On Monday night, the Sedalia City Council heard from Downtown Specialist Raeanne Spears, who detailed a PEP Grant that is designed to help revitalize the downtown Sedalia area.

PEP (People Energizing Places) is a grant available through Missouri Main Street Connection, with MMSC providing 75 percent, or $28,800, and the City of Sedalia providing 25 percent, or $9,600.

Spears needed a resolution from the Council to authorize the submission of the grant application. The resolution was approved unanimously.

Through PEP, the MMSC will work with the Sedalia community to:

*Revitalize or establish a downtown program
*Determine strategies, following a four-point approach designed by MMSC
*Help identify funding sources
*Develop action plans for up to three years
*Provide additional customized services

Spears noted that the PEP Grant will aid in creating organizational structure and establish a unified vision for downtown.

“So basically, what this grant will do is provide services from Missouri Main Street Connection to get our downtown program officially established and to create that unified vision,” Spears told KSIS. “Because right now, it's a lot of different people pulling in different directions, so we need aid and figuring out what it is we want, and what fits our population, what fits our visitors and our volunteers and our stakeholders and creating that downtown for them.”

It's something that will sustain Sedalia for a long time, Spears said. “So it's creating the foundation to lay other projects and different aspects of downtown Sedalia we want to take further,” she added.

“It's a jump start,” Spears noted of the $38,400 grant. “This will give (downtown) the jolt that it needs to get everybody moving on the same page.”

The grant was made aware to Spears by MMSC representatives. “This was brought up to me, and I thought it fit our demographic very well, and could be very useful for our downtown,” Spears said, adding that she's not too worried about being approved for the PEP grant.

“There is a little bit of competition, but I've been reassured that we have a very high chance of securing it, so I'm really not worried about it,” Spears stated, adding that there have been many successful programs launched through the PEP grant. “Joplin is currently doing one, and MMSC kind of compares us to Joplin, because even though they do have a bigger population, they seem to have a similar model to what we're working with in Sedalia. Joplin is setting a good precedent for us.”

Spears, who will be the grant writer, said she is excited to see it happen. “And I think this is the shot in the arm that we need,” she concluded.

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