17th Street Project

If you’ve attempted to drive down 17th street lately, you’ve probably noticed that the landscaping is changing. For the past couple of weeks, city crews have began removing trees and marking city service lines to prepare for the 17th Street Project. The 17th Street Project, as I will lovingly refer to it, is a street revitalization project from Washburn to Macvicar, via 17th Street. Most recently, the entire street section has been closed and huge parts of the road are missing.

As a joint project between the city and Bartlett & West, the 17th Street Project will culminate with the beautification of the southern border of College Hill. The plans include new storm sewers to improve drainage to the west and additional inlets at Mulvane, a significant reduction in the number of power poles, decorative street lighting on the north and south sides of the roadway, a five foot sidewalk on the north side and eight foot sidewalk on the south side, and a three-lane roadway with landscaped medians.

The 17th Street Project is just a small part of the City’s huge year of street projects from revenue collected from a citywide half-cent sales tax to fix streets in primarily residential neighborhoods. In early March, Topeka City council approved a $2.46 million budget for the project, which includes $1.25 million in sales tax dollars. The City plans to finance the remainder of the project, using private contributions, operating funds and money borrowed through general obligation bonds.

Because the 17th Street Project is occurring in two phases, with short detours, your normal day shouldn’t be interrupted too much. However, during construction, the Topeka Metro cannot make stops in the construction zone. Alternative routes will be posted on www.topekametro.org. Most importantly, (to me and other coffee lovers), you can still get your daily PT’s fix, through the entrance on Lane. Construction is scheduled to be completed in December. By then, we’ll be old pros at creating alternative routes.

PT's Map


Metal Recycling Drive: June 2, 9AM

Please place metal recyclables on your porch by 9AM. They will be picked up by neighbors and recycled to raise money to pay for the newsletter postage and other Neighborhood Association Activities. THANKS!

In MARCH neighbors donated:

Aluminum cans (UBC) 198 lbs. @ 53 cents/lb. $104. 94
Steel 283 lbs. @ 5.5 cents/lb. 15.56
“Rim” (for a tire?) 17 lbs. @ 52 cents/lb. 8.84
TOTAL $129.34 (+ a 66-cent bonus = $130.00)

This drive brought in about the same amount of money as other drives the past 12 months did (just a little less).

Since the quarterly neighborhood recycling drives began in September 1990, our College Hill Association has received $11,114.06 from recycling! (That’s a lot of money! It also represents a lot of materials that didn’t go into a landfill!)

We thank and appreciate SO MUCH all the people who contributed their recyclables to this drive! Many thanks also to the dear neighbor friends who drove and picked up recyclables that day. Susan and Clark Duffy, Bob Fackler, Frank Meadows, Joyce Smith, and Carol Christensen. Many thanks also to the Schlingensiepens, who let us borrow a truck! Since the neighborhood has had in recent years its garage sale on the second Saturday in June, our next recycling drive will be Saturday, June 2. We would appreciate very much anything you can do to help get the word out! Thank you!

FREE Summer Lunch Program available at Westminster Presbyterian Church

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1275 SW Boswell, is cooperating with Topeka USD #501, to provide free, nutritious lunches to all children ages one to eighteen. There are no economic requirements, all are welcome. The meals are served in the air-conditioned dining room that is accessible by elevator during the hour from noon to 1:00 p.m. each week day June 4 to July 20

The food is prepared by the school district staff in the kitchen at Highland Park High School and served by a 501 employee. Volunteers from Westminster and the community assist by welcoming and escorting families in the elevator, helping kids with trays and milk, providing fruits and other snacks purchased by the church for parents, cleaning up, and generally doing all they can to make families’ visits to the church pleasant ones.

Westminster Presbyterian Church is located north of Boswell Park. If you have questions about the program, you may call the church at 357-0339


Put This Contact in Your Cell!

Police Non-Emergency Number: 368-9200

Police have encouraged neighbors to call ANY time they see suspicious activity in Boswell Square Park or around the neighborhood, in the alleys or on the streets. The park is supposed to close at 11:00. While we are soon getting night lighting in the park, police will patrol if they get a call from a neighbor about people in the park after hours. This is a good way to encourage those who have been causing problems with vandalism to move along.


Exciting News and Challenges Ahead!


First, I want to share the exciting news. The Neighborhood Association has been working diligently to obtain historic lighting for the north end of Boswell Park. I am excited to report we have been successful in partnering with the County Parks and Recreation for the purchase and installation. We will have three historic lamp posts installed sometime late summer! We will also install another street light on the West side by the basketball court. In addition, we will soon have more picnic tables and a second basketball backboard installed next to the playground equipment.


Now, I will share the challenges ahead for College Hill.



We continue to experience a tremendous amount of vandalism at the park. Recently, we have had severe damage to the gazebo, graffiti on all surfaces, and sidewalk bricks dug out by the Wall of Fame. I need to ask all parents to talk to your children about how this harms our neighborhood and destroys a great asset that not all neighborhoods have available to them. We need to have those participating in these activities turned into the police so it can stop.

Call 368-9200 to make a report.



Do you enjoy the 4th of July parade and activities, the National Night Out event, the Christmas lighting decoration competition, or receiving the quarterly postcard/newsletter? If you do, we need your help! These activities are funded through the collection of the $10 annual dues, the quarterly metal recycling drive, and the winter chili feed. We have an extremely low number of households paying the $10 annual dues and participating in the recycling drives. We currently only have about 30 -40 households out of 650 in the neighborhood.

Please begin participating to help pay for these events. The $10 dues can be mailed or dropped off to Brendan Jensen at 1275 SW Jewell Ave. The recycling drives occur between 9:00am – 10:00am the second Saturday of March, September, and December and the first Saturday in June. Just sit metal recycling on your porch and we will pick them up. If you want to participate in the recycling, but don’t want to hold your metal items for three months, contact Joyce Smith at 235-6824 or Carol Christensen at 357-1437 to pick it up more often. If you have a company pick up your recyclables, save out your metal for the neighborhood! Remember, we take all metal items from cans to large items such as appliances, etc.



The last challenge I want to ask for your participation in is to get involved as a volunteer with the neighborhood association. College Hill is a fabulous neighborhood with a great number of social activities that other neighborhood associations don’t organize. But to keep this going and to continue to have a great neighborhood, we need new individuals to help. There are several opportunities available from attending the monthly meetings at the Westminster Presbyterian church on the third Monday of the month at 7:00pm to holding an elected office, to helping with one of the activities, to chairing a committee. Some examples of openings include chairing the merchandise, the chili feed, 4th of July, or National Night Out committee, or preparing and delivering welcome baskets to new residents, etc. You are needed to keep this the greatest neighborhood to live in Topeka! Contact Brendan Jensen today at 274-9887 to match your talents to an opening.


I hope you will see the importance of these issues and do your part to keep College Hill the BEST and ONLY neighborhood to live in. My second term as President will end at the September annual meeting but I am still very much vested in College Hill. I have enjoyed serving on the board as Vice President and President for the past six years. I hope you will get involved soon!

Joyce Smith, President


College Hill Neighborhood Fourth of July 2012

Calling all Kids! Young and Old! Join your neighbors for the annual College Hill Fourth of July Parade! If you want to decorate your bike, car or other movable (and festive ) object and be IN the parade, please join us at 9:45 on the West side of Boswell Square Park. If you want to watch the parade, gather along the route. Mayor Bunten will be our Grand Marshall and we’ll have a ROTC color guard. Other floats and parade entries are up to YOU! Plan to head down to the park after the parade to join neighbors in a neighborhood brown-bag, picnic in the park. The Neighborhood Association will provide drinks, cookies and a place to gather. Please bring your family and friends and your own picnic lunch to celebrate with neighbors the Independence day holiday immediately following the parade. The WESTMINSTER church bells will be playing patriotic tunes for us all to enjoy during the picnic. No Races or Contests this year.

National Night Out Against Crime 2012

Save the Date August 11, 2012 for our National Night Out Against Crime!

Wrap up Summer fun and join us to celebrate the National Night Out Against Crime at Boswell Square Park. Look for more information closer to the event in a flier or on signs around the park.

Neighborhood Garage Sale 2012!

Get more customers and have more fun with your garage sale this Saturday June 9 by having it at the same time as your neighbors! The annual College Hill garage sale day is coming up soon. Dozens of neighbors usually participate, making this the perfect time to trade your former treasures in for cold hard cash.

If you would like to participate and have your address included in the advertisements please mail or drop off a $5 donation by June 8 to Brendan Jensen at 1275 Jewell.


The Co-Ed Theater

The Co-Ed, the first theater in Topeka in the residential areas and not located in business areas, operated in that location from 1937 to 1955, but it wasn’t the first occupant of a building at that address. The location first served as the home of Topeka Fire Station No. 5 from 1926 to 1931.  Mr. and Mrs. Simon Galitzki purchased the station when the city abandoned it, according to a history of College Hill published in 1962 by the Shawnee County Historical Society as its 39th Bulletin.  The history of College Hill was written by Hermione van Laer Adams, who attended Topeka public schools and graduated from Washburn University in 1912. She taught in Topeka schools, and in 1920, she married Paul Adams, a member of another pioneer family of Shawnee County.  They lived in Mexico and Venezuela for 25 years, where he was connected with the oil business. They retired in 1945.  The Galitzki couple planned the theater to cater to the family trade, according to the Bulletin.  “The interior of the building was attractively decorated and arranged and the seats comfortable,” according to the story. “The seating was divided into three sections separated by two carpeted aisles and had a capacity of 600 people .”  Doors of the theater opened on Oct. 16, 1937, for a showing of “Cafe Metropole” starring Loretta Young, Tyrone Power and Adolphe Menjou; a short, “Love Nest on Wheels,” starring Buster Keaton; and a color cartoon, “Circus Days.”  Shows were offered at 7 and 9 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday.  Patronage at the Co-Ed began falling off, and the decision was made to close it, according to the society’s story.  The City Recreation Commission next took a three-year lease on the building, where it offered recreational activities.  C.E. Sandeffer was the next person to lease the building, and it was the home of an auction house for a long time.  Some of the other occupants of the former theater were Jack Simon’s Barber Shop, Johnson Music Mart, State Farm Insurance Co., Marjie’s Bakery and Roto-Rooter Sewer Service.  Latta Whitlow was the final occupant of the property.

The Co-Ed building was razed as part of the College Hill Restoration Project.

Topeka Capital-Journal, The (KS) – Sunday, December 3, 2006