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Wichita’s Nomar District Contributes to City’s Distinctive Character and Identity

By Emily Younger Barnwell

Travel to Wichita’s North End and one will find an emerging cultural district known as Nomar.

The area, spanning from Broadway Avenue to Woodland Park, is at the heart of a 100-year-old neighborhood where generations of families from Mexico and across Latin America settled.

Today, it’s on the verge of rebirth with the refurbishing of the Nomar Theatre, the completion of the Nomar International Market and the activation of the Vamos Nomar vision plan.

“Investment has been poured into the Nomar community and continues to be poured into it. The energy and hope for the future of Nomar continues to grow as people believe in the vision,” explained Jose Trejo, program coordinator for Empower.

Empower, a local organization working to provide residents in the predominantly Hispanic North End neighborhood with educational, workforce-readiness and small business development resources, is actively revitalizing the area.

It is quickly becoming one of the city’s cultural gathering spaces, a physical location designed to facilitate cultural, social and community interactions. By providing spaces that celebrate cultural diversity, Wichita enhances its appeal and contributes to talent recruitment and retention efforts outlined in the Greater Wichita Partnership’s Talent Roadmap.

“The Nomar District helps show that our city welcomes and cares about our growing and diverse population. It gives individuals a space where they can feel comfortable, represented and at home. It also allows others to learn about the different cultures in our community,” Trejo said.

Since 2017, the Nomar District has been home to the annual Open Streets ICT event. The event encourages participants to bike, walk, run and experience live music and dancing, entertainment, art, food and more while supporting and exploring local businesses.

Empower also recently started activating Nomar Plaza at 204 E. 21st Street for events such as Nomar Nights and Nomar Fiesta.

Open Streets ICT

Nomar Nights

Nomar Fiesta

“These events are designed to utilize our catalyst site, Nomar Plaza, and also give our entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their products and goods while also allowing our community to enjoy some fun-filled activities right here in the North End,” Trejo said.

In February 2024, the Wichita City Council unanimously approved Empower’s request for $12.1 million in industrial revenue bonds to help finance the cost of renovating and equipping three of the organization’s buildings at the southwest corner of 21st Street and Market.

The initial phase of the project, set to begin in April, will involve turning the building at 103 E. 21st St. into a commercial kitchen that food-based entrepreneurs in the community can utilize. The renovation will also include a classroom, façade improvements, a green patio space for events and office space.

“These new projects will continue to attract more individuals and bring in more positive energy to the Nomar District and North End,” Trejo added. “We want this area to be a must-see, must-visit location in the city and the state.”

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