Councilmembers Approve Half Million Dollar Streetscape Project

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__City-wide street improvements have been given high priority so far in 2013 within the Capital Improvement Budget.

Council members seem to agree that the repairs are needed, but one project planned in the Oakland neighborhood was discussed at length.

Council members looked over a half million dollar project budget designed to improve streetscape features in the Oakland neighborhood along ne Seward Avenue between NE Branner and NE Sumner Street.

Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz feels the area is in need of the makeover and felt strongly about improving an important area in Topeka. "With all the people that come down there for the fiesta it's important that we take care of this. It's in extreme need and has been for decades. I think it is a step in the right direction," she said.

The majority of council members sided with Ortiz and the project passed 8-1. Councilman Chad Manspeaker cast the no vote.

Councilman Manspeaker's no vote wasn't anything against the Oakland neighborhood. In fact he owned his first home here, but what he does feel the neighborhood needs is a vision. "I love the people of the Oakland neighborhood but i also know that they are strapped for cash. They want a city to spend money responsibly. If we could have had a plan in front of us I would have voted yes for it, but we are just voting on a blank slate.

A $600,000 project budget was also approved unanimously to begin construction of a curb, gutter and drainage system on SE 21st street from SE California to SE Carnahan Avenue. An area in the Highland Park neighborhood where Councilman Grey believes hasn't been fixed in several decades.

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