City of Topeka to celebrate culture change with beautification efforts

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 12:03 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The City of Topeka will celebrate a change of culture with beautification efforts from the Changing our Culture of Property Maintenance Initiative.

The City of Topeka says with the help of the Greater Topeka Partnership that on Thursday, Sept. 22, Schendel Lawn & Landscape was announced as the presenting sponsor for a celebration to honor community efforts to beautify Captial City neighborhoods.

Schendel Lawn & Landscape is proud to sponsor this year’s inaugural ‘Changing Our Culture of Property Maintenance’ celebration,” said Cassidy Roberson, Schendel’s director of customer experience. “We believe that a beautiful city begins with beautiful lawns. We are excited to partner with the City of Topeka and the Greater Topeka Partnership to empower more families across Topeka, by giving them the tools they need to elevate their residential lawns and landscapes.”

Between noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, the City said Topekans can celebrate with featured food trucks, music by DJ 151 Entertainment and various family-friendly activities. The entire community is welcome to come out and recognize those who have contributed to the success and mission of the program.

“We are so proud of the response to this program from our community,” said Karen Hiller, Topeka city council member representing District 1. “Our goal was to create an atmosphere where residents feel inspired to take responsibility for their properties and work together to address problems. We are thrilled to have Schendel Lawn & Landscape present this year’s end-of-season celebration. They are an incredible local business that makes our downtown landscaping the envy of communities across Kansas. I am so happy they are working with us to inspire the rest of Topeka to care equally for their own lawncare needs.”

According to the City, during the event, Schendel will host a raffle for those who attend with two new lawn mowers and a new string trimmer as expected giveaway items. The items were donated by Schendel, Smitty’s Lawn & Garden and DH Lawn & Garden Equipment. It said additional giveaway items will be raffled off for both children and adults.

“This truly is a game-changing initiative,” said Christina Valdivia-Alcala, city council member for District 2. “Growing up in Topeka, neighbors looked out for each other. When your neighbor struggled to keep up with their needs, they could count on you for help. This program reaches back to that legacy. I am very proud of our local partners, like Omni Circle Group, that have stepped up to offer support to our low- and moderate-income residents. It takes a community working together to truly become beautiful, and Topeka knows how to work together.”

The Changing our Culture of Property Maintenance Initiative was kicked off by Councilwomen Hiller and Valdivia-Alcala with a series of public input sessions about vision for local property maintenance. From there, the initiative grew into a program aimed at improving property conditions, reducing substandard housing, motivating property owners to care and encouraging investment in vacant and deteriorated properties.

“I applaud councilwomen Hiller and Valdivia-Alcala for driving this program forward,” said Glenda Washington, chief equity and opportunity officer for the Greater Topeka Partnership. “They recognize that addressing blight often starts with a helping hand, not a condemning heart. Everyone wants the opportunity to live better and have pride in their home. Some people, due to age, infirmity, or limited resources, just don’t know where to begin. I am happy to say that journey begins in Topeka with neighbors helping neighbors. I look forward to celebrating those who participated this October at Evergy Plaza!”

The City noted that in the initiative’s first year, it launched a community-led mowing program that operates in Neighborhood Improvement Asociation Areas.