A Lawrence Chamber of Commerce task force's report on tourism drew praise Monday from the city commission, which complimented the group on its vision of Lawrence as an arts and cultural mecca.
The Visit 2020 task force's report proposes to increase local tourism by marketing Lawrence's high quality of life and emphasis on arts, history and culture.
Among its proposals are building a town center downtown and creating a corridor between downtown and Kansas University lined with low-impact businesses, such as art galleries and coffee shops.
It also recommends supporting construction of a new continuing education center for KU, which would attract "cultured, low-impact" visitors by allowing KU to host many more educational events.
Commissioner Bob Schumm applauded the report's proposals.
"ALL THESE tend to function around KU and the downtown, for a lot of good reasons, and I think that makes good sense," Schumm said.
However, Schumm did take issue with a recommendation calling for support of a regional conference-resort complex at Clinton Lake State Park. He said the idea "seems far removed from the other recommendations.''
Although it does not offer a specific path, the task force recommends creating a route through the corridor that would serve as a walkway and the route for a transportation system for visitors and residents.
The task force recommends using a trolley as the means of transportation.
THROUGH financial incentives and changes in zoning, businesses with artistic or historic appeal would be encouraged to locate along the corridor, said David Longhurst, a task force member.
"Of course, you'd want to do this with the cooperation of all the neighborhoods," Longhurst said.
Arthur Anderson, chair of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, said the group had looked over the report at a meeting and was excited by its potential.
"There's a real possibility that the people in the Oread and Old West neighborhoods would be willing to work on this, within certain constraints," said Anderson. "If done in the right way, the neighborhoods could support this, especially the idea of the trolley.''
The report also suggests ways to implement its ideas, including ordering a feasibility study for the town center and improving the appearance of city entrances.
"I LIKE the report because it laid it out very clearly for me that there were things that I could do to get things done ... that the majority of the community probably could support," said Commissioner Shirley Martin-Smith.
The tourism report is one of four dealing with downtown planning that commissioners are examining in hopes of creating a long-term plan for downtown development.
Commissioners did not take any action on the tourism report Monday. They plan to consider it alongside the three other reports in the near future, but no date has been set.