Year in Review: Reflections on 2023 and Planning a Bright 2024 with RDA

Year in Review: Reflections on 2023 and Planning a Bright 2024 with RDA Main Photo

30 Jan 2024

2023 was a busy year for the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas (RDA). Our dedicated staff and our partners continue to invest in the economy, quality of life, and future of the region. Here are just a few of our accomplishments from the past year and some of the projects we plan to move forward with. Meet us in the middle and see why site selectors, investors, and entrepreneurs are bettering on Emporia. 

RDA Opened 48 New Project Files in 2023

In 2023, our team at RDA opened 48 projects to grow the region and make Emporia a great place to live and work. Three of those projects closed successfully and contributed to 207 new and retained jobs along with $37 million in capital investment.

Looking ahead, 21 of the projects from 2023 remain active, along with 13 projects from prior years. This means our team has a pipeline of 34 projects to focus on in 2024. These projects have the potential to create 471 new jobs with new capital investment of over $354 million. The future is bright for Emporia. 

RDA Supported Business Expansion in the Area

The goal of RDA is to bring new businesses into the region while also supporting the existing employers. In 2023, our team worked with several businesses to grow their investment in the area.

  • Michelin announced a $37 million expansion. This includes an 80,000-square-foot expansion of the Emporia facilities that will create 30 new jobs. 
  • Norfolk Iron & Metal is under contract for a 39-acre parcel of land in Industrial Park III.
  • The Simmons Pet Food construction project finished this year. Governor Laura Kelly visited the region to congratulate the company.

The investment in Emporia by these companies highlights the value our region provides to businesses who are looking to grow with us. Read other success stories to learn more.  

158 Housing Units Were Approved or Constructed

According to a Lyon County Housing Study, housing in the area needs to increase by 0.25% over the next seven years. In 2023, several single-family homes and multi-family housing units broke ground or were approved by the city. A few of these include:

  • The Metropolis subdivision – 27 single-family homes
  • The Kretsinger subdivision – 24 single-family homes
  • The Lockwood Heights subdivision – 24 single-family homes
  • The Capital Holding developments – 32-unit multi-family housing 
  • The Baldwin Lofts – 10 loft apartments downtown

These developments provide a variety of housing options to meet different residential needs. A mixture of multi-family units and single-family homes is essential to help Emporia grow. 

Two Grant Awards Will Bring 24/7 Childcare Services to Emporia

In 2023, the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce Childcare Coalition was awarded two grants to increase childcare availability in the area. This money will be used to purchase the Maynard school building and launch a three-phase project to bring 24/7 childcare services to Emporia.

Affordable and flexible childcare is essential for making Emporia an ideal community for families and young professionals. These services allow working parents on all schedules to get the support they need. 

Emporia Pavilions Entered Phase 3 of Development

Our team at RDA continues to improve the quality of life in Emporia by bringing some of your favorite shops and restaurants to the area. The Emporia Pavilions will soon be your go-to destination for Five Below, Old Navy, Maurice’s, and Ulta Beauty. This is just one example of new retail development in the area.

Boosting retail in Emporia promotes job growth while attracting more people to the region.

Move Forward With RDA in 2024

RDA finished the year strong and our team is eager to keep working in 2024. Become one of our economic development partners and step into a leadership role in the community. RDA is a collaborative effort with the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, Visit Emporia, Emporia Enterprises, the City of Emporia, Lyon County, Flint Hills Technical College, Emporia State University, Emporia Main Street, and more. Join our team and let's make Emporia a great place to live and work.