City Hosts First Neighborhood Summit

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Larry Wolgast

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- It's the first ever Neighborhood Summit at the Downtown Ramada Inn and Topekans had the chance to speak to their city leaders about issues that were important to them.

Debbie Willis is a local Topekan and she knows about neighborhood problems first hand.

" I feel like our area has been neglected. I want our neighborhood to be safe and it's not safe. I call and call and nothing seems to be done," said Willis.

But now, something is being done about it. Several Topeka citizens joined in with Willis at the first Neighborhood Summit held at the Downtown Ramada Inn.

Mayor Larry Wolgast held the meeting with other Topeka representatives to encourage citizens to come out and discuss their thoughts on what is working and what can improve in Topeka neighborhoods.

"Together we can solve problems and that's why we are here," said Mayor Wolgast.

"I think the number one issue is citizens don't feel they are engaged. They don't believe that they have had an opportunity to participate," said City Manager, Jim Colson.

And Saturday, Topekans had the chance to participate by separating into groups for breakout sessions where they wrote down what aspects of the community they would like to be changed and then posted them on the wall.

Bennie Davis believes there needs to be an improvement in Topeka's schools.

"Well, I think if we are taught the importance of having good values then that will make our neighborhoods safer," said Davis.

And to conclude the meeting, the Summit panel, consisting of city and community leaders, went over the major issues the citizens pointed out and how they plan to build a stronger community; neighborhood by neighborhood.

"This is a situation that words are a good start, but action has to occur and we need to figure out how to do that by working together," said Colson.

If you have a concern you would like to bring up to the city staff, you can email them at citycommunications@topeka.org.


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