Topeka Mayor discusses city's economic status during annual community luncheon

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast spoke at his final community luncheon on Thursday afternoon, having announced his decision to not to seek re-election. Wolgast gave a breakdown of the city's economic progress.

"Kansas Avenue is really becoming a stage for so many things an attraction for all of northeast Kansas," said Wolgast. "Secondly, we have an increasing quality of life here, the arts especially we are becoming known as an arts city."

Mayor Wolgast touched on how the city is coping with the potential closure of St. Francis hospital, Payless Shoe Source recent bankruptcy announcement, Alorica leaving the city, and the KCC rejection of Westar Energy's merger with Great Plains Energy. Both Wolgast and County Commissioner Bob Archer say they are optimistic
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"We have the tremendous growth of Security Benefit. They are increasing employment. Mars has announced several big expansions, so there are a lot of good aspects in the economy," said Wolgast. "We take certain blows from a loss of some jobs."

"We are working with various unemployment agencies and we are all addressing it," said Archer. "It's very important to us to find answers for people that are going through difficult times right now."
As a final farewell, Wolgast says he is confident the city will push through recent setbacks.

"It's been a great four or five years to be a mayor when Topeka is going through a transformation. There are new things happening and we are coming together," said Wolgast.