To the editor:
The June 16 Journal-World editorial on "limited space" on sidewalk dining is correct to ask the Lawrence City Commission to enact many of the Historic Resources Commission guidelines for sidewalk dining that the board has been working on since 1995.
As a recent HRC member, I can tell you that the entire commission looks forward to protecting the character of our main mercantile street.
Sidewalk dining is one component of the success of Massachusetts Street. We must be careful to not develop one or two blocks as an intense "restaurant row." The danger of high concentrations of outdoor dining areas is that they may cluster in certain areas and push lower-rent tenants to other areas of "Mass." causing stagnation of areas less desirable for restaurants. We need to keep a healthy mix of lower-price tenant space for the novel startup businesses in Lawrence that are the foundation of authenticity to our downtown.
Messy vitality may seem to say that outdoor dining expansion is acceptable, but the real concern is the overall tenant mix of the entire downtown commercial core.
Sven Erik Alstrom,