From the City Manager's Desk

March 19, 2018

Topeka Zoo expecting two giraffe calves

The Topeka Zoo announced that two female giraffe's Abi and Hope are each expecting a calf. Both giraffe's are due sometime this summer. 
Many people will remember Hope and the story that surrounded her when she was born. In July 2010, Hope came into this world with a medical complication. Both of her rear legs presented with hyper extended fetlocks. Through a major effort and with the world watching, she beat the odds and overcame the condition. During her treatment, she was the subject matter of local news broadcasts, major networks, and TV specials. Even the today show came to Topeka to share her story.
With life in front of her, Hope represented the future of the giraffe program at the Topeka Zoo. In 2013, Sgt. Peppers, a male reticulated giraffe born at the Oklahoma City Zoo was transferred to the Topeka zoo to be paired with hope. Two years later, Abi, a giraffe from the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo was also transferred to Topeka and together the three giraffe's formed the breeding heard that the Topeka Zoo has today. In 2016, the recommendation was made to breed Sgt. Peppers with both Hope and Abi.
Earlier this year, a hormone study showed that both Hope and Abby are pregnant. Gestation in reticulated giraffe is approximately 15 months. The Topeka Zoo is expecting the giraffe calf's to be born sometime between May and June.
Both Abby and hope are being closely monitored. A medical team is evaluating their progress and planning for any possible complications.
Over the next month, plans will be announced that will allow the community to watch their progress through WebCams and a rules for a naming contest will be revealed to name one of the calves. The zoo will post regular updates through its social media on the progress of both expecting moms.

Episode two: Property Maintenance and Habitat for Humanity video

The Property maintenance division and Habitat for Humanity have partnered to make videos on how to keep up your home for a low cost. 
This month's topic was how to fix loose gutters and where to find gutter guards to keep them clean. You can see the videos on Facebook by clicking on the links below. 

Budget Priorities Survey 

The Budget office is requesting input on priorities for the 2019 Budget. Take the budget priorities survey at to make your voice heard! The survey will be open for the next few months leading up to Council discussions on March 20th, April 3rd and 24th.

Budget Open House 

Staff hosted the Budget Open House at the Shawnee County Topeka Public Library on Wednesday, March 14th to gather public feedback on the budget. Highlights from the event can be found on the City’s twitter page

 Recent Updates 

  • The Topeka Police Department graduated fifteen new volunteers for their Volunteers in Police Service Program. 
  • Rehabilitation of Topeka’s Layne High Service Pump Station won an Award of Excellence from Associated General Contractors of Kansas during the 2017 State Building Awards, presented this month in Wichita during the Kan-Struct Conference.
  • The Planning Department released the February, 2018 edition of the City’s Development and Growth Management (DGM) Report which can be found at
  • The Street Department filled 1,650 potholes.

Visual Appeal Survey Results 

The Planning Department released results of the Visual Appeal Survey (VAS) on the City’s website which include the following:
• 1,062 people took the survey or about 1% of the adult population in the City of Topeka
• 866 comments were made – 480 for building design and 386 for signs
• 93% live in Shawnee County, 7% live outside Shawnee County
• 96% believed building design and signs are either “very important” or “somewhat important” to the visual appeal of the community with a good majority saying they were “very important” (63%)
• Images with more architectural details, higher quality materials, and more window openings were rated much more visually appealing
• Images that lacked landscaping were rated much less appealing than those with well-developed landscaping. The need for well landscaped sites was the most commented topic for building design. 
• High quality sign materials, fewer signs on a property, and shorter “monument style” signs were the most appealing factors in sign images.
• Too many signs on a property, temporary sign materials, and pole signs were the least appealing factors in sign images.
More information about the findings can be found at The next steps in the process will be working with our technical committees and Planning Commission to draft updated codes for public feedback.

Transparency in Government Survey

Please take the time to fill out this survey relating to data portals created by the City of Topeka to increase transparency in local government.  The answers provided through this survey do not rate or test your abilities as a user.  The purpose of this survey is to test the level of usability (e.g., ease of navigation, clarity, etc.) and the quality of content that is currently provided on the City of Topeka open data portals.  Please understand that the more information we collect, the better and more user-friendly we can make all of these products.  All responses will be reported in the aggregate and will be confidential.

Coming up

  • The Topeka Zoo Spring Break camp will be held March 19-23.
  • Coffee on Your Corner, Neglected Building Registration will be held on March 21st. 
  • The Topeka Police Department will be doing a Safe Church presentation on April 3rd. 


Brent Trout 

This weekly report is presented to you from the office of City Manager Brent Trout.
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: