box [graphic] November 1996 Newsletter

Historic Preservation Ordinance is Proposed by Planning Commission

The Topeka-Shawnee County Metropolitan Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed historic preservation ordinance on November 18, 1996. The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in the City Council Chambers at 215 East 8th. Please come and voice your support for the passage of the ordinance.

This would also be a good time to contact your city council members and county commissioners regarding your support of the ordinance, as these two bodies will also hold public hearings and debate on the matter after the planning commission has taken its vote.

Topeka and Shawnee County is the only metropolitan area in the state of Kansas not actively engaged in a historic preservation planning program. Additionally, Topeka is the only larger city in Kansas not to have enacted a historic preservation ordinance. Hutchinson, Salina, Kansas City, Lawrence and Wichita have all adopted historic preservation ordinances to allow local governments to assume a leadership role in preservation planning.

Using the Wichita, Kansas ordinance as a model, the HistoricPreservation Subcommittee of the Metropolitan Planning Commission has worked to fashion a city/county ordinance that can meet the needs of Topeka and Shawnee County.

The ordinance accomplishes eight basic actions:

  1. Creates a landmark commission that reflects a city/county composition;
  2. Creates a local register for city/county application;
  3. Develops protections for local register and otherwise designated properties;
  4. Establishes a design review process;
  5. Creates overlay historic district zoning;
  6. Establishes a thirty-day waiting period for demolition permits;
  7. Maintains a listing of proposed demolitions in the central inspection department;
  8. Establishes a six-month waiting period for resubmission if a demolition permit is denied.

Historic preservation is a stated goal in the comprehensive plan for Topeka and Shawnee County; the ordinance would help to achieve this goal. The ordinance can help lay the groundwork for incorporating historic resources into development plans and in doing so, help to enhance the community's vision of itself for the future.

The ordinance can provide a platform for healthy debate through landmark commission hearings. The advisory recommendations of the landmark commission will be reviewed by either the city council or county commission for final action, providing historic preservation with a formal process for consideration within the context of local government.

Copies of the ordinance may be obtained by calling the Metropolitan Planning Commission at 295-3728.


HTI Hires Part-Time Executive Secretary

Historic Topeka is pleased to welcome Robin Geil as our new Executive Secretary. A recent graduate of Washburn University with a degree in history, Robin is from Elsmore, Kansas in the southeast part of the state. She is looking forward to learning more about Topeka history and becoming involved in Topeka preservation.

Robin will oversee the maintenance of membership services and will be available to members during office hours. She will also organize HTI educational materials and assist in HTI mailings, including the newsletter.


Special Thanks...

Historic Topeka, Inc. wishes to thank Jerry Long of RE/MAX Associates of Topeka for generously funding the printing for our membership of our newest publication, "Historic Downtown Topeka," the first in a series of Self-Guided Tour Maps.


Preservation Calendar

Monday, November 11, 1996: TURN AROUND TEAM Meeting 7 PM - Robinson Middle School Gym. Proposed historic preservation ordinance for Topeka and Shawnee County will be discussed.

Thursday, November 14, 1996 - Watch local media for news conference announcing completion of Central City Historic Sites Survey and publication of Historic Downtown Topeka Walking-Tour Map by Downtown Topeka, Inc. and Historic Topeka, Inc.

Monday, November 18, 1996: PLANNING COMMISSION Meeting 6 PM - City Council Chambers. Commission will hold public hearing on proposed preservation ordinance.

Thursday, November 21, 1996 - "Save the Paxton House" Benefit Gala. $45 per person; $75 per couple.

Sunday, December 1, 1996 - Shawnee County Historical Society Annual Meeting. For more information, call 231-0548.

December 5, 1996 - Topeka's 142nd Birthday

Sunday, December 8, 1996- Society for the Preservation of Holliday Park Holiday Home Tour. For more information, call 357-7509.

Thursday, December 19, 1996 - Kansas Preservation Alliance Annual Meeting. For more information, call 235-6163.


Endangered Paxton House Sold; New Owners to Hold Gala Fund-Raiser November 21

One of this year's listees on the Historic Topeka Top 10 Endangered Sites list, the Paxton House in the 900 block of Western next to Topeka High, was recently purchased by a group called Our Lady of Compassion. Because the historic home, purchased from U.S.D. 501, is threatened with demolition if it remains on its current site, the group hopes to raise funds to relocate the c. 1914 structure to another site where it can be preserved and restored.

On Thursday, November 21, the new owners will host a fund-raising gala at the Kansas Museum of History. The evening's activities, which will begin at 6:30 pm, will include silent and live auctions, dinner catered by Robert Krause of Krause's Gourmet-to-Go and music provided by concert pianist James Rivers.

Tickets proceeds benefit the preservation of the Paxton House.


Ross Roster

Historic Topeka, Inc. gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following to the restoration of the Ross Row Houses:


Historic Topeka Top 10 Endangered Sites, 1996-97

1. TOPEKA'S HISTORIC SCHOOLS:

Garfield (1888)
Van Buren (1910)
Curtis (1927)
Sumner (1936)
East Topeka (1937)
Hayden East (1939)

2. FIRE STATION #5
(1935) corner of 17th and Topeka Blvd. on grounds of Expocentre

3. TOPEKA STATE HOSPITAL
(1886-1900) SW 6th St.

4. HISTORIC GRAVEMARKERS, STATUARYAND MAUSOLEA
(late 1800s) at Topeka Cemetery SE 10th St.

5. PAXTON HOUSE
(c. 1914) 900 block of Western next to Topeka High

6. CONSTITUTION HALL
(c. 1855) 400 block of S. Kansas Ave.

7. OLD POLICE STATION & ANNEX
(1935), 5th and Jackson

8. KANSAS NEWSPAPER UNION BLDG. (1888), 118 W. 8th St.

9. NORTH KANSAS AVENUE HISTORIC COMMERCIAL DISTRICT
(1880s-1920s) North Topeka

10. EASTLAKE VICTORIAN COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
(pre-1900) 112-118 SE 7th St.


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