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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Topeka, KS

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Topeka is the capital of the state of Kansas, and the city's name was suggested by a Kansa Indian named Joseph James, known also as Jojim. The origin of the name means "to dig good potatoes" and has a reference to the Native American culture and life. The city is the county seat of Shawnee County, and has been one of the most important Midwestern cities since its incorporation in 1857.

The city of Topeka was the site for one of the nation's most historic court cases, Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case that overturned the ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The outcome of that case changed the entire landscape of the civil rights movement in the late 50s and early 60s and was considered to be one of the first major victories for civil rights and desegregation.

This guide will provide you with some helpful tips and information on just about everything you need to know if you're going to be making the move to Topeka. From the city's neighborhoods and school systems to the employment options and recreational activities available within the city, you'll find it all in this guide so that you can go into your move with the knowledge that is needed to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Topeka Climate

The state of Kansas has an average of 230 sunny days per year and the highest average temperature recorded annually is around 92 degrees. The lowest average temperatures typically occur in January, when it can drop to as low as 18 degrees.

The city of Topeka was named by Forbes magazine in 2007 as being one of the top cities in the country for variation in temperature, precipitation and wind, meaning that the seasonal variation in weather in Topeka is greater than normal. In the Topeka area, there exists a transition zone between the continent's humid subtropical climate and a humid continental climate, which is part of the reason why Topeka experiences hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters.

Topeka Neighborhoods

The Topeka metropolitan area encompasses the neighborhoods within Topeka, as well as surrounding areas. The counties that comprise the Topeka metro area are Shawnee County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Osage County and Wabaunsee County. Located in northeastern Kansas, Topeka has a total area of just over 61 square miles, and is comprised of a downtown area, situated near Interstate 335, which runs through the city and connects Topeka to Emporia, Kansas via the Kansas Turnpike. The city also contains a total of nine political districts, each represented by a member of the city council, and the crime rate in the city is decreasing at a rapid rate, making it one of the safest cities in the country.

The Westboro Neighborhood and Potwin Neighborhood are two of the most unique neighborhoods in Topeka, with the latter operating as its own separate town that still maintains its own traditions and has its own mayor, despite now being a part of Topeka. The town holds its own annual July 4th parade and Easter brunch each year.

Living Costs in the City

The cost of living is relatively low in Topeka, with the median family income at $54,623, slightly above the national average. In addition, the median home price is $96,551, which is almost half of what the national average is, but comparable to other similar real estate markets in the area. With real estate prices so low compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living remains on the low side for a city the size of Topeka and with its proximity to a major metropolitan area like Kansas City.

Registering Your Car

Upon your arrival in Kansas after moving to the state permanently, you have a total of 90 days to update your registration and have your vehicle registered in the state before you may be required to pay a penalty.

A Kansas Driver's License can be obtained at any Kansas DMV location. The state requires new Kansas residents to update their license from their previous state to a Kansas driver's license as soon as possible after establishing permanent residency in the state. A driving test does not have to be taken if you have a currently valid out of state license, but supplemental driving courses are available.


Topeka Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies are ready and willing to help you with your move to Topeka, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in Kansas. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at Movers.com to get quotes for the following services:

Topeka Schools

There are four public school districts that serve the city of Topeka. These districts are as follows: USD 345 Seaman, USD 437 Auburn-Washburn, USD 450 Shawnee Heights and USD 501mTopeka. The four districts all serve different areas of the city, from North Topeka to West and Southwest Topeka and the inner-city area. Along with the regular public districts, there are private and parochial schools also, like Topeka Collegiate and Hayden High School. Some of the colleges and universities that are located in Topeka are Washburn University, Friends University, the Washburn Institute of Technology and the Baker University School of Nursing.

Topeka Employment

With Topeka being the capital of Kansas, the Kansas state government is the largest employer in the city of Topeka and provides almost 8,400 jobs, which roughly equates to 69 percent of the government workers are from this area. This means that around one in every five employed resident of Topeka works for the government. The largest percentage of the working population in the city work in the healthcare, social services and education sectors, and the four public school districts of Topeka, along with Washburn University, employing over 6,000 people.

There are also several large corporations that are based in Topeka, such as Westar Energy, Collective Brands, CoreFirst Bank & Trust, Capitol Federal Savings Bank, Hill's Pet Nutrition and the Sports Car Club of America. Other major corporations that have manufacturing plants in the city include Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Payless ShoeSource, Frito-Lay and Josten's Printing and Publishing. With a relatively low employment rate and a job growth percentage of 1.99 percent, the job market is fairly steady in Topeka, and the state government and public sector accounts for a large majority of the jobs in the city.

Public Transportation

Topeka is served by a number of major highways that run through or around the city. These include - I-70, I-470, I-335, and U.S. routes 24, 40, 75 and K-4. For people looking to travel outside of Topeka, Amtrak has a Topeka station and provides the public with rail service to surrounding areas on the Southwest Chief line that runs between Los Angeles and Chicago.

For all local transit, you can get around with bus service that's operated by the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority. The buses run during the day and early evening from Monday through Saturday. Taxi services are also widely available throughout the city to provide transportation during off-peak hours and on the weekends.

Culture and Contemporary Life

There are several interesting attractions located throughout the city of Topeka, and the downtown area also has a local nightlife scene with many bars and restaurants. Some of the popular sights and attractions in Topeka include the Combat Air Museum at Forbes Field, the Kansas Museum of History, the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site, the Topeka Zoo and Heartland Park Topeka, the site of a drag racing and road racing course.

Moving to Topeka

Whatever your reasons for moving to Topeka, whether it be for a change of scenery or for employment, the city beckons you with its charm. The first step in the process of moving to Topeka is choosing a moving company after first checking their BBB ratings, insurance and license. The moving rates are charged by the hour if you are moving within the state boundary, while for a long distance move the charges will depend on the total weight or volume in cubic feet of your belongings. In the latter case, you can ask about a flat rate or any special discounts that are available with the mover.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on June 5, 2013

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