Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

Economic woes

August 18, 2005


To the editor:

New urbanism in Lawrence sustaining families that would live in one location forever! Please, get a grip. Has City Hall not been paying attention to their own actions? It appears that City Hall also has not been paying attention to the job market in Lawrence and the economy. Have they forgotten that they continue to keep a choke hold on new business development based on the philosophy that we must support our local businesses no matter what the cost?

Has City Hall studied the number of families who leave Lawrence to get better jobs or even find a job at all? With the turnover of businesses in Lawrence (Journal-World Business Section, Aug. 17) how does City Hall expect families to pay for their new urban habitats?

However, City Hall will spend significant money sending some city official (with no urban planning experience) off to a cozy urban development in Colorado that in no way can be compared to Lawrence - different tax base, different culture, different everything!

Until the concept of growth and development catches on in Lawrence, there will continue to be an exodus of families to greener pastures. City Hall needs to continue to think small town or get on the fast track of business growth and development so it can support families, their children and their aspirations.

Is change going to occur, or will Lawrence continue to be a parasite to surrounding job markets in Kansas City and Topeka?

Steve Turner,



Richard Heckler 12 years, 9 months ago

The city planning commission and the city commissioners are trying to set up property in SE Lawrence that would be attractive to the higher paying job markets. The primary obstacle to this plan are very well known housing developers who want to build houses instead. First Management and just about any Real Estate company you can think about are opposing this idea. Believe me these folks know little about planning however they dominated the city and planning commissions for at least 15 years or more. The Southeast higher salary employment area is exactly what Lawrence needs right now. Not only that when higher salaries come to mind think COSTCO not Wal-Mart.

There is not a lack of growth or developement in Lawrence. Perhaps it's not the kind we need. If we don't have jobs for the existing population why do we need more large housing projects and why in the hell do people keep moving here?

The New Urbanism concept could be a wise choice as this type of architecture would also fit in many older Lawrence neighborhoods.

Kookamooka 12 years, 9 months ago

I must confess. New Urbanism is a little scarey. I live an a traditionally single family home development from the 1960's (when they BUILT single family homes-not "town-homes in multi-family complexes) A home across the street was recently snapped up by a developer and he intends to tear it down and build, you guessed it, an apartment building. This sort of mixed use is what destroyed Old West Lawrence and the Oread Neighborhoods. Transient populations do not good neihbors make. Does anyone remember the havoc MasterCraft played in the 1980's? It's just another example of GREED infiltrating our neighborhoods and ruining them. I thought when I bought my house that building an apartment next door would be illegal due to zoning laws. WELL WELL, there are NEW zoning laws on the table right now that pull the rug right out from under my original expectations.

Living next do an apartment complex is just like living inside of one. It looks like I'll have to move to TOPEKA to find a SINGLE FAMILY neighborhood in my price range. THANKS ALOT LAWRENCE.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 9 months ago

The 'New Urbanism" does not appear to be like a "crappy multi family dwelling concept". Since I've had no chance to to actually see the designs this could be the row house concept like I see on the east coast. These are areas, as many know, that have small grocery/drug stores and yummy cafe or perhaps a doctors office. We need more information that did not come from the LJW.

I completely sympathize with many Lawrence neighborhoods where many of these joints somehow attract 5-10 cars for a 2-3 bedroom living space. Not only that landscape and general design stink.

Kookamooka 12 years, 9 months ago

Merrill, I appreciate your enthusiasm for a new urban landscape but I'm afraid, unless the concept is well-defined, that the developers are going to have a field day with it. Ironically, people who like living in an urban environment can move to mid-town Kansas City in an area that has very low home prices just poised for appreciation. Other cities have well developed infastructures and affordable cultural and recreational activities galore. It's funny that Lawrence should be creating a new urban lifestyle in a town that has no "urb". (I'm defining urb as a place with jobs, reasonable housing and interesting recreational opportunites-including a variety of affordable shopping options.) All of these desirable elements can be created in Lawrence, but there isn't any economic incentive for the little guys. So, we are doomed to become a giant Johnson County with no "Johnson". (I'm defining Johnson to mean jobs!)

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