The Lawrence City Commission didn't set a November referendum to ask voters whether the city can issue bonds for development of an eastern parkway, but Mayor Bob Schumm said he's happy just the same.
Schumm, whose pet project is the parkway, asked the commission on Tuesday to set the parkway bond referendum on Nov. 6 to coincide with this fall's general election. And although the commission neither ruled in nor ruled out a referendum for that date, the parkway issue is firmly back on the table before the commission and the community after Tuesday's discussion.
"It was my intention to get everybody talking about it, and I was very successful in that mode. We've got everybody talking about it," Schumm said.
RATHER THAN set a vote date, commissioners decided to hold a study session in the near future to discuss criteria recommended by a city task force for development of the parkway, which would link downtown Lawrence with Kansas Highway 10 near the East Hills Business Park.
The criteria would include details pertaining to the parkway's routing and design, speed limits and land use along the corridor.
Members of the public with some disparate views of what the parkway should be asked the commission not to schedule a vote at this time.
Members of the East Lawrence Improvement Assn. and others urged the commission to first adopt the so-called "18 criteria" approved by the Eastern Parkway Task Force as part of the parkway's analysis plan. Only then, they said, should the commission set a vote.
BRUCE BANNING, whose family owns property along the Seventh Street corridor of what could become the parkway and whose view of the road differs from that of ELIA, also urged the commission not to set a vote.
Commissioners decided it would be best to wait to schedule a vote until after the Kansas Supreme Court hands down its ruling in a case involving Douglas County's issuance of bonds for the south Lawrence trafficway.
They also indicated a measure of support for meeting with the Douglas County Commission after the court ruling comes down. The city and county are partners in efforts to build a circumferential road system around Lawrence with the parkway, the trafficway and scheduled improvements on U.S. Highway 40 west of Lawrence.
SCHUMM SAID he didn't care whether the commission waits to set the vote. He said that once the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza opens, the traffic it creates will force the city and county to figure out how to get the parkway on line.
"I suggest to all of you in the city that within about 60 days there's going to be all kinds of criticisms about why we haven't moved forward. . . . . We will get it done because it just absolutely will be required," he said.