Protect Yourself this Holiday Season
The community told us that feeling safe improves the quality of life. That is why 11 strategies of our community-wide vision include public safety under the Quality of Life Foundation. By working together we can help make our community safe and achieve our goals.  

Home invasions can happen anytime of the year, with  peak times that include summer months and the holidays. We all play an active role in the safety of our community, we are the eyes and ears of our neighborhoods. 

Safe Streets and the Topeka Police Department want to provide you with the tools to keep you and those around you safe. 

Home Invasion Prevention Tips

  • Lock doors, windows, and garages at all times, even when home. 
  • Secure your home with strong doors, locks and alarms.
  • Never leave a purse or other valuables where they can easily be seen from a window.
  • Never open the doors to strangers or solicitors but do acknowledge you're home and act as though others are home as well. "Bill, call 911 someone needs help."
  • If you live alone make it look/sound like you don't. Example; toys in the yard or place a dog dish or work boots on the front porch.
  • Use dusk to dawn lighting so it appears like you're home.
  • Add a peep hole to your front or back door.
  • If someone does enter your home have a plan. Escape out the other door if possible or lock yourself in a safe room and call 911. Stay on the phone with dispatch until help arrives.
  • Be the best witness you can be under the circumstances and note both what the criminals are wearing and what they say.
  • Call local law enforcement or Safe Streets and schedule a home security check.
  • Attend your Neighborhood Improvement or Neighborhood Association meetings to meet your community officers.
If no organization exists start a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood by calling Safe Streets at 266.4606

For more information and tips from Safe Streets visit:

Downtown Topeka Project Budget Approved

Last night at the Topeka City Council Meeting, the council voted on the project budget for the South Kansas Avenue project in downtown Topeka. After a 3-hour meeting and 22 members of the public speaking,the council discussed the project and voted 6-3 to approve the project budget. 


The $4,967,000 South Kansas Avenue project 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 the City.
  • 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.  


Kanza Education Park Making Progress

Last year, Topeka Public Schools and Westar Energy formed a partnership to create a renewable energy learning center for students. 

Earlier this year, the 160-foot-tall wind turbine was installed, completing the first step to creating the new learning center for both students and families. 

The learning center will be located in the former milk bar on the former Topeka State Hospital Grounds.

The renewable energy center will be a part of the Kanza Education and Science Park. The learning center will include exhibits on both electricity and renewable energy. Westar Energy is currently building a new substation east of the learning center. 

Once the learning center and the substation are complete, students will be able to learn about electricity generated by the turbine and by photovoltaic panels on the barn's roof. 

Energy is just one area of science that visitors will be able to learn about. Topeka Public Schools administrators hope that the multi-acre class room will provide a variety of learning including on-going science projects to botanical labels that show off the dozens of tree species in the park.

Many projects are still in the works and many are near completion, including the Kanza Cafe, located in the South Building. The cafe will be open to the public and will provide a setting to learn about management, finance and other aspects of running a business. 

Click here to view a video tour of the Kanza Education Park (via CJOnline)

General Election 

On November 6, over 75,600 Shawnee County registered voters (roughly 68%) showed up to the polls to cast their ballots for the General Election. 

This election season brought many close races and new representatives to the Shawnee County delegation. See below for the full list of Elected Officials who serve Shawnee County. New terms will begin January 14, 2013. 





U.S. House of Representatives

2nd District

Lynn Jenkins

Board of Education

4th District 

Carolyn L. Campbell

Kansas Senate

18th District

Laura Kelly

Kansas Senate

19th District

Anthony Hensley

Kansas Senate

20th District 

Vicki L. Schmidt

Kansas House

47th District

Ramon C. Gonzalez Jr.

Kansas House

50th District

Joshua Powell

Kansas House

51st District

Ron Highland

Kansas House

52nd District

Shanti Gandhi

Kansas House

53rd District

Annie Tietze

Kansas House

54th District

Ken Corbet

Kansas House

55th District

Annie Kuether

Kansas House

56th District

Virgil Weigel

Kansas House

57th District

John Alcala

Kansas House

58th District

Harold Lane

District Attorney

3rd District

Chad Taylor

Shawnee County Commission

2nd District

Kevin J. Cook

Shawnee County Commission

3rd District

Bob Archer

Shawnee County Clerk


Cynthia "Cyndi" Beck

Register of Deeds


Marilyn L. Nichols

Shawnee County Sherriff


Herman T. Jones

Shawnee County Treasurer


Larry Mah


To view the Shawnee County Official Election Results, please click here.
Campus Police Department Finds a New Location
Topeka Public Schools celebrated the new location of the campus police department on November 19 with a ribbon cutting. 
The campus police department is now located in a portion of the former Avondale East Elementary School, 455 Southeast Golf Park.  Avondale East closed at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
Previously, the department was housed on the Kanza Education and Science Park grounds. Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford was joined by Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller and representatives of the Hi Crest Neighborhood and Safe Streets.  
According to the district, officials are hoping that this is the department moving to Avondale East, is the first step of many to have community partners in the former school building to help serve the needs of the community. 
For more information, please click here.
Leadership Greater Topeka 2013 Class Selected
Thirty-eight individuals from the Topeka and Shawnee County  were selected to participate in the 30th class for the 2013 Leadership Greater Topeka program.
Briana Holmes, communications coordinator for Heartland Visioning, was among the 38 individuals selected to participate in the 2013 Leadership Greater Topeka, a program offered through the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.
Members of the 2013 class were selected from more than 200 applicants representing a diverse background and cross section of the community, including business, education, health care, law enforcement and media. 

Holmes joined Heartland Visioning in December 2011 and is a life-long Topeka resident. She will benefit from the Leadership Greater Topeka experience by gaining more extensive knowledge and background of our community. 

On January 31 and February 1 the class will attend a two day retreat to kick off the program and continue to attend seven day-long sessions through May. The classes will consist of a variety of activities and discussions for this diverse group. 

Sessions will teach class members about the challenges Topeka and Shawnee County face. Through the course, participants will learn how they, as individuals, can work to influence the community and address pressing issues in Topeka and Shawnee County.  

For the complete list of the 2013 Leadership Greater Topeka Class click here.
Contact Us

Safe Streets coalition is working to make Topeka the safest capital city.

Topeka's All-Inclusive Community Calendar visit:
Winter Wonderland
Now until December 31
@ Lake Shawnee Campgrounds
6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 
@ Helen Hocker Theater
5:00 p.m. 

Twilight Tours
December 7
@ Topeka Zoo
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Ballet Midwest Presents: The Nutcracker
December 7-9
@ Topeka Performing Arts Center
Times Vary 
@ Kansas Expocentre, Landon Arena
The Santaland Diaries
December 14-15
@ The Break Room
10:00 p.m. 
December 15
@ Crestview Shelter House
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Public Skate
December 16
@ Kansas Expocentre Landon Arena
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
December 27
@ Kansas Children's Discovery Center
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
December 28
@ Kansas Children's Discovery Center
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
January 2, 2013
@ Lee Arena
7:00 p.m.
January 3, 2013
@ Kansas Children's Discovery Center
9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  
January 3, 2013
@ Lee Arena
 7:00 p.m.
Laughing Matters
January 4-5
@ Topeka Civic Theatre
8:00 p.m. 
Looking for more events like this in Topeka? Visit