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Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 1997

CONCERT IN PARK TO INCLUDE BEER SALES

June 25, 1997

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Promoters of an alternative-rock concert in Burcham Park will be allowed to sell beer.

Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners agreed to pass a new ordinance allowing the sale of cereal malt beverages in the park for one day only: July 15, when B and R Productions, 123 W. Eighth, plans to conduct a concert from noon to 8 p.m.

Although alcohol may be consumed at the Lawrence Arts Center, Union Pacific Depot and in various parks, the city code currently has no provisions for beer sales on public land, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

But there's a first time for everything.

"If it works, it's a good model," Wildgen said. "If it doesn't work, then we'll know what needs to be improved."

Concert organizers expect up to 3,500 people at the concert in the park. Because of limited parking, organizers plan to run shuttles through the downtown area and from Kansas University; Dillons, 300 W. Sixth; and Kief's, 2429 Iowa.

Burcham Park is located at Second and Indiana streets.

HUMV limo

ready for battle

It's bulletproof, bombproof and -- starting today -- licensed to drive the streets of Lawrence, even with four flat tires.

Commissioners approved a taxicab license for HUMV Advertising Platform Inc., which plans to roll out a 1994 civilian Hummer for limousine service in Lawrence.

The Hummer is a modified version of a military transport vehicle known as a HUMV (pronounced Hum-vee). Richard M. King, a partner in the licensed business, plans to charge hourly rates for limousine service, advertising, disaster recovery and emergency service.

In his application for a license, King touted the vehicle's features, including:

  • The ability to drive on one or more flat tires for up to 30 miles at 20 mph. A central tire inflation system allows the driver to inflate or deflate individual tires on the fly, to adjust for changing road conditions.
  • Aircraft-quality, heat-treated, tempered aluminum body, fenders, tailgate and bed -- all joined by 2,800 rivets. The doors, roof and windshield frame are steel.
  • The ability to drive through three feet of snow or 30 inches of snow or mud.

City buys homes

for drainage project

Two homes in the path of a planned $1.2 million drainage project will soon be city property.

Commissioners agreed to buy 203 Ark. and 246 Mich. for a total of $147,000.

The two rental homes will be removed to make way for a new drainage system designed to handle up to 9 inches of rain per hour.

The project calls for burying a reinforced concrete pipe between the back yards of 22 homes in the block bordered by Second, Third, Michigan and Arkansas streets. A fenced, above-ground drainage ditch will carry runoff from the heaviest storms.

Commissioners agreed to pay $75,000 for 203 Ark., a rental home owned by Wayne, Nancy, Ronald and Elmyra Hall. The city's appraiser tagged the property's value at $70,500, while the Halls pegged it as $75,000. The property is valued at $57,700 for property-tax purposes.

Commissioners also agreed to pay $72,000 for 246 Mich., a rental home owned by Kenneth and Patricia Snow. The city had appraised the property at $69,000, but added $3,000 to account for other related costs, including provisions for the home's current tenant. Douglas County valued the property at $63,050 for property-tax purposes.

City seeks grant

for programs

The city is asking state officials for up to $165,401 to finance waste and recycling programs in Lawrence.

Commissioners approved the city's application for a Solid Waste Management Competitive Implementation Grant. The grant would help finance the purchase of a baler for recycled newspapers and corrugated cardboard, and help educate people about the value of yard waste recycling.

Other plans for the money: Printing 16-month calendars, featuring recycling events; creation of an awards program to recognize waste-reduction efforts; placement of advertising on the sides of buses; and purchase of bins for cardboard collections.

The grant program has $1 million available for private businesses and government organizations interested in reducing waste headed for landfills. Previous grants have financed recycling bins at Kanopolis State Park and a tub grinder for broken tree limbs in Johnson County.

"They help the environment, and they reduce the amount of waste going into the landfills," said Beth Carreno, an environmental scientist for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. "We're making them a priority, because -- in the long term -- the savings will be there, both financially and environmentally."

Grant winners should be notified in early September, Carreno said.

City pours $54,000

into water district

Lawrence's utilities department will refund $54,026 to Rural Water District No. 4, which had been forced to pay for 36.5 million gallons of water it already owned.

Commissioners approved the refund, which will replenish the district's capital improvements account. The district's 800 customers south of the Wakarusa River will not see refunds, because individual customers were not overcharged.

The district was overcharged for water from January 1996 through February 1997 because of a faulty backflow-prevention value, which allowed water from the district's pipes to flow back into the city's water system.

A nearby digital meter was unable to detect which way the water was flowing, and therefore measured all water passing between the systems as "new" water. After accounting for pipe leaks elsewhere in the system, officials on both sides agreed that $54,026 would cover the overcharge on the 36.5 million gallons.

Site plan approved

for new Municipal Court

Commissioners approved a site plan for a new Municipal Court at the southeast corner of 10th and New Hampshire streets.

The court, to include offices for parking control officers, prosecutors, court personnel and records, will be the cornerstone of a private retail and office development planned by Berkeley Plaza Inc.

The court and offices will occupy the first floor of a new three-story office building. Professional offices upstairs will be available for rent.

Plans also call for renovation and expansion of an existing Depression-era Phillips 66 service station at the corner, to be used for studio and gallery space.

City officials expect the new court -- which the city plans to rent for at least 10 years -- to be ready for occupancy in the spring or early summer of 1998.

Church plaque OK'd

for Eighth and Mass.

A church founded 100 years ago on a downtown street corner will soon have a plaque to mark the spot.

Commissioners approved a request from the Church of God and Saints of Christ to install a commemorative plaque in the public right of way at Eighth and Massachusetts streets, where Bishop William S. Crowdy delivered his first sermon in November 1896.

An exact site for the plaque has not been determined, but city staffers plan to work out details for location and cost of installation before allowing the plaque to be installed, said Rod Bremby, assistant city manager.

In a letter to city officials, Bishop James R. Grant, the church's executive officer, said the church hoped to dedicate the plaque during the church's 100th anniversary celebration Aug. 29 and 30 in Lawrence.

New pavement

planned for airport

Airplanes soon will have a new parking lot at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

Commissioners approved hiring Tri-State Striping to repave the airport's apron, which acts as a parking lot for airplanes. The company will be paid $44,000 for its work, which is expected to begin sometime next month.

Airport Development Group also was hired to design the project and be on contract for future work at the airport. Details of the design contract were not available.

City to study

employment-at-will

After weeks of urging from local firefighters, commissioners have agreed to study the city's employment-at-will policy.

The policy, which gives the city the ability to fire any employee at any time, came under fire during recent contract negotiations between city administrators and members of the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1596, which represents nearly 100 firefighters, paramedics and lieutenants working for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

During negotiations, administrators and union members were on opposite sides: The union wanted the policy thrown out, to boost job security and foster employee loyalty; administrators maintained that the current policy has worked well, and any change would have to be spread throughout the city's entire full-time work force.

Commissioners -- forced to choose a single contract from opposing proposals -- eventually sided with administrators, and thus kept the firing policy in place. Tuesday night, however, they asked staffers to draw up a list of pros and cons for the policy, to be ready for commission discussion by Aug. 1.

"All I want to do is get some information," Commissioner Bob Moody said.

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