From the City Manager's Desk

June 18, 2018

Cora the Elephant goes to the Dentist

Cora the elephant was having some tooth issues last week. The Zoo brought in a board certified veterinary dentist to make a visit to the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center to see Cora. Cora is a sixty year old Asian elephant, has a problem with one of her teeth. “Part of one of her teeth needs to break off,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “Since she hasn’t been able to do it on her own, we are going to give her some help.”
For the past several weeks the tooth has been rubbing on the roof of Cora’s mouth.  Through a cooperative training program, Cora had been allowing her elephant care team to file the tooth down small bits at a time.  “Now that a sore has developed on the roof of her mouth, we need to fix the problem before it gets any worse,” said Wiley.
On Friday morning Cora was given an anesthetic agent, that lightly sedated her and allow her to be immobilized in a standing position.  Once immobilized, the veterinary team began their work. 
The procedure went perfectly and Cora came out of sedation in good shape. 

Road Construction Update

The video to the right is concrete being poured at the project on SW 49th, from Wenger Road to the BNSF Rail Road. 

Work continuing on: 
  • 6th Street between Gage and Fairlawn. 
  • 21st & KS and the 29th & Burlingame Intersections.   Concrete finishing up in the NW quadrant of the 29th/Burlingame intersection. The next phase will be the SW quadrant.
  • Central Park Phase 2.
  • SE Adams between 29th and 33rd.
  • Huntoon/Arvonia/470 concrete is being removed. 
  • Alley approaches in Old Town were completed.
  • Full depth pavement patching and 2018 curb replacement underway.
Street Project Startup and Major Phase Changes:
  • SW Gage from 21st to 25th scheduled to start on June 18th. 
  • Microsurfacing scheduled to start in July - hauling materials in June but actual work now scheduled in July (rain at other project locations have delayed the contractor). 

Budget Book 

Budget staff is finalizing the 2019 proposed budget book which will be available to the public at and on the budget portal at!/year/default.

 Recent Updates 

  • TPD participated in the “Pull a Plane” challenge at Forbes Field (June 9th). TPD placed first for top fundraising and 4th place for the plane pull challenge.
  • Public Works sealed 10,800 feet of cracks and placed 72,600 feet of mastic sealant.
  • Neighborhood Relations facilitated a partnership between FORGE Inspire Committee with the Historic Old Town NIA. FORGE will adopt the neighborhood for the remainder of 2018 to assist with strengthening the neighborhood and begin steps to change its current health status.

Property Maintenance and Habitat for Humanity Video

The City of Topeka Property Maintenance Division and Habitat for Humanity are partners in a video series. These videos show a specific code violation and explain why it is a violation. Then Habitat for Humanity shows you how to fix that code violation with affordable materials you can find at their Restore. 

Water Main Breaks 

The hot weather has caused an uptick in water main breaks. There were 31 water main breaks repaired this month with 264 year to date. Last year at this time there were only 153 breaks. Broken main season is here earlier than normal due to the excessive heat and no rain. Response and completion time frames could be delayed some because of the number of broken mains we are trying to repair daily and the damage they can cause. The Utilities Department will work to keep the priority areas first when trying to restore the street back to original condition.

Topeka Way to Work Interns 

The Topeka Way to Work (TWTW) High School Internship program is off to a great start, with the teen workers learning about their workplaces and all of the opportunities that the City of Topeka offers.
With program management by Human Resources, the TWTW employees work two days per week in their assigned department and one day per week is spent in training sessions and touring City facilities learning about the work done in the areas visited and possible career opportunities within City employment.  The teens represent several SNCO high schools and are assigned to the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Planning Department, Department of Neighborhood Services, Municipal Court, the Utility Water Division, the Zoo, Communications / City4, and the Human Resources Department.
The TWTW employees toured the Water Treatment Plant on I-70 & MacVicar recently.  The teens were impressed by the vast array of different types of work done at the plant and just what goes into making the millions of gallons of clean water we use each day. 
TWTW employees from left to right:
Ricardo Montalvo Jr., Ravyn Bradley, Samantha O’Hara-Arrington, Ceclia Flores, Kalor Hasenkamp, Ja’Quarius Clayton, Johntaya Neal, Onna Adams, Caleb Kochever, Kyla Chandler, Gerardo Gaeta.  Not shown:  Dominick Wabaunsee.

Topeka Zoo Giraffe Cam

Abi the Giraffe is expected to give birth to her calf soon. You can check out the live giraffe cameras at the Topeka Zoo here

Coming up

  • City Council Meeting, June 19th at 6 p.m. 
  • Budget Workshop, June 20th at 6 p.m. in the Law Enforcement Center. 
  • Coffee On Your Corner, Wednesday, June 20th, "Neighborhood Health Map", Juli's ,110 SE 8th Avenue.

Budget Workshop 

The Budget and Performance Division continues to build the 2019 proposed budget. The budget calendar can be found at  The next budget meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Law Enforcement Center.

Fire Department Survey 

Topeka Fire is looking to get feedback on their services. They have created a short survey to post on social media which you can take here:

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: