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Archive for Wednesday, August 16, 1995

CITY BRIEFS

August 16, 1995

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City to ask feds

for levy-repair funds

Sticking a finger in the dike won't do it, but getting $25,000 from the federal government would be enough to fix the flood-damaged Kansas River levy.

George Williams, the city's director of public works, plans to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the money to repair the levy along a 100-yard section of flood-scoured Mud Creek. The damage is on the north side of the river, straddling the Douglas-Leavenworth county line.

Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners signed onto an agreement to work with the corps to repair the levy. The approval was needed to become eligible for the federal repair money, Williams said.

Repairs will be needed this fall or spring, he said.

Application forwarded

for new brick street

The city wants to rebuild a one-block brick street in East Lawrence, and wants $250,000 from the state to do it.

Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners unanimously agreed to ask the Kansas Department of Transportation for money to replace the existing 900 block of Rhode Island Street with bricks atop a concrete base.

The concrete base would allow large vehicles, such as city sanitation trucks, to drive down the street without causing the large ruts typical of uncovered brick streets in Old West Lawrence, officials said. The bricks would also offer a clear line between the neighborhood and downtown.

As word of the project spread through the neighborhood early this week, however, neighbors quickly became fearful that the history of their existing brick street -- currently covered with asphalt -- would be buried by factory-fresh pieces.

"It's not the same thing as the worn, grounded cobblestone effect," said Jim Power, president of the East Lawrence Improvement Assn. "We're concerned that we're going to make it look like a new theme park or something."

Commissioners assured neighbors that the project -- if approved by KDOT for 1998 -- would include neighborhood input. Old bricks could possibly be used, and attempts could be made to preserve existing limestone curbs.

"It's fairly open at this point," City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

Low-income housing

gets rezoning nod

A city project intended to build affordable homes for low-income residents moved one step closer to approval Tuesday.

During their weekly meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation to rezone 10.6 acres of land at 24th Street and Haskell Avenue for residential uses.

The land is slated for up to 50 new housing units -- 15 homes and up to 45 townhomes, said Lynn Goodell, the city's director of housing and neighborhood development. The city will buy the land for $280,000, using federal grants.

Another $420,000 in public investments in 1996 would decrease development costs for homebuilders, Goodell said, and thus reduce the homes' costs to potential buyers.

Commissioners must formally approve the rezoning ordinance twice more before it becomes law.

New post office plan

wins stamp of approval

The plan is in the mail.

Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners unanimously approved a site plan for a new U.S. Post Office along the south side of 31st Street, west of Ousdahl Road and east of Kmart.

The new post office will replace the existing Jayhawk Station post office at 1519 W. 23rd, which postal officials have dubbed too small for current needs.

The new office will be about 2 1/2 times larger than Jayhawk Station and include 40 customer parking spaces -- a 300 percent increase.

Construction is expected to begin late next month, with completion sometime in the summer or fall of next year.

City sets max bills

for new Peterson Road

Debbie Filkins and Greg Sharp will have to pay up to $1,290 to help rebuild Peterson Road next summer.

Their complaints about unfair charges fell on unsympathetic ears Tuesday night at city hall -- at least when it came to paying for the $1.7 million project.

"It's impossible to be fair to everyone," Commissioner Jo Andersen said. "We have to move forward."

The two residents of Sherwood Drive came to Tuesday's commission meeting to express concerns about the assessments to be tacked onto their property taxes. Commissioners approved the assessments for dozens of property owners along Peterson 4-1, with Commissioner Allen Levine the lone dissenter.

The average property owner on the north side of the street will pay $1,290 for the improvement, while properties on the south side will pay only $150.

Why the difference? Because without residential developments along Peterson's north side, the city wouldn't need to install a third lane, add sidewalks or connect new storm sewers.

"We'd just patch potholes, Commissioner John Nalbandian said.

Construction is scheduled for next summer.

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