Busy streets to get
New sidewalks will be installed this summer along two of Lawrence's busiest streets.
Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners agreed to hire Penny Construction Co. to install new sidewalks in three locations:
- Along the south side of Sixth Street, from Wisconsin to California streets.
- Along the east side of Iowa Street, from 15th to 19th streets.
- Along the west side of Iowa, from 19th to Clinton Parkway.
The sidewalk on the west side of Iowa actually will be a 10-foot-wide recreational path connecting an asphalt path along Clinton Parkway and a similar concrete path that runs through Kansas University's West Campus, down Crestline Drive and to 15th Street.
Penny will be paid $173,601 for handling the three jobs.
Dillons ready to roll
for new supermarket
Dillons can start building a new supermarket in northwest Lawrence.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve an "agreement to plat" for the Dillons project, the last hurdle necessary for getting a building permit for construction at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
There are other hurdles for the project. It next moves on April 21 to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission for review, said Jane Eldredge, a Lawrence attorney representing developers.
Earth-moving and concrete work already has begun at the site, where Dillons will build its fourth Lawrence store. A spokesman for the Hutchinson-based company said Friday that the "standard Dillons" store still was on track to open late this fall. In addition to groceries, it will include a drive-through pharmacy, floral shop, video rental and one-hour photo service.
Hy-Vee Inc., meanwhile, has yet to begin construction on the new 66,000-square-foot supermarket it's planning about a mile east on West Sixth Street. Both stores were announced late last year.
Dillons' 48,000-square-foot store is part of the Westgate development, an area quickly filling up with a variety of new retail and office projects. The subdivision is planned to include more than 200,000 square feet of commercial space when fully developed.
New shelter set
for Centennial Park
A new shelter is coming to Centennial Park.
Commissioners agreed without debate to hire Penny Construction Co., for $54,586, to build a replacement shelter in the southeast corner of the park, just off Ninth Street behind Bucky's.
The existing shelter has a broken sewer line and other associated problems, City Manager Mike Wildgen said. The new shelter will be coordinated with installation of new bathrooms in the park.
Construction is expected this summer, Wildgen said. The upgrade is being financed using revenues from a 1-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 1994.
The city still needs to hire a contractor to tear down the existing shelter, Wildgen said.
The upgrade complies with a new master plan that recently was approved for the 35-acre park, which was donated to the city in 1954 in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of Lawrence's founding. The park currently features a disc golf course and the new Centennial Skate Park, which opened in December.
Lights to illuminate
Special fixtures will illuminate the brick exterior of an historic building on New Hampshire Street undergoing renovation into an office and retail center.
Commissioners voted 3-2 to allow installation of two dual-head lights outside Kansas Seed House, the former home of Quantrill's Flea Market at 811 N.H. The building had been a warehouse for Barteldes Seed Co. from 1880 to 1962.
Typically, single-head street lights would be installed.
Bo Harris of Harris Construction, contractor on the project, convinced a majority of the commission that installation of extraordinary lighting would add distinction to the refurbished building.
"I feel strongly about it," Harris said. "It's going to be effective in pulling out that project."
Commissioners consented on the condition the building's owners -- a partnership composed of John Nitcher, Sam Pepple, Eugene Riling, Michael Riling and Harris -- paid for the light fixtures, maintenance and electric service.
The biggest tenant in the building will be Callahan Creek, which is an advertising, marketing and public relations agency that's moving to Lawrence from Topeka. The agency will occupy about half the building -- all of the 30,000-square-foot building's top floor, the north half of the second level and some space on the bottom level.
The law firm of Riling, Burkhead and Nitcher will occupy about 5,000 square feet on the south half of the second level.
That leaves a big space on the first level for a yet-to-be named retail tenant and some storage space.
Shelter grant refunded
for transitional housing
A grant approved last year for the purchase of a homeless shelter will be used instead for programs to get homeless people into permanent homes.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to redirect a $128,000 grant into the city's own department of Housing and Neighborhood Development, which plans to administer a "transitional housing" program intended to get homeless people into homes, either as owners or renters.
Last year, commissioners had approved the grant for use by The Community Drop-In Center, which serves homeless people, and Project Acceptance, which helps people with chronic mental illnesses. Both organizations had planned to team up for the purchase of a permanent home.
Because the organizations did not meet the city's requirements for using the grant -- including those involving accounting, staffing and fundraising -- the two groups agreed to withdraw their plans for using the grant, and may apply again next year.
"Neither agency feels it can meet the criteria," said Lynn Goodell, director of housing and neighborhood development for the city.
City officials plan to use the $128,000 -- provided through the federal Community Development Block Grant program -- to acquire properties that could provide "transitional" homes for homeless or mentally ill people, provided other agencies agree to handle operational costs.