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Douglas Design District Lays Out Vision For The Future

Nadya Faulx
The Douglas Design District has approximately 300 businesses, including locally owned The Donut Whole and Tanya's Soup Kitchen near Douglas and Hydraulic.

The span of central Wichita known as the Douglas Design District is planning for major changes in the next few years.

The district, established 10 years ago, stretches from Washington to Oliver, and from Second Street down to Kellogg.

“Our membership in the last couple of years has taken a dramatic upswing," says district president Janelle King. "We project there [are] about 300 local businesses along the district.”

And to capitalize on the momentum, the nonprofit is launching its "Vision 2020" campaign, which lays out plans for street improvements and for a Business Improvement District to help support development in the area.

“We kind of look at us as ... the gateway for east-side Wichitans to downtown," King says.

The Vision 2020 plan has been in the works for the past year and was unveiled at an open house Thursday night to business owners, neighbors and other members of the community. King says she wants the district included in the city's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan, which is updated annually with long-term funding projects.

She says the 2020 plan is "trying to kind of put some attention and a little bit of heat on our city officials to, with all of the development that's going on around us and downtown, to not leave us out of that picture."

Eventually, King -- who owns The Workroom at First and Cleveland -- wants the Douglas Design District to become as well known as Delano, Old Town or College Hill, in terms of a unique identity.

"Our bigger ... mission as a district is to really become the go-to destination district for local small businesses," she says.


Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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