From the Interim City Manager's Desk

April 10, 2017

Recent updates

  • A Shawnee County District Court judge dismissed two of three counts in a lawsuit against the City filed by Jayhawk Racing. You can read more here.
  • We also received a ruling from Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks in a case dealing with the ownership of a locomotive located on the Shunga Trail, near the Expocentre. The judge granted motions to have one party (Topeka Children and Santa Fe Railroad) removed from the lawsuit. The City and Sustainable Rail International (SRI), which has expressed an interest in renovating the locomotive, have begun negotiations.
  • Development activity for March is up, putting us on track to outpace last year's activities. For example, Development Services reviewed 50 commercial plans in March, bringing its year-to-date total up to 88 -- resulting in a projected increase of 89 percent over last year.
  • We were selected to receive nine volunteers through AmeriCorps this spring and summer. The AmeriCorps NCCC Sun 7 Team arrives April 11 and will be here through July 8. They will help the City and our partners -- Shawnee County Parks and Rec and Topeka Habitat for Humanity – with projects throughout the summer.
  • In the month of March, you all logged 230 tickets using our smartphone app, SeeClickFix Topeka. More than 200 tickets were resolved, and the No. 1 issue reported was property and code violations, with 92 new tickets. Since the app launched in January, it has had 1,307 downloads. This has been a great tool for Topekans and your government alike, so please keep using it to tell us what you want fixed around the City.
  • The City of Topeka was selected as one of only 31 cities to receive grant funding to help increase participation in after-school and summer meal programs. You can read more here. It's going to be a busy summer!
  • The first Curb Your Clutter event picked up bulk items left on the curb in nine neighborhood improvement associations Saturday. The next round will be this Saturday, April 15, in 10 NIAs. The final two NIAs will have their pick up Saturday, April 22. Read more here.
  • The last two pumps at the Layne Pump Station are now operational. This was one of the stops during this year's CIP bus tour.

Rojo departure

Our adult male tiger, Rojo, left the Topeka Zoo Thursday, April 6. Rojo was moved to the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois. The Topeka Zoo reports Rojo arrived safely at his new home and is settling in well.
This will be the first tiger transfer in a series that will eventually bring in a new male to breed with Jingga, the Zoo’s adult female tiger, by the end of this summer. With about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, this is one of the most active and well-rounded conservation programs the Zoo is involved with.
So, sad news for all those who love Rojo, but very exciting for the species and the future of our tiger program.

Coming up

  • Topeka's Governing Body meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The agenda includes votes on the second quarter funding report for TPAC, the 2018-2020 Capital Improvement Budget and 2018-2027 capital Improvement Plan and a discussion in property maintenance.
  • The Landmarks Commission on Thursday, April 13, will consider four more historic renovation projects in the Downtown Historic District.
  • Applications to our summer employment program for 14-to 21-year-olds close Friday, April 14Apply here.
  • We will be celebrating our 450th homeowner through the Topeka Opportunity To Own (TOTO) program during a reception and award ceremony April 19. The event will feature awards, congratulations and cake and refreshments. Email hcci@hcci-ks.org if you would like more information.
  • Our third electronic recycling event is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 29 at the Expocentre. Keep it in mind as you clean out your homes this spring.
  • The final Futures 2040 meeting will be 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 3 at the Library. Learn more here.
  • There will be a Transient Guest Tax Committee meeting at 3 p.m. May 11 at the LEC.
  • The Planning Commission will review several rezoning/platting applications next month, including:
    • A Wheatfield Village PUD at SE 29th and Fairlawn
    • Replat at McFarland Farms for up to 19 new single-family lots
    • A PUD at N. Topeka Boulevard/Menninger Road for up to 40 new housing units
    • A rezone at N. Kansas and 1st Street to allow a historic rehab for up to 33 new lofts

Performance spotlight

Of the more than 10,000 citations property maintenance issued last year, 6,100 were brought into compliance voluntarily. That means the property owner took responsibility for the violation and fixed it within the time allotted. Voluntary compliance is a critical measure in property maintenance, because it means property owners are fixing the issues themselves, rather than us having to use taxpayer money to do it.
Every month we will highlight a different performance metric on our performance portal. You can check them out yourself anytime at performance.topeka.org.

Doug Gerber

This weekly report is presented to you from the office of Interim City Manager Doug Gerber.
This report was produced through our open data portal. We have several other open data portals to help connect you with the work we do, including portals that let you: