The Lawrence City Commission is dangling carrots before would-be benefit district participants in an effort to build a sidewalk on Emery Road and a parking lot downtown.
The commission, at its Tuesday meeting, decided the city at-large should pick up half the cost of the two projects, even though most benefit districts projects are paid for solely by property owners in the district.
Two weeks ago, during a public hearing on formation of the benefit district on Emery Road, the commission heard from a number of property owners in the proposed district. The sidewalk would run on the west side of Emery from Ninth Street south to West Hills Parkway.
Residents whose property was in the proposed district said at the public hearing that they had reservations about the cost and benefit of the sidewalk. At that time, the city was proposing that property owners pick up the full cost of the project.
BECAUSE OF the protests, commissioners decided Tuesday that the city should pick up half of the cost of the $39,045 sidewalk. Property owners in the district still could protest the project and stop it, but commissioners said they think the city's cost sharing would encourage participation.
"We generally try to only do cost sharing when we can't otherwise get the (improvements) in . . . It seems to me the sentiment I got from talking to people informally was that as long as we were not threatening parking spaces that they have access to, and that we are sharing the costs, some of the resistance would be dissipated," Commissioner Mike Rundle said.
THE COMMISSION will require the Shaver Partnership, which owns part of the frontage on Emery, to comply with a site plan requirement to build a sidewalk on its property. That requirement will reduce the overall cost to others in the benefit district by approximately $3,700.
Commissioner David Penny voted against the proposal for city cost sharing in the sidewalk benefit district. He said he didn't see the sidewalk as a "exceptional case" necessitating city participation.
The downtown parking lot would be located between Kentucky and Vermont streets, just south of Sixth Street. The metered lot would have room for 28 vehicles, and also would enable the city to complete the greenbelt that extends along Sixth Street from Watson and Constant parks east to city hall.
Cost of the lot is estimated at $54,000, and the city's $27,000 share would be paid out of the parking meter fund. No property taxes would be used to build the lot, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.
Wildgen said that all of the public parking lots downtown have been built through benefit district financing with funding participation by the city.
The commission unanimously decided to hold a public hearing to receive comments on the lot. The date of the public hearing has not been determined. Property owners in the proposed benefit district, which would stretch a half-block south of the parking lot on Kentucky and both sides of Vermont, will be notified by the city with estimated costs per parcel of land.
IN OTHER action, the commission:
Proclaimed Tuesday as "Pekka Markkanen Day."
Proclaimed April as "Weight Loss Month."
Proclaimed May as "Home Remodeling Month."
Proclaimed April 23-28 as "Bike Safety Week in Lawrence."
Proclaimed April 22-28 as "Volunteer Week."
In a single motion, the commission unanimously approved the following consent agenda items:
Minutes of the March 20 meeting of the library board.
Payment of city expenses and payroll.
An ordinance to install a stop sign on George Court at North Michigan.
An ordinance removing parking on the west side of Rhode Island from the north curbline of Seventh Street and on portions of the east side of Rhode Island north of Seventh Street.
An ordinance authorizing Sixth Street to be designated as a major trafficway in the city.
Giving first reading to an ordinance authorizing and providing for the codification of the general ordinances of the city.
Giving first reading to an ordinance adopting the codification of ordinances.
Setting an 8 p.m. May 8 public hearing for comments on the 1990 Community Development Block Grant proposed uses.
Accepting the low bids of $13,000 from Laird Noller for two used sedans for the fire department; $9,882 from Olathe Ford Sales for a sedan for the police department; $15,689 from Laird Noller for a Bronco II for public works; $11,050 from Ed Bozarth for a sedan for public works; $16,636 from Ed Bozarth for a -ton pickup for parks and recreation; $9,899 from Ed Bozarth for a full-size pickup for water collections; $8,988 from Olathe Ford for a full-size pickup for public works; $7,000 from Deem's Farm Equipment for a 60-inch deck mower for parks and recreation; and $23,842 from KC Bobcat for a skid loader for parks and recreation.
Accepting the combined low bid of $17,015 from Wayne Postoak Contractor Inc., for sidewalk projects on Maple Lane, 12th and Mississippi, University Drive and Princeton Boulevard.
A request from the Downtown Lawrence organization to use downtown sidewalks on July 19 for its annual summer sidewalk sale.
A request from the Downtown Lawrence organization to close Eighth Street between Massachusetts and Vermont streets from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. July 5 for a three-ring circus.
After removing the following items from the consent agenda for full discussion, the commission:
Unanimously approved minutes of the commission's most recent meeting.
Unanimously established a fair market value of $4,500 for lot 123 on New York Street and $8,800 for lots 55 and 57 on Pennsylvania Street, and authorized staff to make purchase offers.
Deferred for one week hearing a report from the public works director on the first Safe Driving Roadeo.
Appointed Barbara Huppee to the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse; appointed Mike Rundle as the commission's representative to ECKAN Advisory Board; Appointed Bill Shephard and Steve Phillips to three-year terms on the Traffic Safety Commission; Kelley Hayden, Dennis Constance, Steve Glass, Ted McFarlane, Marilyn Cabay, Gary Freeman and Rex Johnson to the Sixth Street Task Force.