Our design programs benefit the community, property owners, and businesses

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Emporia Main Street's DESIGN programs are run by a committee of volunteers along with Main Street staff. The goal of our design initiatives is to create a vibrant downtown commercial district by enhancing the district's physical and visual assets.

Our design programs work to improve downtown buildings, parking areas, street furniture, signs, sidewalks, street lights, and landscaping. Our design programs also help individual business owners with building design, window display implementation, education, and advice. All design activities are focused on making downtown a welcoming place for residents and visitors, and a place for businesses to thrive.

Additionally, the Design Committee works to preserve the legacy and stories of the Downtown Historic District through a variety of historic preservation activities.

Design Programs


Emporia's downtown gardens are all maintained by volunteers. If you love to garden, ask us how you can adopt one!

Historic Tax Credits

If you own property within Downtown Historic District, you may qualify for tax credits on maintenance, upgrades or redevelopment.

Veterans Banners

We honor our heroes every fall with a downtown display of over 200 light pole banners featuring area veterans.

Beyond the Banners

Beyond the Banners is a keepsake book that was created in response to the overwhelming popularity of our Veterans Banner Project.

Other Design Committe Projects

Historic Preservation
Downtown Clean-ups
Holiday decorating
Beautification projects
Design awards

Want to support a vibrant downtown atmosphere?

Our design programs seek to create a pleasant, welcoming environment downtown, which draws shoppers, residents, and visitors. This ultimately benefits not just downtown, but our community as a whole.

Interested in joining the design committee?

The Design Committee perfect for creative types who are willing to their hands dirty, as well those who are interested in or knowledgable about Emporia's history. Click the button below if you'd like to join!

Design Education

Are You Maximizing Your Space?

By Casey Woods | November 15, 2022

An internal space inventory can help your business save on some static costs and drive more income streams! Successful businesses today are focused on the numbers. Costs of materials and shipping are fluctuating; labor is difficult; and interest rates are rising. Sometimes we get so focused on a few line items that we forget about maximizing the…

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Transparency in Design: Seeing is believing (and makes you more accessible to your consuming public).

By Casey Woods | April 18, 2022

Our brains are hardwired with certain needs and preconceptions as we interact with our environment. Thousands of years of evolution have provided our subconscious with ways to help us judge desirable and undesirable environments. Today, we use some of our innate preconceptions to help us in community, building, and business design. By understanding the design…

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Murals are More Than Paint

By Casey Woods | March 29, 2022

The Kansas Main Street network offers several different specialized trainings on topics relevant to community and economic development. Talking to area specialists on specialized topics can give us a better idea on strategies to pursue, while learning from the mistakes of others. The Emporia Main Street downtown mural project has been a great success, but…

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Highlighting our local art history through the quilt block project!

By Jessica Buchholz | October 15, 2021

The East-Central Region of Kansas has a rich and diverse history that informs our present. Emporia Main Street works with partner agencies and volunteers to enhance cultural celebrations, create athletic opportunities that highlight our natural beauty, preserve our historic architecture, and highlight the unique assets in our area. The founding of Veteran’s Day in the…

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A potential redesign of one of downtown’s largest parking lots requires your input!

By Jessica Buchholz | September 16, 2021

With limited resources, the City of Emporia continues to invest in improving accessibility in the commercial corridors of the community. Public Works Director Dean Grant submitted a potential redesign of the large commercial parking lot located in the 700 Block of Merchant Street. The design keeps the same approximate number of parking stalls, but expands…

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Experts, City Officials, Main Street Managers, and Developers from around the state talk through a type of housing that works for communities.

By Jessica Buchholz | August 31, 2021

Communities throughout the United States are struggling with housing. Growing communities struggle to acquire land and pay for infrastructure associated with housing developments with local tax dollars. Communities with static or shrinking populations are struggling to find ways to create housing that doesn’t negatively impact their tax base (fewer people paying for more spread out infrastructure…

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