KanStep: Community Development Block Grant Program
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- The Kansas Small Towns Environment Program (KanStep) is designed to help Kansas
communities with an acknowledged community improvement problem in water, sewer,
the local level. KanStep provides direction, technical assistance, guidance, and
support to help make it happen. Thus, self-help is achieved at a substantial savings -
at least 40 percent-over the otherwise marketplace price.
- Many smaller communities throughout Kansas cannot afford high construction costs
without raising taxes, issuing bonds, or increasing water and sewer rates to
unmanageable levels. Without long-term loans or limited grants, the only solution must
be to lower the cost of the project. One way to do this is to return to the days of
neighbor-helping-neighbor. Self-help requires communities to evaluate what parts of a
project they can complete on their own. Many communities do not realize the various
skills and equipment their neighbors and local government have available until they
begin the process. The community acts as the general contractor, organizing local
labor and equipment, and coordinating work that needs to be done by a subcontractor.
- KanStep engaged the expertise and experience of The Rensselaerville Institute (TRI)
outside Albany, New York, to make self-help feasible for interested communities i
Kansas. TRI has assisted small communities throughout the country in self-help since
1984. Currently, 17 states are receiving advice and support from TRI using STEP
(Small Towns Environmental Program).
- Instead of the usual method of applying for a grant and starting with the resources
what local resources can be brought to the project, choice of technology, and other
cost reducers as compared to full retail costs. A grant then provides gap financing, if