Student project kept
off county property
Douglas County commissioners turned down a request by a Kansas University architecture professor to build a house on lots near the courthouse owned by the county.
Kent Spreckelmeyer, professor of architecture and urban design, said he wanted to use the property for a graduate program in which students design and build a home from the ground up. The completed house would be sold to a low-income resident through the Lawrence Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) program.
The county owns two lots on Rhode Island that have been vacant for years as the East Lawrence neighbors have argued against building a parking lot to alleviate parking problems at the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center.
Commissioner Charles Jones seemed receptive to the professor's idea.
"I think we ought to put that land back to use," he said. "Building a parking lot in the middle of a residential area is kind of an insult to the neighborhood."
But Commission Chairman Dean Nieder said he didn't think he could decide by January, when the class starts, about what to do with the property.
And Commissioner Tom Taul rejected the idea, saying, "I think it needs to be a parking lot."
Spreckelmeyer said the program had other properties to turn to for the project.
brings no comment
The Douglas County Commission had a mandatory public hearing Wednesday night on bonds the county intends to issue on behalf of Cottonwood Inc.
The hearing drew no public comments. Commissioners won't vote to actually issue the bonds for a few weeks.
About $3 million in bonds is to be used to retire old debt and to build a $2 million, 20,000-square-foot addition to one of the organization's buildings at 2801 W. 31st.
The bonds are to be paid off by Cottonwood with help from a five-year, $20-million contract to produce and ship tie-down straps for the U.S. military.
Cottonwood is a nonprofit organization that provides services and work for people with developmental disabilities in Douglas and Jefferson counties.