Archive for Thursday, March 30, 1995

NEIGHBORS KEEP HOPE ALIVE FOR PARK

March 30, 1995

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Homeowners near a 2-acre, county-owned vacant lot in south Lawrence say they'll try to get a park installed there.

A controversial proposal to develop a 2-acre vacant lot next to Valley View Care Home as a subsidized housing project is on hold.

Barbara Huppee, executive director of the Lawrence Housing Authority, told Douglas County commissioners Wednesday night the county-owned lot is her second choice for a site.

Instead, Huppee hopes to build 25 units of housing for low-income elderly residents on a larger site somewhere else in Lawrence. She declined Wednesday to identify the location.

She asked county commissioners to let her pursue the other deal and to consider her proposal if her first-choice site fell through.

Neighbors of Valley View, 2518 Ridge Ct., had submitted a protest petition bearing 77 signatures. At Wednesday's meeting, neighbors said they had hoped the lot could be maintained as green space, which would enhance property values and the quality of life in the neighborhood, rather than used as a high-density housing site.

``My first dream would be to put some sort of a park there,'' said Marlena Boggs.

Neighbor Jeff Sonnich said the area is home to many young families but has no sidewalks.

``There is no place for children to play and congregate,'' he said.

Another neighbor, Judy Williams, suggested the county allow the Valley View building to be used as a senior center, which would complement designation of the ground as a park.

Several said they would consider organizing a neighborhood association to advance the idea of a park with city officials. County commissioners said they did not want to operate a park on the property.

Valley View is scheduled to close later this year, and commissioners will have to decide the future of the facility and its adjacent vacant land. Commissioners must vote unanimously to sell the property.

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