The Topeka Landmarks Commission was created in 1998 to provide oversight and advice concerning the City’s important historic resources, and to assist local residents and organizations in their efforts to preserve our heritage. The Landmarks Commission also provides local residents and business interests with a link to state and national organizations through its membership and staff, bringing professional assistance to bear on local issues. The Landmarks Commission members are all well-versed in history, but many are also trained professionals in the architectural and building trades.
Historic Preservation Plan
Read the City’s Updated Historic Preservation Plan
Updating the Historic Preservation Plan
In 2012, the City of Topeka hired Heritage Strategies consultants, Peter Benton and Elizabeth Watson, to assist in rewriting Topeka’s Historic Preservation Plan. The Consultant meet with City staff and the public on a regular basis. The goal of the consultants is to complete the new Historic Preservation Plan by September 2013.
Historic Preservation Planning FAQs
What is an historic preservation plan?
A historic preservation plan is a public document that identifies strategies through which a community can strengthen its character and revitalize older neighborhoods through a variety of complimentary public and private initiatives and actions.
Who should be interested in a historic preservation plan?
Homeowners, business owners, neighborhood groups, and community advocates shouod be interested in participating in the development of a historic preservation plan, to find out how they can contribute to the planning process and how the plan can benefit their unique and common interests.
How do preservation plans work?
Through community consensus, preservation plans identify how particular historic resources associated with an event, a person, or a place can be used to help achieve community goals. Sometimes called heritage development, preservation planning uses a community’s unique assets to create business opportunities and enhance quality of life for residents. Depending upon the circumstances, strategies might be developed around the revitalization of residential neighborhoods, the rediscovering of historic commercial districts, or encouraging heritage tourism. Preservation plans focus upon place-making, helping to create places where people want to live and work.
How will the plan relate to other city initiatives?
The preservation plan will build upon existing goals and initiatives identified by the City and its residents. It will look at how the City’s historic assets are uniquely positioned to support and complement existing initiatives, and can be used to expand upon opportunities already available. The preservation plan will be fully integrated with the City’s other planning efforts.
How might the plan balance public and private interests?
The preservation plan will rely upon both public and private initiatives. Public policy will seek to encourage private investment and entrepreneurial endeavors that take advantage of the unique character of the City’s neighborhoods and commercial areas. Direct public improvements might focus on enhancing streetscapes and other public spaces to the benefit of adjacent private properties. Through the vision elaborated in a preservation plan, property owners will be encouraged to work together so that their separate, individual initiatives can be complementary, and contribute to a vibrant economy with a strong sense of place.
Current/Recent Historic Preservation Projects
A series of projects on the drawing board with the City of Topeka will impact the physical appearance of that city’s downtown area. A proposal to realign I-70 has been adopted, and the Capital District Project will redesign public spaces along Kansas Avenue. North of the Kansas River, the NOTO Arts District is picking up steam as the community reinvents this 19th century commercial node for the 21st century. The redevelopment efforts these projects and others will spur have the potential to either support or detract from the historic character of Topeka’s oldest major commercial corridor.
To help decision-makers balance new opportunities with historic preservation, the City of Topeka hired Rosin Preservation, LLC to complete a survey of historic resources in the Kansas Avenue commercial district. The goal of the project was two-fold: 1) to identify buildings that may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) or the Register of Historic Kansas Places (Kansas Register) and 2) conversely, to identify areas that are not register eligible and therefore prime for redevelopment.
Using boundaries developed by the Topeka Landmarks Commission, Rosin Preservation inventoried 221 buildings in an area along Kansas Avenue, both north and south of the Kansas River. The boundary included the original 19th century commercial centers of Topeka and North Topeka (originally the town of Eugene). Both areas are densely built with commercial, industrial, and government buildings erected over a 150-year period between 1855 and 2009. They illustrate an evolution of function and design that amalgamated as the modern City of Topeka.
Local Historic Landmarks
- Current Designated Local Landmarks
- Inventory Map of Existing Local Landmarks
- Historic Landmark Overlay Zoning application form
- National and State listed historic properties
Financial Incentives for Historic Preservation
- City of Topeka Neighborhood Revitalization Program property tax rebate
State and federal income tax credits.
- A 20% Federal income tax credit is available for the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing buildings that are determined by the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, to be “certified historic structures.”
- A 10% Federal income tax credit is available for the rehabilitation of non-historic and non-residential buildings constructed before 1936. There is no formal review process for rehabilitations of non-historic buildings.
- The Kansas State Tax Credit is equal to 25 percent of qualifying expenses incurred during a qualified project on a qualified building. Qualified buildings are those that have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Register of Historic Kansas Places, or have been deemed contributors to a National or State Register Historic District.
The Kansas State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) administers the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) to finance local preservation activities that will contribute to planning for the preservation of the built environment and archeological resources. properties and develop plans for their recognition and preservation.
Heritage Trust Fund Grant
The Heritage Trust Fund (HTF) is a state program that provides matching funds for the preservation of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places or the Register of Historic Kansas Places.