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

Honoring our History

By Casey Woods | February 10, 2017

One of the great parts about working for Emporia Main Street is the ability to compare Emporia to other communities.  Comparative analysis is often used to determine best practices for development, or common problems that towns should avoid.  If you look at Emporia’s early history, compared to other Kansas communities, it becomes abundantly clear that…

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2016 Year in Review

By Casey Woods | December 30, 2016

Emporia Main Street works with a variety of members and partners to push new initiatives and create new opportunities every year.  We appreciate everyone’s support as we work to create a better Emporia, and it is important to occasionally look back at what has been accomplished before moving forward.  The following is a brief look back at…

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“Third Place” Creation

By Casey Woods | August 20, 2016

A few weeks ago, we had a newsletter article that referenced the term “Third Places“.  The inclusion of the third place (  sometimes called “Third Space”) term resulted in a number of inquiries from readers.  Third Place usually refers to a place that you like to hang out.  Think of your favorite coffee shop, a…

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Activating Blocks

By Casey Woods | August 7, 2016

Listening to the descriptions of local citizens as they describe an area in their community is telling.  In one area, a consumer may say “this block is alive” and in another area, they may look and say “this block is dead”.  The activation of areas within a community is a combination of consumer science and…

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Thanks For Making Us Number One

By Casey Woods | July 20, 2016

A little preface to the press release we sent out in conjunction with the award announcement: The Top 10 Best Main Streets Award nominees were chosen by a panel of economics experts that have access to economic and community data from cities- large and small- throughout the United States.  Simply being nominated for our innovative…

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Talking to Property Owners

By Casey Woods | July 7, 2016

This is the second in a series of e-news articles inspired by sessions at the National Main Street conference in Milwaukee.  This particular session was attended by a volunteer, and it showcases some of the universal issues present in Main Street communities throughout the nation.  This is not a commentary on any local property (we…

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