TOPEKA (KSNT) – After multiple house fires in the last 72 hours, Topeka leaders are working towards creating a better living culture in the city.
Stopping these vacant house fires is just one purpose for the “Change our Culture for Property Maintenance” initiative. 27 news spoke to District 1 Topeka City Councilwoman Karen Hiller on Friday about the project.
Hiller said members are working hard to kick off the second year of their five-year plan to improve the city. They have already met twice this week and putting a stop to vacant house fires was on their to-do list.
Hiller said the taskforce is taking two approaches to combat this issue: action and policy. She believes you cannot have one without the other.
Now, the taskforce is looking at what policies the city already has in place and determining how well those are working. Plus, what needs to be improved before acting.
“The vacant house fires, there are actually probably ten moving parts to examining that issue,” Hiller said. “Some of these anyway, the department is pretty sure have been lit by what they call trespassers, somebody who’s been in the property without permission; why is that happening, how do we solve that.”
Hiller said the task force plans on taking action this summer by bettering curb appeal; like keeping up with yard maintenance and properly securing the buildings.
Hiller believes by making the homes not look vacant, they won’t look appealing for trespassers. If you want to help with this project, reach out to your council member to get in touch with the taskforce.