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Archive for Sunday, September 20, 1998

RULES

September 20, 1998

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Lawrence's five city commissioners, all elected at-large, make decisions that affect the entire Lawrence community.

When it comes to municipal business, five Lawrence city commissioners make the rules.

And it's not easy.

``It's a thankless job,'' Mayor Marty Kennedy said. ``Whatever decision you make on any political issue, you don't please everyone. That's always something that weighs on your mind, but the commissioners work hard to provide the public with a safe, livable community.''

To get there, commissioners ultimately touch everything in the city's local government, either through approving new policies, passing new laws or allocating money to pay employees, finance plans or hire contractors to take on the dozens of new roads, sewers and other infrastructure items required each year in a growing city of 80,000 residents.

Among the major issues still facing commissioners:

  • Lawrence Arts Center, renovation and expansion. Commissioners hope to have a design in place for a $5.8 million overhaul for the center at 200 W. Ninth, the city's former Carnegie Library, which is listed as a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The project is expected to displace six rental homes to the west.
  • Indoor aquatic center, design and construction. Commissioners are moving ahead with plans to build a new $9.5 million center just northwest of Free State High School, on property owned by the Lawrence school district. The center is expected to include a 50-meter competitive pool, with a bleacher area containing 500 seats and an adjustable bulkhead that could separate the pools into areas for multiple activities; a ``family'' pool, with such features as whirlpools, slides, current channels, fountains and zero-depth entry areas; locker rooms; a concessions area; and a multipurpose ``birthday room'' that could be rented out for parties.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant, upgrade and expansion. Officials are working on plans to upgrade the city's sewage treatment plant, 1400 E. Eighth, to conform with new state and federal regulations, maintain existing infrastructure and keep up with the city's growth.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is mfagan@ljworld.com.

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