From the City Manager's Desk

September 17, 2018

Encore Prize Voting

We need your help Topeka! We are in the top 25 out of 110 applicants for the Encore Gen2Gen Prize competition. We need your vote to help us win $50,000 to help 25 high school seniors connect with mentors over the age of 50! Common Unity is a pilot program that will take place at Highland Park High School and eventually all Topeka Public School high schools. The youth are our future and we want to help them in any way possible. The funds will make it possible to help students with ACT prep and fees, college application fees, college visits and much more.
You can vote once per day EVERY DAY today through Sept. 25th! The winner of public voting automatically receives $10,000 for their program and will move on to the finals in Los Angeles where we will pitch our program for $50,000. Please vote & help us get to Los Angeles to secure the $50,000:

1/2 Cent Sales Tax Renewal 

In the general election in November there will be a ballot item to renew the current 1/2 cent sales tax. 
The 1/2 cent sales tax funds 52% of the forecasted $24 million spent each year on street projects. 
The citywide sales tax program uses about $14 million raised annually through a 0.5 percent retailers’ tax, also known as a sales tax. The funds are used exclusively for costs of maintenance and improvements of existing City of Topeka streets, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, alleys and street lighting.
Learn more about street projects, preventative maintenance and investing in Topeka's infrastructure here:
The City Manager’s Office, Public Works and Finance are partnering to present to groups of citizens about the Citywide Half Cent Sales Tax renewal. If a group would like to request a presentation, please contact Molly Hadfield at or (785) 368-0991. 

Road Construction Update

The image on the right is a list of featured road construction projects for 2018. 
The I-470/Huntoon/Arvonia intersection is now open! 
Work continuing on: 
  • Microsurfacing- Project is completing its seventh week. Two crews are working and the majority of microsurfacing should be completed within the next few weeks. Restriping starting late this week.
  • SW 37th between Burlingame and Kirklawn- Milling and base patching completed early in the week.  Asphalt overlay started on Thursday and is scheduled to be completed on Saturday.
  • Clarion Woods-  Pavement removal and asphalt placement occurring this week.
  • SW Huntoon/Arvonia- Ribbon cutting held on Thursday for the opening of the I-470 ramp, Huntoon (east) and Arvonia.  Retaining walls are under construction up the hill to the west to Executive Drive. 
  • A project to help with drainage at three intersections (Clay/4th, Clay/5th, and Fillmore/5th) is underway.
  • SW 6th between Gage and Fairlawn- Contractor placed asphalt this week.
  • SW Gage between 21st and 25th- Contractor completing pavement patching in the southbound lanes.  Working on option to complete mill and overlay within a 24-hour complete shutdown of this section of SW Gage.
  • SE Adams between 29th and 33rd-Contractor poured sections of concrete pavement between the Post Office and 29th.
  • 21st and Kansas- Northbound lanes of KS Ave, north of 21st, were poured this week.
  • 29th and Burlingame- Work continuing on the southeast quadrant.
Street Project Startup and Major Phase Changes:
  • SW 29th – Fairlawn to I-470 will start in September.
  • Two alley projects will start within the next two weeks.
  • Startup of the two mill and overlay projects.

Habitat for Humanity and Property Maintenance Video

Habitat for Humanity and the City of Topeka Property Maintenance Division are continuing their Facebook Live video series on how to do easy and cost effective repairs to your home. 
We've moved inside for these videos. This month the video looked at how to keep your toilet in good working condition and how to make simple repairs. Check out the video here

 Recent Updates 

  • There have been 18 water main breaks in September with 621 breaks year to date. Last year at this time there were 266 total breaks.
  • The Planning Department has launched anew “Building Permit Map” on the City’s front page. If you ever wanted to know “what is being built there?” this new interactive online map allows you to search all residential and commercial building permits by dates.
  • The Topeka Planning Commission with hold a public hearing Monday, September 17 to consider adopting new architectural design standards for commercial buildings as well as some enhancements to landscape regulations. The design standards would be the first of their kind for Topeka beyond historic districts and downtown. They are part of a series of “Visual Code Updates” to improve the aesthetic appeal of the city’s built environment. The Planning Commission will consider making a recommendation to the Governing Body for ultimate approval. The proposal and agenda can be found at

Clean Slate Day  

Clean Slate Day will be held in the Municipal Court on September 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Topeka Community Foundation has provided a grant to help pay for some fees and fines for those who income qualify.
If you plan to attend Clean Slate Day, please bring an I.D., social security card, proof of income and any information about Municipal Court offenses. 

Development and Growth Management Report 

Planning released the August, 2018 Development and Growth Management (DGM) Report which can be found at
Highlights include:
• Total building permits for new construction or remodel are projected to be 2% higher than last year. Compared to 2017, residential permits are projected to increase by 21% while commercial permits would drop 18% by year end.
• 93 new residential units have been permitted for construction year to date.
• 55% of all new dwelling units within Shawnee County have been built within the City of Topeka year to date compared to 48% for 2017.
• Total building permit values are projected to decrease 34% by year end compared to last year which would be the lowest valuation totals since 2014.
• The 3 highest valued permits issued last month include:
o Hills Pet Nutrition, 320 NE Crane ($1.2M)
o Bajillion Agency, 100 S. Kansas ($1.0M)
o Addition, 4400 SW Pinebrook Ln. ($750k)

Water Line Replacement

A new water line is being installed at SE 29th and Wittenberg Road. 
16" PVC water main pipe is being laid to the east of the road and 12" pipe is being laid to the west of the road. This project is 30% complete. 

Coming up

  • City Council Meeting, September 4th at 6 p.m. 
  • Topeka Police Department Coffee with a Cop at the McDonalds on SW 21st and Belle will be on September 19th from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Topeka Water Festival will be held on September 20th at Garfield Park.
  • Clean Slate Day will be on September 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Municipal Court 
  • Coffee on Your Corner, Wed, September 19th, Juli’s, “Flood Plan Zone “, 10-11AM
  • Topeka Fire Department is will be hosting its annual Open House and Fallen Firefighter Memorial on October 13th between 1:00 and 4:00 at the Fire Department Headquarters.

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: