Topekans excited about development move back to hometown

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When Cassidy and Austin Roberson grew up in Topeka, downtown was considered a ghost-town. 

If you weren’t working downtown, you didn’t go downtown, said Austin Roberson. 

Cassidy Roberson is from East Topeka and her husband Austin is from Silver Lake.

The Robersons spent a year working on their first home in Lawrence, after attending the University of Kansas. 

”There wasn’t a lot to do growing up, if I had to be completely honest, said Cassidy Roberson. I didn’t want to stay here after I went to school. When I went to college, I wanted to be done and move to a big city. 

But after seeing the change in their hometown, they wanted to be part of Topeka’s glow up, as the millennials call it.

Seeing downtown develop is something people have been talking about since I was in high school, said Austin Roberson. 

Kathleen Marker and her husband both grew up in central Topeka. The pair commuted to their jobs from their home in Lawrence. But after realizing their social events were in Topeka, it made sense to make the switch.

This weekend is full, I mean we’re going to Topeka Civic Theater, we’re excited about going to the dinner theater, said Marker. 

In fact, her husband’s commute became even longer, as he drives to Johnson County for work.

One sign of the growth downtown is the demand for places to live. For example, the Jackson Street Lofts are so popular that according to their website, you’ll be placed on a waiting list. 

These families aren’t alone. The Robersons said there is a growing feeling among young people that Topeka’s revitalization is only beginning.

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