From the City Manager's Desk

November 5th, 2018

Kay's Garden Ribbon Cutting 

On Friday, November 2nd there was an official groundbreaking for Kay's Garden at the Topeka Zoo. Kay's Garden will be a one of a kind Japanese garden and is being designed by Koji Morimoto, a veteran Japanese garden master who came to Topeka to work on the project. 
Kay's Garden is named after Kay McFarland a former Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice.  McFarland was the first female justice and only female chief justice on the Kansas Supreme Court. Before her death in 2015, she worked to develop plans for the garden. 
Kay's Garden will be open in the Spring of 2020. 

City of Topeka Wins $750,000 FHLB Grant

The City of Topeka has won a $750,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank! The program will work with low-income homeowners with housing violations with the Property Maintenance Division and use the funding from the grant to help them restore their properties. The funds for the Property Maintenance Rehabilitation program will be available approximately January 1st, 2019.

Utilities Department Installing New Water Meters

The City of Topeka Utilities Department is installing new water meters across Topeka. This multi-year project will replace most of the meters in Topeka with meters that send digital readings to the Utilities Department every hour. The meter readings are more accurate and water leaks can be detected quicker. Each meter location takes an average of 15-30 minutes to replace and homes will be without water for 15 minutes. If you have questions about the program please contact the Utilities Department at (785) 368-3111.

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.
This interactive website shows several aspects of the 1/2 cent sales tax and pavement management program:
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. 

Work continuing on:
  • SW Gage between 21st and 25th. Road open and sod placement is nearing completion.
  • SW 29th and Burlingame. Final mainline pavement completed on Wednesday. Minor asphalt work and signal replacement are the main items left to complete.
  • Mill/overlay project in the area of NW Menninger Rd, NW Sproaton, NW Sanford and NW Walnut. Base repairs complete along with the milling. Overlay will happen on Friday if weather permits.
  • Mill/overlay project in the Grantville area. Patching nearing completion, then a mill and overlay.
  • Central Park- milling and asphalt overlays are underway. Localized storm sewer work occurring.
  • Alley project off Kansas Avenue at near 14th St. underway. However, a saturated subgrade, full shade and cooler temperatures are impacting the project.
  • NW Tyler- Warranty repairs are underway.

 Recent Updates 

  • The City of Topeka will be making a pitch along with four other finalists at the Encore Summit in Los Angeles, CA on Nov. 14th. A live audience will choose the winner that will receive $10,000. The $50,000 grand prize winner will be chosen by a committee made up of experts and leaders in connecting people over age 50 with youth in their communities.
  • There have been 89 broken water mains this month with 757 year to date. Last year at this time there were 337 breaks.
  • A Utilities contractor selected for Fairlawn emergency storm sewer repair. Project should start mid-November and include the open trench replacement of approximately 600 liner feet of  pipe.
  • November 1st Property Maintenance will start courtesy letters for housing cases. This provides the owner time to plan out their repairs for the spring time.

Topeka Garlinghouse's

The City of Topeka, Kansas is requesting funding through a Historic Preservation Fund grant to research and compose a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) for homes originating from the business of Lewis F. Garlinghouse. The L. F. Garlinghouse Company was founded in 1910 in the City of Topeka, Kansas, and since that time has served as one of the nation’s premier catalogue providers of home plans and designs.
Since its inception as a business in Topeka, numerous examples of the work of the L.F. Garlinghouse Company can be found within the City of Topeka and throughout the nation. The purpose of this project is to provide a thematic context for evaluating and listing Garlinghouse homes constructed in the City of Topeka during the years from 1910 through 1960.
City-wide, it has been estimated that by 1925 the Garlinghouse Company had sold or constructed in excess of 550 homes in the City of Topeka. Two Garlinghouse homes will be nominated to the National Register under the new MPDF as a part of this project. This MPDF will also provide City Staff and the general public with the resources necessary to pursue subsequent individual nominations based on the foundation of contextual significance of the L.F. Garlinghouse Company in the City of Topeka.
The City of Topeka will seek input from the public during a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 in Marvin Auditorium at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th.

Food For Fines

Food for Fines was an outstanding success. The Topeka Municipal Court collected 2,048 pound of food and credited defendants $4,274.00 on their cases in exchange for the food donation. Additionally, the City of Topeka Finance Department held a department food drive and donated 128 pounds of food. In total, 2,176 pounds of food was donated to Project Topeka.
For more information, please call the Municipal Court at (785) 368-3776.

Adams Street Ribbon Cutting 

On Friday, November 2nd, the City of Topeka officially opened up the Adams Street project from 29th to 33rd street. Next year construction will  begin on Adams Street from 34th to 37th. 

Neglected Building Registration Survey 

Below is a link to a brief survey regarding the proposed neglected building registration. We would appreciate your assistance getting the word out so we can get as much public input back on the proposed program as possible.

Coming up

  • City Council Meeting, November 13th at 6 p.m.  
  • Encore “Common Unity” Pitch, Los Angeles, CA, November 12th – November 15th
  • TPD Coffee at the Museum event, 11/14/2018

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: