Topeka City Council Members Approve $25M Facelift Along Wanamaker

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Enhancing the Wanamaker Corridor and improving city streets and sidewalks were among the items on the agenda for Topeka City Council members.

For three weeks, Topeka City Council members deferred their vote on a $25,000,000 Community Improvement District at SW 12th and SW Wanamaker Road within the Crosswind Commons, but Thursday night council members passed the issue 7-1 with Councilwoman Denise Everhart casting a no vote.

A 1% sales tax for as long as 22 years on products purchased within the district, along with special obligation bonds will help pay for the CID.

Councilman Nathan Schmidt said, "It's a great move for the city with low risk for the city to develop a part of Wanamaker that really needs a face lift. It's old and been neglected."

The approval was much to the delight of David Christie, Managing Principal of Christie Development, who isn't wasting any time and says he is ready to break ground in February.

"Wanamaker is critically important. It's a gateway to the community and we are excited about the opportunity to redevelop the 125,000 feet and bring in 3 new fast casual restaurants that are not currently in Topeka. As well as a large national sporting goods retailer," said Christie.

Not everyone thought the Wanamaker Corridor deserved such a makeover. Councilwoman Everhart remains hesitant.

Everhart said, "Hopefully there will be a benefit, I'll be hopeful. I've heard from a lot of people in my district. We have seen things on the Wanamaker Corridor where there's been development and there are empty buildings. So I guess I just wasn't convinced."

Council members also approved over $19,000,000 worth of city streets, sidewalks and gutter improvements, all of which were a part of the 2014 capital improvement budget.

Beginning in February, council members will meet just three times a month. First readings will still be including until further notice.