Private investors have committed more than $6.8 million toward implementing the goals set out in the Momentum 2022 plan.
Williams Magnet School students helped reveal the news Wednesday as they held up signs showing the $6,804,500 figure outside the Topeka Performing Arts Center where business leaders and city officials gathered to celebrate.
“It’s a vote of confidence in Topeka,” said Matt Pivarnik, president and CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership.
About 150 area companies contributed to the capital campaign.
“It is just another example of how amazing our community is, how giving, how generous, how devoted,” said Mayor Michelle De La Isla. “People are saying that they are believing in our community and they’re giving the money to make things happen.”
Momentum 2022 is a five-year strategy designed to enhance Topeka’s economy and quality of life.
“Topeka’s got momentum now,” said Keith Warta, Momentum 2022 tri-chair. “I think we all know that. We can feel it, it’s all around us. But we have a lot of work to do.”
Warta challenged the group to stay engaged and get other people involved.
Pivarnik said change that is already apparent five months into the Momentum plan stirs his emotions.
“I actually find myself on a regular basis lately, actually shedding a tear for Topeka and Shawnee County,” Pivarnik said. “It’s because I see it — I’m somewhere and I’m hearing great things or I see some incredible new restaurant open up or I just hear a young professional say ‘I’m loving it in Topeka right now.”
He also noted the importance of public-private partnerships and the collaboration between the two groups.
The funds will be used in the next five years as the plan’s five key areas are rolled out:
- develop homegrown talent
- create vibrant and attractive places
- grow a diverse economy
- promote a positive image
- collaborate for a strong community
Pivarnik said the strategy is unique in that it includes a focus on “inclusive prosperity.”
“It’s meant to create a good economy for all citizens of Topeka and Shawnee County,” he said.
Michaela Saunders, vice president of brand strategy for Visit Topeka, said Wednesday’s announcement was a reflection of the city’s potential.
“I think the most exciting thing about it, to me, is how committed all of those investors really are to what they see happening in Topeka and what they see possible for Topeka,” Saunders said.