Three new vans will bring the city's public transportation system up to speed with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday agreed to buy three new lift-equipped vans, for about $50,000 each, to replace aging vehicles used in the city's on-demand, door-to-door transit system, Douglas County Area Transportation (DCAT).
The Ford E-450 vans -- similar to rental-car shuttles at Kansas City International Airport -- each have 16 seats and can be arranged to accommodate up to three wheelchairs.
The vehicles are expected to arrive in town within 90 days.
The Federal Transit Administration is picking up 80 percent of the vans' cost, while the city -- through money provided by its contractor, the Lawrence Bus Co. -- is responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
DCAT provides rides for about 300 people a day, virtually all of them considered elderly, low-income or disabled. The system coordinates with Douglas County Senior Services and Independence Inc. to make transportation available.
for retired judge
The city announced that its municipal courtroom would be named after its longtime judge, who recently retired.
Commissioners announced the designation of the ``George L. Catt Municipal Courtroom,'' in honor of the judge's 26 years on the bench.
During a special ceremony at city hall, Catt accepted a plaque and thanks from Mayor Marty Kennedy on behalf of all Lawrence residents.
``I'm quite honored and really speechless,'' said Catt, who went on to laud the city and its government. ``I'm overwhelmed, and thank you very much.''
Catt, who retired last month to focus on his private law practice, left behind a court that handles 40,000 cases a year, ranging from battery and theft to cat-at-large.
Randy McGrath took over as municipal court judge Oct. 1.
hired for health center
A Lawrence company will earn $32,000 to come up with plans for telecommunications equipment at the new $14.1 million community health facility,
Commissioners agreed to hire Laser Logic Inc., 2214 Yale, to draw up specifications and handle inspections work for a telecommunications system at the health building under construction across Maine Street from Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Laser Logic's contract will lay the groundwork for $139,000 in new cables, networks and other equipment necessary to wire the building, which will provide offices and service areas for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn.
The city and Douglas County are sharing the cost of the entire project, using money generated by a 1-cent countywide sales tax approved by county voters in 1994.
The center is expected to open this spring, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.
New cart paths
to cost $211,475
Nearly three miles of new cart paths will be installed during the coming weeks at the city's Eagle Bend Golf Course.
Commissioners agreed to hired Meadows Construction Co. Inc., of Tonganoxie, to handle installation of 15,510 linear feet of concrete paths at the course, which is located below the dam at Clinton Lake.
The contract also calls for installing a new concrete parking pad at the course's driving range, so that players looking to practice before teeing off may parking their carts nearby.
The entire contract will cost the city $211,475. A contractor from Iowa had offered to do the work for less than $150,000, but its bid was disqualified because it did not comply with the city's requirements.
The city had estimated the work to cost $328,200.
The new paths could be in place by year's end, said Fred DeVictor, the city's director of parks and recreation.
City celebrates 30 years
of KU women's athletics
Women have been participating in athletics at Kansas University for 30 years now, and Mayor Marty Kennedy wants people in town to note this weekend's anniversary celebration.
Kennedy proclaimed Friday, Saturday and Sunday to be a celebration for the 30-year history of female competition at KU. During the past three decades, Kennedy said, the system has produced ``numerous conference championships and 80 All-Americans.''
``Women's athletics started as, and remains to this day, an opportunity for women to achieve excellence in academic, athletic and personal pursuits,'' Kennedy said in his proclamation.
Female students actually started participating in sports at KU as early as 1903, and the Women's Athletic Assn. was formed in 1912. KU's department of health, physical education and recreation was authorized to start a women's intercollegiate athletic program in 1968.
The Lawrence Medical Plaza now has permission to reconfigure itself into an outpatient surgery center.
Commissioners agreed to change the city's zoning code to allow for such uses in property zoned for office uses. Earlier in the meeting, commissioners agreed to rezone selected properties surrounding the medical plaza, northwest of Sixth and Maine streets, for office uses.
Such a center could not be considered a ``trauma center,'' and could not feature exclusive parking for an ambulance or an exclusive landing area for a helicopter.