On December 11, the Topeka City Council on the project budget for the South Kansas Avenue project in downtown Topeka. After a 3-hour meeting regarding the item and 22 members of the public speaking,the council discussed the project and voted 6-3 to approve the project budget.
The council apporved the $4,967,000 South Kansas Avenue project budget. The budget includes:
- issuing general obligation bonds totaling $3,759,000
- using $1,050,000 in revenue from the half-cent sales tax to pay costs of maintenance and improvements of existing streets, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, alleys and lighting.
- funding infrastructure improvements using $158,000 in utility operating funds (this is in addition to the $792,000 left over from the $1 million allocated last year).
Budget approval authorizes improvements to South Kansas Avenue between 6th and 10th Streets, and includes final design, inspection, utility improvements, lighting, removal and replacement of necessary existing sidewalks, medians, crosswalks, curbs, gutters and pavement. Private Sector contributions will be used to enhance the downtown corridor by adding amenities.
On November 20, the private sector's conceptual design plan for enhancement was presented to the City Council during their work session. The presentation showcased pedestrian enhancements which will be paid for by private investments, while the City is responsible for the infrastructure work.
Private investment elements might include:
- Private companies paying for the costs to put in eight pocket parks around the sidewalks of South Kansas Avenue between 6th and 10th.
- Bronze statues or busts of historic Topekans and other symbols of Kansas.
- Creating a cross archway, similar to the one at southwest 12th and Topeka Boulevard to build off of what's already been created in theCity.
- To view the work session presentation, click here.
On November 27, the council was scheduled to vote on the budget for downtown Topeka. The vote was deferred for two weeks to allow the community to have a meaningful conversation regarding the presented plan for downtown Topeka.
Community members attended an open house on Thursday, December 6. Attendees were able to view the architect's renderings of the proposed project and engage in conversation.
A panel comprised of Vince Frye, president and chief executive office of Downtown Topeka, Inc., City Manager Jim Colson, Finance Director Pam Simecka and Public Works Director Mike Teply answered questions and listened to the ideas and concerns of 14 people who spoke during the public comment portion of the open house.