Lawrence city commissioners approved two applications Tuesday for more than $800,000 in federal funds to groom North Second Street and finish restoration of the nearby Union Pacific Depot.
The applications ask for $857,680 through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. Under the agreement for the matching grants, the city would supply another $214,420.
"I think this is a good opportunity for this commission to move ahead on the long-awaited improvements to North Second Street," Commissioner Shirley Martin-Smith said.
The city asks for $352,000 to complete the restoration of the 102-year-old depot 80 percent of the total cost of $440,000.
The city would be responsible for the remaining $88,000, which could be covered with Community Development block grant funds and money from general obligation bonds already dedicated to the project, said Linda Finger, the city planner working on the application.
Funds requested for the depot would be used to completely renovate its exterior and interior, said Bob Moody, president of Lawrence Depot Management Inc., the group dedicated to its restoration.
"If we are successful, this will allow us to do something which has been a pie-in-the-sky dream for us, which is put up a 200-foot canopy that once extended west of the depot," Moody said.
The second application seeks $505,680 to improve the look of North Second Street, identified by the city in the Plan '95 city land use guide as the most "negative" entrance into Lawrence.
Planned improvements include installation of sidewalks, screening salvage yards along the North Second from view, and purchasing right of way for landscaping, such as trees and flowers.
Under the matching grant, the city would kick in $126,420 for the North Second Street project.
City Manager Mike Wildgen said the federal government gave no indication of when the grants would be awarded, but said he expected announcement of awards could come next spring.