Lawrence residents living near the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center are hoping the opening of the new county jail and the movement of a portion of the Lawrence Police Department to new quarters will ease the neighborhood parking crunch.
If it does, there may be no need for the county to turn three lots it owns in the 1100 block of Rhode Island into extra parking, said Tony Backus, vice president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Assn.
Backus and the other residents of the neighborhood have been invited to tonight's 6:35 p.m. Douglas County Commission meeting to share concerns they have about proposed changes to the county property.
Other issues up for discussion are replacement of a radio tower with a pole tower in the law enforcement center's parking lot, and a planned two-story addition to the center.
Though not welcome, the new pole and the building expansion are acceptable, Backus said.
But he and his neighbors would rather forgo the new parking lot.
Backus said he would like the county-owned lots to return to residential use eventually.
"We really would love to see Habitat for Humanity build something there," he said.
Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he will recommend that the county wait at least another year before making a decision.
Backus said he and his neighbors should get a say in the matter because the overflow parking ends up in front of their homes.
"We're the ones that are most inconvenienced by the parking crunch when it happens," Backus said.
-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is email@example.com.