scholarship.

Can my city and county apply for an ROZ website scholarship? YES. Last year, for example, Hoxie and Sheridan County were both awarded ROZ website scholarships.

Rural Opportunity Zones Information
The Kansas Department of Commerce offers additional information about the Rural Opportunity Zones, including a clickable map. They also state the following about the ROZ:

There’s something special about life in rural Kansas. Something authentic and wholesome. Something that makes it the ideal place to live, work and raise a family. And thanks to the new Rural Opportunity Zones program, there’s never been a better time than now to make rural Kansas your new home.

Rural Opportunity Zones are 73 counties that have been authorized to offer one or both of the following financial incentives to new full-time residents:

  • Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years
  • Student loan repayments up to $15,000

To find out if you are eligible for the incentives or to explore the ROZ further, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website now.

Rural Opportunity Zones – On the Blog
Read up on the Rural Opportunity Zones program through our blog:

Rural Opportunity Zones Website Scholarship
If you are a member of a ROZ, you may have found your way to our website through the ROZ website scholarship application. Welcome to Love Small Town America. As you can see, we believe in growing a bright future for small town America and we’re passionate about sharing the advantages of rural life with the world. It’s important to have a professional, comprehensive web presence to communicate your assets to your online audience; especially since you’re recruiting new residents! We’re happy to answer any of your questions about Love Small Town America as you prepare your scholarship application. Click here to learn more about the website scholarship and joining LSTA.

The scholarship covers:

  • A 1-year contract for creation and maintenance of a custom website on Love Small Town America for the applying community or county at our annual update package level (a $225 value).
  • If you would like additional updates or to add additional pages, we’re happy to provide a custom package for you. Any charges beyond $225 will not be covered by the scholarship.

Questions? E-mail us at info@lovesmalltownamerica.com

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Rural Opportunity Zone Incentives Take Effect January 1, 2012

Would you like to move to a small town? How would you like to move to a small town and pay no income tax for 5 years and get help paying off your student loans? Well, who wouldn’t want that?! If you live outside the state of Kansas and are dying to call a small Kansas town “home”, you may qualify to take advantage of an ingenious new incentive program that is luring people to the heartland.

Small towns in Kansas have taken the Rural Opportunity Zones program and run with it. This program is a creative way to help people take advantage of the benefits of small town living while giving rural counties in Kansas an incentive to attract young professionals and families and reverse the rural brain drain. The program benefits took action as of January 1, 2012.

From the Kansas Department of Commerce: On April 11, 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) program. ROZs are designed to reverse dramatic population declines over the past decade in rural areas of Kansas. The program is a central component of a broader plan by the Brownback Administration to spur economic development and expand job growth in 50 counties around the state. The program took effect July 1, 2011.

With two attractive incentives, moving to a small town just got a lot more enticing. A state income tax exemption applies to individuals moving to an ROZ from outside the state. Forty-four of the fifty participating counties are offering a student loan forgiveness program as well that could net participants up to $15,000 off of their outstanding college loans.

Kansas reported a slight increase in population for the year 2011. By December, more than 150 people had already applied for the ROZ program, so we may see that number continue to rise. Most of the people who leave Kansas move to Texas and the Governor links this out-migration with income taxes. The idea is that ROZs offer an opportunity for Kansas to compete with states that offer more aggressive tax situations.

Gove County, home of the LSTA headquarters in Grainfield (and LSTA towns Park and Quinter), opted in to the ROZ program at the end of December and we are very excited about welcoming some new residents to our wonderful communities to enjoy small town living! The decision to participate in the ROZ means that Gove County (and all the other ROZ counties) are choosing to embrace change and take brave steps to a brighter future. It’s not an easy step – but we think it is a good one.

We hope we see more of these kinds of incentives: programs that support small towns, bring growth to rural areas, and give people the chance to create their own opportunities.

For more information on the program or to apply to move to a Rural Opportunity Zone, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

ROZs-designated counties are Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson