Archive for Wednesday, May 26, 1999

CITY BRIEFS - CITY DIVES INTO AQUATIC CENTER PROJECT

May 26, 1999

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City dives into

aquatic center project

The start of construction for a new $9.5 million indoor aquatic center will begin in the next few weeks.

Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners agreed to hire RD Johnson to handle the initial work required for construction:

  • $115,960 for utilities.
  • $92,140 for site cleaning, demolition and earthwork.
  • $187,680 for paving and site concrete.

The contractor is expected to start next month with the hope of being finished before school starts again in the fall, City Manager Mike Wildgen said. The site then could be fenced off, leaving the site secured for actual construction of the center.

The center -- featuring a 50-meter competitive pool, a separate "family" pool and several other items -- is expected to open in early 2001.

The project is being financed using revenues from the city's share of a 1-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 1994.

Parking lot project

awaits $20,248 plans

BG Consultants will get $20,248 to draw up designs for rebuilding a city parking lot along the east side of New Hampshire Street, midway between Eighth and Ninth streets, commissioners decided.

The project, expected to cost $300,000, calls for new pavement, curbs, gutters, landscaping and lights at the lot, which will lose about 40 spaces of its 146 spaces in the process.

The work is intended to increase use of the lot, which currently fails to meet city standards. Officials expect the area to be safer and more attractive once the work is completed, likely by year's end.

Not everyone agrees.

LeRoy Young recently filed a petition signed by downtown property owners who object to the project, but commissioners ruled the petition invalid last week.

The city, as a whole, is picking up the tab for half of the project, with the rest being split among all but four property owners in downtown's C-3 zoning district. The owner of a typical lot will be on the hook for $550.

The project is slated for construction later this year.

Plans to be drawn

for Kasold Drive path

A new sidewalk is coming to the west side of Kasold Drive, and the plans will cost $62,164.

Commissioners agreed to hire BG Consultants to draw up designs for a recreational path along the west side of Kasold, from Clinton Parkway to the South Lawrence Trafficway recreational path.

The project will include installation of an enclosed drainage system beneath the path, to replace the current system of open ditches.

The city is paying for the design contract, plus 20 percent of the project's construction costs. The Kansas Department of Transportation has agreed to pay the rest.

Natatorium ready

for new sides, bottom

The indoor pool at Lawrence High School will get a new body this summer.

Commissioners agreed to pick up half of the tab for patching and recoating the pool's sides and bottom at the Carl Knox Natatorium, which is located on the high school campus.

The new fiberglass lining, which carries a 25-year warranty, will cost the city $20,747. The Lawrence school district is paying the same amount.

"The work will be done in August, when the pool normally is closed for overall renovations and maintenance," said Fred DeVictor, the city's director of parks and recreation.

The city and school district have shared the costs for such capital-improvements since the pool opened, DeVictor said.

OK of mechanical code

delayed six months

Don't expect a new mechanical code anytime soon.

Commissioners agreed to wait up to six months before considering approval of the 1997 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code, which governs the installation and maintenance of systems involving heating, air conditioning and other trades in town.

At issue: a proposal to require maintenance workers for apartment complexes to obtain licenses for handling certain duties, such as servicing certain heating and air conditioning systems.

The city's Mechanical Board voted 3-2 to recommend requiring such licenses.

"When you go and change parts on mechanical equipment -- whether it's gas or electric -- that person should know what they're doing," said Kevin Chaney, a member of the board. "The contractors and apartment owners should all have to abide by the same rules."

But Jack Brand, attorney for the Lawrence Apartment Assn., argued that the licensing requirement eventually would put about 100 people out of work, raise rents across town and hamper timely service.

The rules -- recommended by mechanical contractors on the board -- would be enforced by members of the Mechanical Board, he said.

"We don't think there's any good reason to do it, except that it makes more business for them," Brand said.

Commissioners decided to let the two sides work out their differences, considering the technicalities involved.

Westgate plat

headed for planners

Commissioners batted an embattled plat back to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission, which will consider its approval tonight.

City commissioners agreed to accept dedications of easements and rights-of-way for Westgate, a plat at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive, where a new Dillons store is being built.

The commissioners accepted an offer from the property's owners to provide two easements for construction of future public improvements in the area.

The plat now awaits formal approval tonight from planning commissioners, who meet at 6:30 at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

Commission adopts

goals for year

Lawrence city commissioners have plenty of goals, and now they're official.

Commissioners approved their annual list of goals, which staffers use in devising proposals for commission consideration.

The list -- drafted after a goals-setting session May 4 -- serves as a road map for the commission's work during the next 12 months.

Here are the "top priorities" on the list:

  • Develop starter fixed-route transportation system.
  • Maintain long-term viability of downtown.
  • Improve livability of neighborhoods.
  • Review and simplify zoning and subdivision regulations.
  • Improve traffic flow.

Among the others further down the list: Secure adequate space and personnel to support quality service delivery; enhance city recycling efforts; provide adequate water and wastewater services; pursue financing for non-motorized transportation and its planning; evaluate the effectiveness of the city's stormwater utility; provide high quality parks and recreation services; and evaluate the effects of growth.

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