Progress report as of July 2024

A PLACE TO LIVE: 22% furtherance

Housing For All

1. Topeka Housing Strategy 
  • The Land Bank: The Board is set to begin discussion on aquistion of parcels and the development of outreach material. The Land Bank program is planned for a late summer to early fall launch.
  • Changing the Culture of Property Maintenance: Continue to build relationships with landlords towards developing a larger pool of second chance landlords.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU): A smaller independent residentail dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand alone single-family home is being proposed with public hearings conducted in June as an opportunity to expand housing options.
2. Housing Taskforce 
  • Developer Outreach: Packets to potential housing developer have been distributed to targeted businesses in Kansas and the United States to garner interest of development in the area. 

Active Core & Neighborhoods

3. Downtown NOTO Masterplan
  • Polk Quincy Viaduct: Survey, and street prep has been conducted along with relocating infrastructure has begun
  • Common Consumption: Recently passed ordanance resulting in consumption districts in Downtown and NOTO.
  • Residential Development: Two opportunities are currently being pursued.
4. 21st Century Riverfront
  • Consultants Bolten & Mink have been working with the RAC to execute public imput to better understand the publics wants and needs for the riverfront toward developing a final concept. Future plans include federal communication and collaboration and forming committees following the vision plans completion. Set for this year.
5. Gateways & Corridors
  • Entry Points: A taskforce has been created to advance for potential private public partnership and uniformity of appearance.
  • Bring Back The Boulevard: The BBTB Taskforce has worked deligently since MO22 to work with local government to encorage improvement of infrastructure and beautification of Topeka Boulevard. Efforts have advanced to developing efforts or potential public and prvate partnership toward asthetic uniformity and appearance. Major improvements are underway between 21st and 29th streets and private funds are being raised for vegitation enhancements along th section of the roadway. and a redesign for the area around the railroad trestle.

Arts & Recreation

6 Topeka Arts & Cultute Masterplan
  • Civil Rights Summer 2024: 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a new multidisciplinary, community-based artwork series by award-winning, world-renowned artist vanessa german, scheduled to premiere in May 2024 and made possible by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town Grant awarded to ArtsConnect and matched by Visit Topeka Inc. 
  • Research and development: Potential cultural asset mapping initiative that would use data from the Topeka ACMP to visualize Topeka’s rich ecosystem of arts and culture, with an emphasis on amplifying the voices of underserved communities and submerged stories. 
7. Active Recreation
  • Gage Park Master Plan: Bartlett & West was chosen to lead the process last November. The public input process is underway. 
  • Family Park Project: Has broken ground. It will include 16 pickleball courts, a destination-style playground, a shelter, and restrooms. Substantial completion is expected by early to mid-September of this year. 
  • Greenways & Trails Master Plan: Scheduled out for RFP.
  • Bike Network: 78.39 miles of completed on-street bikeways facilities. The current study of the additional 13 miles of bikeways all lie within areas determined “Environmental Justice” sensitive. Additional 4.81miles of bikeways funded through grants that are being constructed now and should be completed end of early 2024. Bikeways Phase 5: Plan completed to pursue grants in 2024 for implementation. Phase 6 scheduled for 2024.
  • TASC Strategic Plan – 2024-2027: Approved in April of 2024.

  • TASC Economic Impact Survey: Preliminary finding presented. Report to provide info on economic outflow in sports travel frequency and distance.

  • KASHAA: Working with association to bring tournaments in. (Football, 4, 5, or 6A)

  • Ks Kids Wrestling: Next bid cycle will occur. This tournament brings $1mil to the community. 

  • Kossover expansion: Pursuing grants with plans for more courts.

A PLACE TO PROSPER: 21% Furtherance

Retain & Expand

8. Existing Business Services
  • BRE: Hosted a Manufactures round table. BRE meetings being conducted.
9. Career Connection Program
  • Regional Action Plan: In development to target youth (16-24 yrs old) from LMI families to create better economic mobility opportunities.  This will be a collaboration between youth providers, educational and industry partners and other service providers.  This is part of the fellowship program through ACCE.  There will be measurable KPI’s as part of the program, which will begin in August, if not before.  Starting discussions soon with youth providers and industry leaders soon.  
  • Washburn Tech and Heartland Works: Collaboration to start a FAME USA chapter in Shawnee County. FAME is a registered apprenticeship program centered in manufacturing, that can be duplicated across industry sectors.  Industry partners are key, and Washburn is putting on a manufacturing roadshow at the end of May, inviting regional manufacturers to discuss FAME and the opportunities they provide.

Launch & Develop

10. Innovation Center & District


  • Phased Buildout Plan: Approved at the February 14th JEDO meeting. In process of finalizing Incentives Agreement and 3 identified tenant leases to initiate next steps.
  • K-State105 Funding: Recieved to support Plug and Play/GO Topeka/Kansas State partnership including funds for technical assistance and product validation through the university.
  • Plug and Play Expo: Successful June, with international participants.
11. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building
  • SourceLink: Contracted to conduct Asset Mapping project that will identify existing community resources, organize a community workshop to assess the local ecosystem, identify needs, and develop a resource map for entrepreneurs and report with detailed findings for further development of infrastructure. Funding from K-State105 for SourceLink Asset Mapping and Business Concierge support for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Promote & Attract

12. Targeted Corporate Attraction
  • Multiview: A brand awareness platform that strategically targets economic development audiences and places GO Topeka in front of the key decision makers with 492k impressions, 270 clicks in Q1.
  • Gazelle: A database that provides a list of verified active projects by industry. This allows us to research the projects and company’s to showcase Topeka & Shawnee County as a great place to do business. Reached out to 6 companies in Q1.
  • Marketing Ads: Reached out to 9 companies in Q1.
  • MTAA Improvements: Plan: Is underway to improve ammenities at Billard Airport and expand level of offering with new redesign of Billard Restaurnant. Continued pursuit of building improvements continue at MTAA.
13. Developer Outreach and Engagement
  • Vendor Outreach: Working with third-party contractor to organize a list of vendors to meet with virtually to discuss the economic development opportunities Topeka offerings to these companies whose focus is avionics/electronic systems. Have had virtual meetings with four companies. Another round of meetings is scheduled for July

A PLACE TO LEARN: 20% Furtherance

Cradle Through Career

14. C2C Collaborative and Data Exchange
  • District Collaboration: No coordinated collaboration or data exchange. Each District working within their own strategic plans. New Superintendent Sheila Meggers for Shanwee Heights joined district in Q1.
15. Washburn Now
  • Stratgic Framework: Called Thriving Together, The Washburn Board of Regents approved the plan that includes a new mission, vision, and core values. Several key priorities, objectives, and initiatives involve aspects of Washburn Now and one initiative specifically mentions Momentum 2027.
  • Hiring: A new Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, Dr. John Fritch was hired.  This is a key position that serves as the leader of all academic programming. He is integral to Washburn’s efforts to offer programs that meet the community’s needs.
  • High School Outreach: Financial Aid team has visited more than 50 high schools in our community and surrounding region to offer assistance with completing the FAFSA form in addition to numerous sessions on campus.  We assist anyone who requests our help, whether they plan to attend Washburn or another school.  These efforts are key to increasing the college going-rate and ensuring access to post-secondary education.

Access to Opportunity

16. Career Navigation Center
  • W.I.S.E.: Women-mentor program executed.
  • Workforge: Upskilling platform consideration for a learning and development solution that incorporates proven engagement techniques, configurable pathways, and technology enablement strategies to improve workforce development.
  • Awareness: Go Topeka building awareness of services at the Workforce center.
17. Child Care Task Force
  • Child Care Slots: 97 additional slots have been opened so far. Patterson Infant and Toddler Center is slated to open in early June, creating 31 additional slots. SENT was just licensed for 20 more slots than they originally planned for, moving their planned capacity from 64 to 84.  Mini-Learners planned for 60 slots, but will be more than 100 when all of their renovations are done.  
  • Scholarships: The community fund for parent scholarships to aid with the cost of child care has been established with the Topeka Community Foundation, and investors are still needed from the business community.  
  • Family Forward: The website is live at, promoting the Champions for Childcare campaign for the business community, and aid in recruitment of child care providers.  Since the site went live last week we have already had one new applicant of an experienced child care worker.  
  • We launched EnGen an a child care industry specific ESL program, and have three enrolled in that program.

A PLACE TO BELONG: 25% Furtherance

Engaged and Empowered

18. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy
  • Resources: Identifying and speaking with community business and neighborhood groups to explain the support resources available through GO Topeka and resource partners.
  • Translation: Translation of programs and outreach sessions to provide information.
  • Expanding Business Targets: First Spanish language membership meeting was held 5/2024 and garnered 2 new members, highly successful and will conduct more opportunities on a regular basis to expand the diversity of members.

Proud & Aware

19. “My Topeka” Campaign
  • National News: Wall Street Journal ran a Choose Topeka 2.0 article highlighting opportunity for migrant workforce with papers to work. Bias media put a negative spin. Article also mentioned in in the Department of Justice newsletter. Zillow also featured the Choose Topeka program in enewsletter. 
  • Topeka Flag License Plate: Now available., 
  • Topeka Promise: CBS interviewed TPS 501 & Ukraine efforts.

Recruit & Retain Talent

20. Choose Topeka 2.0
  • Coverage: Telemundo 6 min segment on Oct 16th media coverage caused major U.S and international interest in Choose Topeka resulting in half a billion views within a week. Interest in work and business relocation/expansion interest 
  • Response: Phone Calls: 516 Emails:1,192, VM: 103, Walk-ins: 13 From: New Jersey, Nebraska, Dallas Tx, Arkansas, Leavenworth, KS
  • Choose Topeka Survey: Results of survey reveiled individuals, many with families, moved to Topeka for employment and received relocation incentives in 2023.  A survey has been issued to all recipients of Choose incentives, and 8 have been completed.  Generally, overall satisfaction with their decision to move to Topeka has been positive, with all stating they intend to stay in Topeka for 5 years or more. Over 20 unique employers have offered incentives just in 2023, with 36 unique employers through the length of the program.
  • Key Indicator: Since the start of 2.0 we have had 45 families move to Shawnee County with an average salary of around $103,000.  4 are boomerangs.  
21. Talent Immersion Efforts 
  • YP Day at the Capital: Forge hosted its 2nd annual Kansas Young Professionals Day at the Capitol on Monday, Feb. 5. The milestone event brought together nearly 100 young professionals from various communities across Kansas and coincided with the state’s 2024 recognition of Feb. 5 as Kansas Young Professionals Day
  • 2024 Leadership Greater Topeka: The 40th Anniversary Graduation and Gala was held in May at Prairie Band Casino with record attendance. Honoring alumni – Jennifer Geotz, Rene Cabrere, Greg Schwerdt, Pamela Johnson-Betts, and Vince Frye and graduation of the 2024 Class.