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

Can Small Towns Be Cool?

By Casey Woods | June 20, 2016

Many communities that attend the National Main Street conference simply send one staff member.  In Emporia one of the keys to our community success has been encouraging board members and other volunteers to attend the conference.  Each conference day there are different sessions that occur at the same time.  Having several Emporians at the conference…

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Four Point Refresh

By Casey Woods | June 7, 2016

Those of you that are familiar with the Main Street concept understand that we have a four point strategic approach.  The four points are:   Organization- Capacity Building, volunteer recruitment, grass roots training, fund raising, membership, branding and community promotion   Promotion- Events, activities, marketing and branding to either build consumer traffic in the immediate…

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A Window to your Building’s Soul

By Casey Woods | April 7, 2016

In 2004, Thomas Frank released his book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”  This book held particular scorn for Emporia residents, not just because of the author’s twist on the William Allen White editorial by the same name, but also through the author’s description of our community.  In the book, Emporia was characterized by embracing the aesthetic of…

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20/20 Vision

By Casey Woods | March 20, 2016

Vision 2020 Emporia Main Street: Shaping the future of  Emporia and Lyon County using re-development, rehabilitation and in-fill in the town center; making downtown a destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment; and facilitating traffic flow (pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle). Because the Emporia Main Street vision is more than words on a page, let’s break down specifically…

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The Far Ranging Impacts of Community Design

By Casey Woods | February 20, 2016

I recently had the opportunity to attend the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference held in Portland, Oregon.  I was invited to speak by a federal “smart growth” agency because of some of the unique things we’ve accomplished in Emporia’s downtown through multiple types of sustainable development strategies.  The New Partners conference is a little different in…

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2015 Emporia Main Street Annual Meeting

By Casey Woods | June 30, 2015

The Emporia Main Street Annual Meeting tends to emulate the organization itself.  We have a group  of super busy people that get together to honor productivity and offer thanks to those people making tangible improvements to the community, then we start working on making the future even better.  This year’s tribute to Steve Hanschu made the…

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