The Facades of Louisburg Improvement Program (FLIP) is continuing for another year in the city of Louisburg, with a change that will allow for more homeowner participation, Louisburg officials said.

FLIP provides grant dollars for residents or business owners to make improvements to the front of their homes or businesses. The Louisburg City Council recently approved extending the program into 2021 for commercial and residential properties but with a change in qualifications for residential applicants. Under the old program, homes had to be valued under $175,000. Beginning in 2021, homes that are valued at $197,750 or under will be eligible for the program.

“The change in valuation will be great news to many homeowners in Louisburg,” Mayor Marty Southard said. “Since the program’s inception in 2018, home valuation in the city has gone up 13 percent. The City Council decided to increase the valuation requirements the same amount. This will allow more of the city’s residents to take advantage of FLIP.”

Council members learned during their Nov. 2 meeting that three homeowners in the past two years were denied as their homes were valued over the $175,000 threshold, and one of those homes was only over by $3,390.

“FLIP started with the revitalization of the historic downtown area, and City Council and staff wanted to give others in the community the opportunity to give their home or business a facelift too,” Southard said.

To date nine businesses and 33 residences have been awarded $30,521.91 in grants and have made more than $166,000 in improvements to their storefronts or homes, according to a city news release.

Applications are available on the city’s website, www.louisburgkansas.gov, under the News & Announcement section on the homepage.

Under the residential program, residents get a dollar-for-dollar match up to $500 for improvements that range from new doors and windows to exterior siding and painting, according to the release. Concrete work such as a new driveway, stoop or sidewalk or foundation repair is also eligible as is landscaping or lighting. Check the application for additional requirements and a complete list of eligible repairs.

The residential program is open on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is depleted, according to the city. The Council has allocated $10,000 for FLIP-Residential.

Returning residents Steve and Belinda Alexander took advantage of FLIP when they moved back to Louisburg after living on the East Coast for several years. They learned of the program from their realtor.

“The application was easy to fill out and submit through email and the check came quickly when the work was complete,” Belinda Alexander said. “It’s a great program, easy to apply for. What a great incentive to update your home and improve your curb appeal.”

The commercial program is open to all businesses inside the city limits and can include items such as exterior painting, brick tucking, window and door replacement, signage and lighting.

Businesses are eligible for a reimbursement up to 40 percent of the project costs although the city’s reimbursable amount will not exceed $2,500. The business applications are also available on the city’s website, and there are a few other eligibility requirements that must be met.

Each business application is scored by the Miami County Economic Development staff and the scoring metric is available in the program details and application. The program is open on a first-come, first-served basis, and City Council has allocated $15,000 for FLIP-Commercial.

The Louisburg Senior Center took advantage of FLIP earlier this year to make some improvements to the building.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for the Louisburg Senior Center to improve the look of our entrance area and the front of our building,” Rhonda Kerr, the center’s director, said. “FLIP helped us to be able to afford to make these improvements and the process was very easy. We had the assistance from the city when a question came up. I would definitely recommend this to others, and we would consider applying again.”

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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