Norton City/County

Economic Development


Norton City/County Economic Development is a countywide partnership dedicated to enhancing the economic strength of the county by recruiting new employers, retaining existing employers and improving the quality of life for all of Norton County. Norton City/County Economic Development assists businesses in all areas of Economic Development.

Norton County Economic Development

Contact Info

Norton City/County Economic Development
205 S State Street
Norton, KS 67654
Office: 785.874.4816
Fax: 785.874.4817


, Executive Director

Verla Grysh, Administrative Coordinator

The office can provide assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs in areas listed below (but not limited to):

  • Relocation to or within Norton County
  • Product or business model assistance
  • Workforce recruitment
  • Sale of a business
  • Development of a business
  • Financing resources

Norton City/County Economic Development meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:45pm in the economic development office, 205 S. State Street in Norton. In the rare case that the meeting time, location or date are changed, the public is notified through The Norton Telegram.

Prior to the meeting, the director submits a monthly report to the board of directors. This improves communication and shortens the length of the meetings. Please click on the links below  to read the minutes and director reports for prior months:


Due to the vacant executive director position, there was no Director Report for January or February. February meeting minutes will be available after approval at the March meeting.

———————–                 January meeting minutes

December Director Report    December meeting minutes 









In late 2014, community leaders from all entities met to discuss their needs in order to create a comprehensive community strategy. The Norton County community continues to plan and implement positive changes in our county based on a strategic planning and doing process that is implemented and updated year after year. This plan drives funding and projects in this county. The 2015 and 2016 Community Worksheets are available here.

Strategic Doing Community Worksheet

All files are saved in the PDF format. If you have difficulty viewing the documents, please contact the Norton City/County Economic Development office at or call 785.874.4816.

The Norton County Neighborhood Revitalization Plan is no longer in effect as of November 13, 2017.









The Norton County Demolition Program may be used in conjunction with the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan,  if all requirements for both programs are met.

Application and Details

After completing the application, please return it to the Norton County Clerk.

The following organizations or utility providers manage revolving loan funds to help new and existing businesses in Norton County. Please utilize the following contact information to receive an application. Norton City/County Economic Development is available to assist with the application process and/or business plan writing.


Norton Development Corporation

First State Bank

c/o John Englebert

105 W Main Street

Norton, KS  67654



Norton County

c/o Robert Wyatt

105 S Kansas Street

Norton, KS  67654



Nex-Tech / Rural Telephone Service Company, Inc.

c/o Mendi Alexander

2418 Vine Street

Hays, KS  67601



Prairie Land Electric

c/o Barry Madden

1101 W Highway 36

Norton, KS  67654



Midwest Energy

c/o Bob Muirhead

1330 Canterbury Street

Hays, KS  67601



Pioneer Country Development

SBA Lender

c/o Randall Hrabe

219 N Pomeroy Street

PO Box 248

Hill City, KS  67642


Business Plan Outline

The Kansas Small Business Development Center, located at Fort Hays State University, is a great resource for entrepreneurs as well as existing businesses who are wanting to make changes.

The KSBDC has created a free business plan tool that is available online to assist entrepreneurs with the business planning process. Developing a business plan is the first stage in starting a business. The business plan tool includes: guide, templates and forms, professional video instruction, a brainstorm capturing feature, consulting assistance and 26 professional interactive tutorials. The business plan tool is available at

The KSBDC also offers classes and business development seminars at little or no cost. Their website is, or you may contact the center by email at or by phone at 785.628.5615.

Norton City/County Economic Development is also available to assist entrepreneurs in developing a business plan. For an appointment, please contact the office at 785.874.4816 or

Keli Habiger, Executive Director
Norton City/County Economic Development

Steps to Success

The Kansas Department of Commerce developed a “Steps to Success” guide for starting a business in Kansas.

Norton Downtown Historic District

Norton’s downtown business district received State and National Historic District designation in 2011.


Property owners in this district who want to renovate approved buildings are eligible for incentives including both state and federal tax credits, and qualification for federal and state historic preservation grants.


The district is generally bounded by East Lincoln Street on the north, East Penn Street on the south, South Norton Avenue on the east, and South First Street on the west.


The historic designation started a wave of restoration and rehabilitation activity that is still ongoing. In the last ten years approximately $6,595,000 has been invested in the Norton Downtown Historic District. The community’s commitment to reinvestment in their downtown has provided space for new commercial businesses and retail establishments to develop their markets. As a result many new businesses are locating in this area.


The Norton County Community Foundation (NCCF), Norton Downtown Restoration Committee and Norton City/County Economic Development (NCCED) have partnered to provide the resources to rehabilitate downtown Norton.


NCCED has been able to obtain grants for several non-profit business owners that in turn created new economic development opportunities. It is a vision of the community to create a healthy downtown ecosystem with a blend of for profit retail and entertainment venues.


Norton Business and Visitor Station 

One of the first restoration projects was the Norton Business and Visitor Station. This project emerged when Roger and Michael Moffet donated the former Kent Oil Company service station, located at 205 S State Street, for a community purpose. After much consideration and input from the community, it was felt the building would be best utilized as the Norton City/County Economic Development and Norton Area Chamber of Commerce/Travel and Tourism offices.


With the assistance of many individuals and organizations, improvements to the exterior of the building began in 2008 and the interior was completed in 2011. With grant funding from the Kansas State Historical Society and assistance from NCCF, Mick and Colette Miller led the renovations to the interior with the help of many individuals and businesses. This building is very eye-catching because it retains the look of a 1930’s service station. This is a great example of repurposing a building and preserving the history of downtown Norton.


Heaton Building

The largest project undertaken in downtown Norton is known as the Heaton Building, located in the middle of the block between State Street and Kansas Avenue. This 3-part building formerly held the businesses of: The Sewing Box, K&S Center, and Thunderchord Guitars on the west, Whitney Law Office and Ken Schultz Insurance Agency on the east. The Heaton Building Project was launched when Warren and Wanda Heaton generously donated the middle third of this prominent downtown building to NCCF. The south portion of the building was also donated to the foundation soon after, and NCCF acquired the north section as well.


The complete exterior restoration of this historic building began in 2011 and was critical to ensure the stability and future life of the structure. The storefronts were completely rebuilt in their original style with new materials. Interior renovations to the second floor were completed in early 2016 and all the commercial offices are filled. Construction on the main floor was completed in 2017 and includes a coffee bar, public area, retail and commercial spaces. NCCF was able to take advantage of the historic district designation status by receiving tax credits on the construction costs. This project is vital to the redevelopment of downtown Norton and the preservation of our commercial history since it is located in the center of one of the main blocks of downtown.


Whitney Law Office

Another great project was the 1905 building on the northwest corner of Main and Kansas Streets which was the Ben Franklin Store until the 1980s. By 2013 it had deteriorated to the point of being unsightly and potentially unsafe. Attorney Mark Whitney needed to relocate his office and this location, across from the courthouse, was perfect. With assistance from Northwest Kansas Planning and Development and Norton City/County Economic Development, he applied for and received rehabilitation funding from the 2013 Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation Grant, which also required an owner match. Repairs to the property included the foundation, roof, and stabilization of the walls.


McClymont Law Office

The most recent restoration was completed in 2016 and took place on the McClymont Law Office building at 120 S State Street. Built in 1907, the original design included many intricate architectural details of the era. Over the years it had undergone many exterior changes that attempted to modernize its appearance. Those efforts had stripped away or covered its original grandeur, but that has now changed. Owner John McClymont has had the exterior restored, highlighting the remaining original features and creating new designs that complement the historic elements. This building is one of the first seen when entering Norton from the south and it now serves as a beautiful gateway to our downtown.


These are only a few stories of the numerous buildings in downtown Norton that have been renovated, repurposed and contribute to the unique atmosphere that is Norton’s Downtown Historic District. We invite you to park your car and walk around the area, visiting the many unique destination businesses.


Any building owner in the district who is considering renovations can contact Norton City/County Economic Development at 785.874.4816 for information or email Inquiries can also be made to the Kansas State Historical Society at 785.272.8681 or visit their website,

Norton County Named as a NetWork Kansas 2011 Entrepreneurship (E-) Community

Norton County was selected as a 2011 Entrepreneurship (E-) Community and was awarded tax credits that were sold, enabling the Norton County E-Community to raise $150,000 to be loaned to local businesses. In 2012 three loans were made, decreasing the fund to $15,000. The E-Community applied for and was awarded additional tax credits which brought the fund balance to $115,000. As of July, 2017, 13 loans have been made to local businesses and the E-Community has been able to replenish funds from the sale of additional tax credits. This program has been a great tool to keep the local economy vibrant and growing.

The Norton County Entrepreneurship (E-) Community emphasizes development of community resources to create a flourishing entrepreneurial environment.

The E-Community’s three fundamental principles are:

1.    In order for rural and distressed communities to survive, they must grow from within by fostering local leadership.

2.    Organizations involved in community development need to empower businesses with the assets they need to succeed, including education, expertise, and economic resources.

3.    Diversify and strengthen the county’s economy with new and existing entrepreneurial businesses.

Local representatives from throughout Norton County will serve on the E-Community Leadership Team. This team determines the strategy and vision for the E-Community.

The Financial Review Board will evaluate prospective loan applications from local businesses.

E-Community Loan Application

E-Community Application (pdf format)

The Norton City/County Economic Development office will provide assistance with the application, and the staff is also available for consultation on starting a new business or expanding an existing business.

Application Process

  • Norton City/County Economic Development receives application
  • Application verified as complete
  • Application is distributed to the Leadership Team for review and recommendation
  • Application is distributed to the Financial Review Board for loan determination
  • Applicant interview may be scheduled for additional information
  • Approved loan application submitted to Northwest Kansas Planning & Development for loan administration
  • Approved applicants notified
  • Denied applicants notified by letter with reason of denial

Norton County E-Community Contact

Keli Habiger, Executive Director

Norton City/County Economic Development

205 S State Street

Norton, KS 67654


NetWork Kansas E-Community Summary

A NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Community has made a commitment to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment by identifying and developing resources to help local entrepreneurs start or grow businesses. An E-Community has a locally controlled loan fund to assist entrepreneurs with capital and connectivity to resources to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses.

About NetWork Kansas:

NetWork Kansas was established as a component of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to further entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. Backed by more than 480 partners statewide, the NetWork Kansas service promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need in order to succeed. For more information about NetWork Kansas, visit, or call 877.521.8600.

To learn more about the E-Community Partnership, Contact:

Erik Pedersen, Director of E-Communities

Economic Development



If you are interested in serving on the Norton City/County Economic Development Board of Directors you may complete an application and return it to the economic development office at 205 S. State Street, Norton, KS 67654, email it to , or return it to the entity you wish to represent. Selection of the board representatives is the responsibility of the cities and county as listed below.

Application to the NCCED Board

Any applications received by Norton City/County Economic Development staff will be forwarded to the appropriate entity for review/consideration.

NamePositionRepresentingTerm Expiration
Jerry JonesCity Council RepresentativeNortonJan 2019
Mark DeweesCity Council RepresentativeNortonJan 2019
Aaron HaleAppointee by the CityNortonJan 2020
Mike PossonVice Chairman, Appointee by the CityNortonJan 2019
Dick ThompsonCounty CommissionerNorton CountyJan 2019
Tom BrannanCounty CommissionerNorton CountyJan 2019
Curtis EveleighAppointee by the CountyNorton CountyJan  2019
Gayle JamesSecty/Treas, Appointee by the CityLenoraJan 2019
Brad HopkinsChairman, Appointee by the CityAlmenaJan 2019
Amber NuttycombAppointee by the CityEdmondJan 2020
Wally BurtonAppointee by the CountyNorton CountyJan 2019