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.

Design Committee Volunteers

Yvonne Pool


Becky Smith
Twin Rivers Winery & City Commissioner

Stacy Hammond
Coffelt Signs

Sally Sanchez
Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow

Aansu Trelc


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

Entrepreneurs to Tenants

By Casey Woods | April 18, 2019

Millenial and Gen Z entrepreneurs grew up in a “rental” economy.  Some of the reasons younger generations largely avoid ownership are economic, but some relate to long term risk aversion.  Simply put, younger entrepreneurs often want to try out a concept before making a long term commitment.  That process sounds pragmatic, but the concept of…

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Utilization of the Great Outdoors

By Casey Woods | March 21, 2018

Spring is officially here, and although the Kansas weather can be a little unpredictable, we can start counting on warmer weather. As the climate gets a little more comfortable, people’s shopping, dining, and travel habits change. Pedestrian and bike traffic increases. Customers linger outside. Runners on the sidewalk, trail walkers, window shoppers, beer garden aficionados,…

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Year in Review 2017

By Casey Woods | December 26, 2017

Each year we take one e-news and dedicate it towards looking back over the previous year. We don’t want to linger in the past, but we do want to recognize what occurred as we continue to push forward. A lot was accomplished in 2017, and we anticipate a lot of excitement for new initiatives next…

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The Homegrown Initiative

By Casey Woods | November 17, 2017

Emporia Main Street (EMS) is an economic and community development philosophy that operates within the City of Emporia and Lyon County. Using an effective four point approach, adopted from the National Main Street Center, Emporia Main Street works to create a dense and sustainable community where business, properties, developments and people can thrive. After 26…

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4th Quarter Checkup

By Casey Woods | November 16, 2017

It’s that magical time of year!  Weather starts cooling down, people start thinking about holidays and businesses start promoting themselves to seasonal shoppers.  As you enter the 4th Quarter (October, November, and December) it is important to do a “check” of several items relating to your business that enable you to emphasize your brand.  Whether…

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Form Over Function

By Casey Woods | November 2, 2017

Economies change quickly, and some of our purpose built structures (gas stations, banks, video stores) have a difficult time withstanding adaptations in consumer fads.  Housing is changing, and entire blocks can suffer when a design that is inconsistent with the architecture in the immediate area is introduced.  While modern zoning and codes are based on…

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