Downtown Conceptual Design Presented



Last Night, RDG Planning and Design presented their final conceptual design for Downtown Topeka to the City Council. 


The final downtown conceptual design embraces Kansas' state motto "Ad Astra Per Aspera" or to the stars through difficulty. 


With a unified theme, the design team presented their conceptual design for South Kansas Avenue. The plan includes:

  • Three lane road: 
    • Two lanes of traffic, one in each direction; 
    • One middle lane used for turning and business deliveries;
  • Street Parking on the Avenue
  • Twenty-four foot wide sidewalks that include:
    • Commerce zone (right next to the store front) which can be used for things like outdoor dining or sidewalk sales
    • Walking zone
    • Landscaping zone
The new plan also included suggestions for what private investment could add to the avenue including a canopy of lights over the mid-block crossings that ties into the Ad Astra Per Aspera theme. 
Last night's presentation was to inform the council and the community and no vote took place. Next Tuesday, May 15 a vote on the project budget is scheduled to release the Capital Improvement Project funds.

The final conceptual design will be posted online at


Friends of Dornwood Hope to Restore the Park


On May 7, the Shawnee County Commission unanimously voted to acknowledge the partnership between the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Dornwood Foundation. 


The foundation seeks to rehabilitate the 111 acre park located off southeast 25 Street, east of California. Friends of Dornwood is a group with representation from a variety of organizations including:  
  • Highland Acres NIA,
  • Topeka Audubon Society,
  • Topeka Housing Authority;
  • Shawnee County Parks & Recreation,
  • Highland Park High School,
  • Shawnee County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board,
  • Dornwood Girls Softball Association,
  • Highland Park Baseball Association,
  • Kansas Trails Council and
  • Deer Creek Valley RV Park.
The County Commission also approved a bid to replace copper wiring and repair electrical lighting at the parks ball diamonds. Friends of Dornwood is responsible for raising private dollars and naming rights to ensure the care of the park and its programs. 
This initiative started at one of the first listening tours held by the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Neighbors and community groups came together in hopes to restore the Dornwood baseball diamonds and nature trail. 


For more information about Friends of Dornwood Park visit their website,



Washburn Students Engage in Civic Leadership


On Friday, April 13 Heartland Visioning in partnership with the Washburn University Leadership Institute hosted a leadership lab for Washburn students.


Each year, the Leadership Institute and their community partners host a variety of Leadership Labs. The labs provide students the opportunity to see leadership in action. This specific lab was created to help students have a better understanding of community and civic leadership. 


The leadership lab was organized by Darrin Simmons, intern at Heartland  Visioning and a Leadership Studies student. He was working to complete the capstone class for his Leadership Studies Minor. Simmons worked throughout the semester to plan the day for his fellow students. This is Heartland Visioning's second year working collaboratively with Washburn University Leadership Institute to host a lab. 


The days activities had a variety of activities allowing the students to:

  • work collaboratively to create a Bloomerang Banner with the guidance of artist Carol Bradbury; 
  • discuss NOTO's accomplishments and future goals with Anita Wolgast;
  • visit Rusty Haggles to see firsthand the collaboration between a complimentary store and artist studios; 
  • participate in a facilitated conversation with community leaders around a case study;
  • put their networking skills to the test with Martha Bartlett Piland and Fast Forward members.   

For more information on the Leadership Lab Program, click here.


Calling All Artists: Dia de los Muertos Logo Competition


The Tonantzin Society is seeking community artists to participate in an open call for the logo of the Dia de los Muertos 2012 Topeka event. 


This first of its kind event needs a logo that communicates the essence of the

celebration. The artist chosen will be publicized locally and regionally in both online and print publications including promotional materials and memorabilia. 


Entry Requirements are:

  • Must be submitted in full color and black & white and grayscale versions
  • Must be submitted in jpeg or png format and at least 4-6 inches in size in 150dpi
  • Theme must revolve around "Dia de los Muertos"
  • Must include only these words: "Dia de los Muertos Topeka"
  • Must be original, created by artist submitting, and cannot infringe on any copyright  

Logo entries are due May 31, 2012 and multiple entries may be submitted through their website. To submit a logo or for more information on the contest visit 


Wind Turbine Builds Partnership


On April 18, Topeka Public Schools (TPS) completed the instillation of a 160-foot tall wind turbine. The turbine will not only produce energy for TPS, but is an educational tool for students. 


Participants will be able to learn about wind turbine technology and see it inside and out. 


The wind turbine is a result of a partnership between TPS and Westar Energy. The completion of the wind turbine is the first step in creating a renewable energy learning center for both students and families. The learning center will be located in an old milk barn just east of the turbine. 


Westar Energy plans to build a state of the art sub-station in the area. The turbine, learning center and sub-station will be tied together to provide a learning atmosphere for the students. 


For more information on this new partnership, click here.




May is Topeka Bike Month. For more information on activities and events, click here.

  Visit them at:
Contact Us
May 9 to May 13
@ 3162 Shadow Lane
Times Vary
May 10
Downtown After Hours: Visit Topeka Block Party
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
@ Visit Topeka, Inc.

May 10 to September 30
Penguin Plunge Exhibit
 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
May 11 to 13
@ Ag Hall & Exhibition Hall
8:30 am to 4:00 p.m.
May 12
@ Kansas Children's Discovery Center
10:00 am. to 5:00 p.m.
May 12
@ Regency Ballroom
6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
May 12 to November 10
@ Judicial Center Parking Lot
7:30 a.m. to Noon 
May 12 to November 3
@ Veteran's Park
7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
May 17
@ Downtown Topeka
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
May 18 to May 20
All Day Event
June 1, 2012 
First Friday Art Walk
Various Locations
5:30 p.m. -- 8:30 p.m.
For more information on these events and events like this please, click here.