TOPEKA (KSNT) – From road work to a new housing district, Topeka city leaders gave the green light to multiple projects at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The council voted to create the city’s first reinvestment housing district with a focus on affordable housing. The new Eastgate subdivision is currently under construction near Southeast 10th Street and Rice Road. The developer, A&P Property Management, is building 23 duplexes. It will now receive financial aid from the city’s new housing incentive policy.

Each of the 46 units in the new development will have four bedrooms, two and a half baths and an attached garage. The units will rent for $1,500 a month, which meets a need identified in last year’s citywide housing market study. In creating the incentive district, the city will use increased property taxes generated by the project to reimburse the developer for a portion of the construction costs.

Council members also signed off on upgrading the system firefighters use to communicate. The station alerting and paging system allows firefighters across the city receive emergency calls from 911 dispatch.

Fire Chief Randy Phillips says multiple Topeka fire stations have experienced issues and outages with the aging system for a while now. He says it’s time for an upgrade, and city council members agreed. They approved spending $216,000 dollars to completely replace the system.

The council also approved helping Shawnee County pay for improvements to Auburn Road between Southwest 29th Street and K-4 Highway. The Auburn-Washburn School District recently annexed a tract of land at 29th Street and Auburn Road to build a new middle school. Shawnee County is working to design a new round about at its intersection.

This project is estimated to cost a total of $6.5 million; the county asked the city to cover $1 million of the costs because it is responsible for maintenance on that stretch of road. Council members agreed to pay for the city’s share with the citywide half-cent sales tax.

Topeka city leaders also signed off on two street projects. One will improve the intersection at Northeast Kansas and Northeast Gordon. Both the NOTO and East Topeka North Neighborhood Associations pushed to bump up the timetable on this project due to safety considerations.
Construction is expected to be completed in time for NOTO’s spring events and is estimated to cost $450,000.

The second street project will add an additional left turn lane to the junction of Southwest 45th Street and Topeka Boulevard. City leaders chose to expedite the start of this project because it has already been designed. The project is estimated to cost $400,000, and will be paid for fully by ARPA funds.