How Topeka city leaders want to reverse dropping population

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The latest census numbers show a decline in Topeka’s population, and city leaders are wanting to grow it by attracting people to the area.

A total of 180,000 people lived in Shawnee County 10 years ago. As of 2020, that number has dropped by one percent. An economist with the Greater Topeka Partnership presented these numbers to community leaders at a roundtable discussion. They said they are looking to make Topeka a place where people want to stay long-term.

“As income is increasing there’s more job opportunities, there’s maybe less inequality,” Freddy Mawyin, an economic specialist in Topeka said. “I would say more opportunities as a whole.”

The goal is to make Topeka a place where people want to work, but also a place where they want to live and grow with the city. With job opportunities at growing companies like Advisors Excel and Target’s Distribution Center, developers believe targeting a younger crowd between the ages of 25 and 45 might be the answer.

“It’s a prime age for families to grow and families to expand,” Mawyin said.

They have already started to see this population grow.

“Consistently over the last three years, when people have the opportunity to accept a job in Topeka and choose this community, they begin to choose it more and more.” Mawyin said.

Some areas of the city have also transformed in the last three years.

“We are pointing to not just our downtown revitalization but also significant reinvestment along Wanamaker and along the west side,” said Bob Ross, Greater Topeka Partnership. “You have a new family park that is going on Urish worth $10 million.”

Topeka developers are looking to go beyond that and make the city a community for the future.

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