Archive for Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Former sale barn site proposed as new park

March 29, 2005

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A site that was once the center of Lawrence's livestock trade may become part of the city's park system.

A group of east Lawrence residents is proposing that city officials strike a deal to buy the former site of the Lawrence livestock sale barn at 911 E. 11th St. and use the property to expand the adjacent Hobbs Park.

"We feel like this fits into the city's park system and definitely fits into the city's bicycle and pedestrian plans," said James Grauerholz, a member of the Burroughs Creek Area Plan study committee, which is studying the area in east Lawrence along the abandoned Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line. "We feel like the time is right because it has been in limbo for a while."

The property would be near the northern end of a proposed hike and bike trail that would run along the abandoned railway line and tie into the city's existing network of trails.

The approximately 3-acre site has been zoned for office or warehouse use since the livestock sale barn closed in 1995. But city commissioners in February expressed concern about possible traffic problems and how an industrial development would fit in with the adjacent neighborhood. Commissioners denied a request from the property owners to extend a site plan for the property while a tenant is sought.

Steve Schwada, a member of the site's ownership group, said he would listen to proposals to buy the property, but that he still thought the location was appropriate for office or warehouse development.

City commissioners will discuss the issue at their meeting at 6:35 tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets. Commissioners are expected to forward the request to parks and recreation department officials for study.

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