TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Businesses are reacting to Topeka’s first downtown public plaza.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Financial Adviser at Edward Jones, Kenton Cox said. “I like the corner, it’s a great spot to be. But, progress will be good and I’m for the downtown area being revitalized.”
Cox is someone who will have to move his business so a downtown plaza can take its place. But, he’s not the only one. The Non-profit Organization, Downtown Topeka, has control of what goes in the plaza. Because of that, about 10 other business have to pack up and go. KSNT News reached out to the C.E.O. and President of Downtown Topeka, Vince Frye, to see what he was doing to help the businesses he’s kicking out.
“We want to work with them in honoring their leases,” Frye said. “And then if they have a desire to try to find another location downtown, we will work with them.”
A plan to have a downtown plaza has been in discussion for years. No cost has been given yet, but City Council has set aside 3.4 million dollars for the project alone — all paid for by visitors to the city. Back in April, the Non-profit Organization, Visit Topeka, surveyed 3,000 people who came up with a list of sights for downtown.
“A stage for concerts, maybe some kind of water feature…a place for food — food trucks,” Frye said.
All of that plus an area for public skating, a fire pit and even gardens. The project is aiming to attract more people to downtown. But, in this process, some businesses have to suffer.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a new location in downtown here somewhere that we’ll be able to go to,” Cox said.
There is no set date on when construction will happen for downtown Topeka. But, architectural plans are expected to start in 2017.