The area of Lawrence north of 15th Street and west of Iowa is quickly becoming a major gateway into the city.
U.S. Highway 40, which enters town from the west along Sixth Street, is undergoing an expansion -- and soon the entire corridor will be lined with new businesses and housing between Wakarusa Drive on the east and the K-10 interchange on the west.
"We're still a developing area," said Paula Pepin of the West Lawrence Neighborhood Assn., which includes almost all of residential Lawrence west of Wakarusa. "For those of that are involved, that's a plus because we can have some input in how things develop around us. We've been pretty active in meeting with developers and realtors and such."
Northwest Lawrence, while growing quickly, is also the most affluent corner of the city, according to Census records, with median household incomes above $50,000 in three of the four Census "tracts" in that part of town.
There's plenty of shopping along Sixth Street -- three major grocery stores between Iowa and Wakarusa, plus a number of restaurants, banks and other services along the road. A shopping center that includes the Hereford House, one of the largest restaurants in Kansas, is located at the intersection of Sixth and Wakarusa.
There are plenty of places to relax: Lawrence Country Club is located in this part of town, as is Centennial Park, "Dad" Perry Park and Hallmark Park, plus other smaller neighborhood parks and a nature preserve. The Indoor Aquatic Center, the city-run indoor pool, is located next to Free State High School at 4700 Overland Drive. As far as cultural offerings go, there's talk of moving Lawrence Community Theater to the area.
The four neighborhoods, as defined by Census:
- The area south of Sixth Street, bounded by Monterey Way on the west and Iowa Street on the east;. This area encompasses the Perry Park, Sunset Hills and Raintree neighborhood associations.
The median age of residents in this area is just above 28 years old; home owners outnumber renters by a two-to-one ratio. But this is also the oldest part of northwest Lawrence -- half the homes in the area were built before 1977, according to the Census Bureau.
- Just west, between Monterey Way and Wakarusa Drive, is the area that includes the Quail Run and Western Hills neighborhood associations.
The median age of neighborhood residents is 33.9 years old; homeowners outnumber renters by a four-to-one ratio. This is one of the newer areas of town, with more than half the homes built since 1993.
- All of northwest Lawrence north of Sixth Street. This area includes the Monterey Homeowners Assn.
Homes here are a little older, with about half built before 1983; more than half the homes are occupied by their owners. The median age of neighborhood residents is about 31 years old.
- The West Lawrence Neighborhood Assn., west of Wakarusa. Half the homes have been built since 1997. The average age of residents here is over 35 years old.
Students in northwest Lawrence normally attend Free State High School.