Emporians develop vision for sustainable future success

EMPORIA (KSNT) — The City of Emporia is looking to the future, trying to find new ways to bring visitors, businesses and residents to the area with a new initiative called “Imagine Emporia Together.”

“That is the beauty of it, here. If we need to do something, we do it. We get together and do it,” said Bobbi Mlynar, and Emporia City Commissioner.

That’s the idea behind a new initiative in Emporia: Uniting the community and solidifying its future.

“The world is changing and we’re going to adapt to it,” said Mylnar.

There’s no question that, in this day and age, much of small town America is struggling, but city leaders believe that creating a vision for the future now can strengthen Emporia as a whole.

“I would like to see more of everything, you know, more businesses,” said Mylnar. “We definitely need population growth, we definitely need more students.”

Pointing to examples like Emporia Main Street, they’re already off to a good start.

“We’ve had about $40 million worth of development in Downtown just over the past six years,” said Casey Woods, Executive Director of Emporia Main Street.

Now community members want to take that even further. They want to capitalize on a variety of new events in addition to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College “to create a competitive advantage for Emporia so that all these larger metropolitan areas that surround our community, we can make a great day trip or we can make that great conference facility that people can attend,” said Woods.

In order to make all that happen they’ve now created this vision statement: “Emporia thrives because of its vibrant, entrepreneurial spirit and educated people, who work together in a welcoming, healthy, prosperous community for all.”

And that’s only beginning.

“Those vision statements are nice, but at the end of the day we have to make sure that tangible results are achieved,” said Woods.

It’s been an initiative six years in the making and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but they hope that vision will benefit this community for years to come once everything’s complete.

Any residents can offer their suggestions on the project, either at an October meeting or through an online survey here.

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