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Archive for Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sesquicentennial president looks to extend birthday bashes

Clenece Hills hopes commissioners will fund annual celebrations

July 19, 2005

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Strike up the band and have a birthday party every year.

That's what Clenece Hills said Lawrence should do instead of waiting another 50 years to have a big community birthday party celebrating the town's founding.

Hills, president of the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission, the group behind the city's 150th birthday party bash last September, said she is hoping city commissioners can find an extra $4,000 per year in the city budget to host an annual birthday fest the third Sunday of each September.

"I know that Lawrence has a lot of civic pride and doesn't need another event to generate pride, but it would be nice to have an event that focuses in on a particular piece of our history - the very beginning of our community," Hills said.

Hills said she hopes the party can begin this year with a special Lawrence City Band Concert on Sept. 18. If commissioners approve, Hills said the concert likely would be in South Park during the late afternoon. In future years, the event could be moved to Sesquicentennial Point, an in-the-works city park near Clinton Lake.


Wyatt Woods, 7, watches his grandmother, Clenece Hills, cut a cake celebrating the city of Lawrence's birthday in this Aug. 12, 2001, file photo. Hills is hoping city commissioners can find an extra $4,000 per year to host an annual birthday fest.

Wyatt Woods, 7, watches his grandmother, Clenece Hills, cut a cake celebrating the city of Lawrence's birthday in this Aug. 12, 2001, file photo. Hills is hoping city commissioners can find an extra $4,000 per year to host an annual birthday fest.

In time, the celebration could grow to include an art show, food vendors and an event that Hills envisions as Art in the Air - a show of kites, wind socks, hot air balloons and other devices riding the frequent winds that blow at Sesquicentennial Point.

City commissioners will hear more details during a budget session at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

The city has rarely celebrated its founding date of Sept. 18, 1854. The city had an extensive sesquicentennial celebration in 2004, culminating with a parade and giant birthday cake. But prior to that celebration, Hills said her research indicated the last event was in 1954, when the city celebrated its 100th birthday.

That's not often enough, she said, especially given all the youngsters and new residents who may not know how the town's founding shaped events leading to the Civil War.

Bob Newton, longtime announcer for the Lawrence City Band, said he thought a special concert might be a good way to celebrate.

"I know the concerts we have now are hugely popular," Newton said. "What I used to notice is that the first concert of the summer used to be sparsely attended, and then it would grow. But this year, it has been a big crowd from the very beginning."

A specific plan for how the $4,000 for the birthday party would be spent hasn't been developed yet, but would be provided to commissioners if they are interested in the idea. Hills said there are expenses related to putting on a concert, including paying people to set up sound systems and marketing expenses.

Comments

consumer1 8 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like another "love fest" for the people who think up these crazy ideas. I didn't get any cake on the last birthday party. Just seems crazy for city employees to have to fight for a small percent raise and have the city waste money this way.

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harryk 8 years, 9 months ago

What a dreadful waste! Surely the city has better things to do with our tax money!

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

A birthday party could involve rehabilitating the corner of 7th and New Jersey where Van Gogh Mobil Arts is located. The curbs have disappeared. One sewage drain that once was a very large hole in the ground has been repaired(hats off to Mr. Wildgen). The other drains on that corner need attention and perhaps the $4000 could help pay for new gravel in the parking lot(gravel allows water to drain into the ground) and 3-5 trees.

Van Go Mobile Arts is doing good things for the community so what the heck let's be good to them. Then allow Lawrence to celebrate a birthday.

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