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Archive for Wednesday, May 6, 1998

CITY TO EXPAND REGISTRATION OPTIONS

May 6, 1998

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Signing up for Parks and Recreation programs will hit closer to home for many Lawrence residents when the city installs computer programs to expand registration sites.

No longer will registrations be limited to city hall, the Community Building or Holcom Recreation Center. By using new RecTrac software, Parks and Recreation staffers will be able to coordinate sign-ups from anywhere the software is installed.

During their meeting Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners agreed to buy the software, for $31,948, from Vermont Systems Inc.

The system -- expected to be in place in time for people to enroll in next spring's classes -- will allow staffers to handle enrollments for classes, reservations for buildings and parks, schedules for maintenance work and sales receipts for products and services at soon-to-open Eagle Bend Golf Course.

City selects architects

for fire-medical station

Planning for the city's next fire-medical station will be handled by a team of architects from Lawrence and Kansas City.

Commissioners approved the selection of Sabatini & Associates Architects Inc., 7 E. Seventh, and Shaughnessy Fickel and Scott Architects Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., to handle planning services for a new station, to be built on Harper Street north of 23rd Street. The station would replace a current station at 1941 Haskell.

City Manager Mike Wildgen now must negotiate a scope of services for the project, as well as fees, for commissioners to approve at a later date. Wildgen anticipates having the architects draw up a site plan and other ``conceptual'' work.

Construction is expected to cost $969,000 in 2000.

Officials also are planning a station southwest of 21st and Iowa streets, on property owned by Kansas University Endowment Association, in 2001.

Mayor proclaims

`day of prayer'

After proclaiming Thursday to be a ``day of prayer'' throughout Lawrence, Mayor Marty Kennedy faced criticism for failing to recognize the separation of church and state.

Several people -- including a Kansas University law student and a member of KU's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union -- chastised Kennedy for his proclamation Tuesday, which noted that it ``is fitting and proper to give thanks to the Lord by observing this day when all may acknowledge our blessings and express gratitude for them, while recognizing the need for strengthening religious and moral values in our state and nation.''

Kennedy said he merely was calling attention to a national event previously endorsed by President Reagan.

He didn't order everyone to pray. Instead, he said, the proclamation encourages residents to ``observe this day in ways relevant to its importance and significance.''

Kennedy's take after the meeting: ``Those who want to observe it can. Those who don't, don't have to. It's not a law.''

New parking signs

coming to downtown

A local sign company has been chosen to come up with a plan for new signs to help downtown visitors find existing parking spaces.

Commissioners agreed to hire Art & Sign Inc., 615 Vt., to come up with a ``cohesive identity'' for public parking in downtown Lawrence. Contract cost: $7,900.

Work will start with research and planning and will lead to a concept that includes developing a new sign system. A campaign to heighten parking awareness among downtown employees, store operators and shoppers also would be part of the contract.

Actual application of the plans would be accomplished through a separate contract.

Creating a new parking identity was one of several recommendations presented to commissioners by Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's Downtown Parking Task Force.

Bicycle projects on a roll

City officials are gearing up for plans to improve safety and convenience for Lawrence cyclists.

Commissioners received an update regarding priorities established by the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee. Among the plans in progress: creating educational programs, hiring a transportation coordinator, designing new ``share the road'' signs and hiring engineers to evaluate the compatibility of certain streets for use by both motorists and cyclists.

Several projects already have been given the go-ahead.

Lawrence Citizen Survey

planned for fall

Lawrence city commissioners want to know what is on city residents' minds, but don't bother waiting by the phone.

Commissioners agreed to receive the fourth Lawrence Citizen Survey, a random telephone survey conducted by Kansas University graduate students for the city's elected officials.

Commissioners received their first survey in 1992, and have received results from surveys every two years since. The next survey would be conducted in September.

Steven Maynard-Moody, chair of KU's department of public administration, said the survey would offer commissioners a valuable peek into the perceptions of all Lawrence residents, not just those who vote.

Among the possibilities commissioners suggested for concentration this time around: recreation projects, expenditure of sales taxes and transportation projects.

Maynard-Moody said the survey would cost the city up to $1,500, compared with the typical fee of up to $15,000 for a professional survey.

Downtown to score

new banners

Taxes collected from stays in local hotels could soon go toward buying new banners promoting Lawrence events.

Commissioners informally endorsed spending up to $12,400 this year for banners touting the Sunflower State Games, Big Blue Weekends and the annual Festival of Poinsettias.

``These are an investment in the tourism industry,'' said Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau.

To buy the banners, which would be displayed downtown and possibly across the Kansas River bridges, commissioners could tap into a reserve account financed by the city's transient guest tax, a 4 percent tax tacked onto rental fees for local hotels.

Other projects endorsed Tuesday: Hiring a consultant to devise a ``strategic tourism plan for Lawrence'' ($25,000); install new directional signs in town ($15,000); and create touch-screen ``kiosks'' at the city and Kansas University visitors centers.

The city's reserve fund currently has only $39,000, meaning that all the projects won't get financed right away.

Floodplain development

proposal needs study

Plans to add regulations for building new homes in floodplain areas need more study before coming up for a decision, commissioners decided.

After months in the works, proposed regulations for construction in floodplain areas will go out for review by those who might be affected, commissioners decided. Among the groups to have a say: Lawrence Home Builders Assn. and affected neighborhoods.

Ted Boyle, a leader in North Lawrence, said he wanted the city to effectively regulate construction so that drainage is improved but aesthetics are not sacrificed. He noted that one home recently built on Perry Street in compliance with existing regulations did not fit in with the character of the neighborhood.

``It's not a pretty sight,'' he said.

No schedule for reconsideration was set.

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