Salina's downtown merchants are getting special funding for new awnings as part of a redevelopment program. Some $30,000 was designated in Community Development Block Grant funds for the project.

A maximum of $5,000 will be spent on any one business until the money is used, according to Kevin Ashby, project chairman for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. Businesses are required to submit drawings of proposed back-lighted awnings for their buildings.Project plans were advanced more than a year ago when Chamber of Commerce representatives met with city officials in seeking the special funding for business district improvements.

Ashby said the awning project was conceived as a way to help business owners improve the looks of their store fronts in an effort to make shopping at home more attractive to consumers. Some business buildings have also been remodeled.