Open House For Downtown Kansas Avenue Project

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-An open house was held at 800 Southwest Jackson Wednesday so Shawnee County residents could have a chance to look at pictures and ask questions about the Kansas Avenue Project.

Construction is expected to start in the 700 and 800 blocks of South Kansas Avenue in 2014 followed by the 600 and 900 blocks in 2015.

And project managers say it will most likely take 2 years to finish.

The Kansas Avenue project is at the intersection of a street planning project and downtown revitalization. The project will provide improvements on South Kansas Avenue between Southwest 6th Street and Southwest 10th Street.

"The point of this is to reintroduce the retailer and pedestrian use of the avenue that for years it kind of has been neglected," said Vice President of Architect One, Scott Gales.

Project managers say this will include improvements of lighting, crosswalks, curbs, gutters and pavement and utilities. The sidewalk widths will be as wide as 24 feet on both sides of Kansas Avenue and the traffic lanes will be reduced to three lanes.

The budget for the project is set for more than $8 million. Private sector contributions will fund enhancements "to add a little bling to the project if you will," said Project Manager for City of Topeka, Stan Meyers.

The so called "bling" would be attractions like pocket parks for children to play in, information kiosks and bronze statues.

"A vital downtown and a healthy community that's active and fun everyone is looking for, so this is critical for us and we know that," said Topeka City Council member, Karen Hiller.

Pedestrian access will be available throughout the construction and businesses will remain open.