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Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 1997

FLOOD-PRONE AREA TO GET NEW HOMES

September 24, 1997

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Plans to set aside space for two new homes in North Lawrence got the go-ahead from Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday night, despite unanimous opposition from neighbors in the area.

On a 3-2 vote, commissioners approved a final plat for Lewis Subdivision, a three-lot residential area at Eighth and Elm streets.

Mayor Bonnie Augustine joined Commissioners Erv Hodges and Marty Kennedy in approving the plat, which would allow an existing home to remain and two new ones to be built. Ed Stroda has a contract to buy the land.

Augustine said she had compassion for the North Lawrence Improvement Assn. -- which surveyed nearby residents, and found that all 22 respondents opposed the project -- but noted that the plat met all current rules and regulations on the city's books.

Commissioners Bob Moody, who lives in North Lawrence, and John Nalbandian voted against the plat because of concerns about drainage problems and the stiff opposition from neighbors.

City OKs site plan

for nature center

Commissioners approved a site plan for construction of the Prairie Park Nature Center, which will be located about 800 feet south of the intersection of 27th and Harper streets.

The plan calls for construction of a 10,286-square-foot, two-story center on a 17.9-acre lot. An off-street parking lot would contain 63 spaces.

The entire 71-acre park area includes nearby Mary's Lake, plus a wooded area and a 7-acre virgin prairie featuring 180 different species of plants, flowers and grasses.

Construction is expected to begin later this year and be completed by the end of 1998. The project will include walking trails.

The building itself includes extensive glass, overlooking the virgin prairie. Classrooms could be developed downstairs in the future, and discussions are ongoing with the Lawrence school district regarding outdoor education opportunities and field trips.

"There's certainly a lot of opportunities," said Fred DeVictor, the city's director of parks and recreation.

The total project is estimated to cost less than $1 million. It will be financed by revenues from the city's share of a 1-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 1994.

Monterey Way ready

for reconstruction

The city's getting ready to draw up plans for rebuilding Monterey Way between Harvard Road and 15th Street.

Commissioners approved a five-year plan for road projects. The plan would receive financial assistance from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Monterey Way is at the top of the list.

The rebuilt street would have wider lanes, plus curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

"It's clearly something that needs to be done," Commissioner John Nalbandian said.

The city plans to spend $100,000 on engineering for the project, plus another $72,000 for construction. KDOT plans to pay $828,000 of the project's estimated $900,000 construction bill.

KDOT plans to hire construction crews to start work in the spring of 1999.

Other reconstruction projects down the road on KDOT's list, but not yet approved by commissioners:

  • Riverridge Road, from North Michigan to North Iowa streets.
  • Crossgate Drive, from Clinton Parkway to 27th Street.
  • North Michigan, from Riverridge to West Second Street.

East Lawrence home

cleared for demolition

Commissioners decided that a vacant East Lawrence home is too much of a danger and too far beyond repair to risk letting it remain standing much longer.

On a 4-1 vote, commissioners overturned a finding from their Historic Resources Commission and ordered that property at 740 R.I. be repaired or razed. A formal resolution is expected to be approved Oct. 7, clearing the way for demolition soon thereafter.

The home, site of a grisly murder 10 years ago, had been the focus of preservation efforts by a group headed by Marci Francisco, a former mayor and a current leader of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance.

Francisco hoped to buy the property, but its owners -- McManness Brothers Real Estate -- refused to sell unless a buyer purchased all of its properties. The company offered its seven properties for $950,000, and Francisco said she couldn't raise that much, even if she wanted them all.

Commissioners said forcing a sale was beyond their control, and that the home was in far too dilapidated a state to save. Only Commissioner John Nalbandian opposed ordering demolition, indicating his worry that tearing it down could lead to construction of apartment buildings in a fragile neighborhood.

Bids due Oct. 14

for Holcom project

Contractors have until Oct. 14 to submit bids for building a new concessions stand and sprucing up landscaping at the Holcom Sports Complex.

The project, expected to cost less than $400,000, will be financed with revenues from the city's share of a 1-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 1994.

Commissioners set a deadline for bids on the project: 2 p.m. Oct. 14 at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

City Manager Mike Wildgen said the new concessions stand would be similar to the one at the the city's new Clinton Lake Adult Softball Complex, which also was financed by sales-tax revenues.

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