Archive for Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tenant mix

June 19, 2005


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,



Kookamooka 12 years, 10 months ago

Why don't we start thinking outside the "box". What if we blocked off the top and bottom of Massachusettes to car traffic and made a pedestrian promenade? That would free up the current sidewalks for dining and still allow people, wheelchairs and strollers to move through downtown. Parking? That's easy. Let the corporations interested in developing outside of lawrence sponser a destination downtown project such as.....a parking garage. Naming rights are then theirs and they can rent the new retail space created. Tax abatments should come with some sort of "community commitment clause".
We don't have the sort of private philanthropists in this city to make it great! Where is our Crosby Kemper?

Richard Heckler 12 years, 10 months ago

Kookamooka has a grand idea. Lawrence is an excellent choice for such thinking. Until such time we could block off Mass Street for the sidewalk sale in July and fill the streets with merchandise, music,food and drink.

Perhaps the 800 block of Mass could be closed 5AM-11AM each Saturday morning for the Farmers Market.

We could block off Mass Street for Art Fairs, Custom Furniture Fairs, Brewmeister Fairs, Quilting Fairs,Food Fairs and do small acoustic outdoor concerts in the 600 Block of Mass.

Boulder,Colorado is the most offered example however there are others:


Instead of Mass Street being used for congestion it beomes more of an attraction for tourists thus makes dollars and sense.

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