Archive for Wednesday, February 22, 2006

City parks plan wins approval

Amyx voices concerns about growing list of needed improvements

February 22, 2006


Four new parks and major improvements to an existing one are on the way for Lawrence residents, despite growing concerns about city streets, sewers and other infrastructure.

City commissioners on a 4-1 vote gave staff members approval Tuesday night to move ahead on $1.94 million worth of improvements, including new parks west of Wakarusa Drive, near 31st Street and Kasold Drive, and near the Hallmark Cards plant in northern Lawrence.

"Maintaining a great park system is crucial to maintaining our quality of life," Mayor Boog Highberger said.

No one argued with that, but commissioners did disagree about whether the city can afford a new investment in parks right now. City Commissioner Mike Amyx - who voted against the proposal - said the city also had to consider major improvements to city streets, sewers and North Lawrence storm sewers after receiving staff reports that all are in need of repair. The city also is contemplating a new downtown library, although no money has been budgeted for that project.

"We really need to be having some discussion about what our priorities really are going to be," Amyx said. "Heaven forbid we talk about our sewers. I really want to make sure the things we are looking at are our highest priorities."

Commissioners did trim $500,000 from the list of projects submitted by the Parks and Recreation Department. The items cut primarily were maintenance projects or smaller improvements to existing facilities. They ranged from new lights at baseball diamonds to a new elevator at the Community Building.

Projects that did receive approval were:

¢ Peterson Park: a neighborhood park near Peterson Road and North Iowa Street, just west of the Hallmark Cards plant.

¢ Green Meadows Park: a neighborhood park north and west of the area near Kasold Drive and 31st Street.

¢ Greenbelt Park: a neighborhood park near Langston Hughes School in west Lawrence.

¢ Improvements to the playground, shelter house and rest rooms at Clinton Park, an existing park near Fifth and Alabama streets.

¢ $260,000 for acquisition of future parkland.

Fred DeVictor, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said he hoped construction work would begin on at least two of the parks this year. The entire list of projects could take up to three years to complete. He said he didn't know which projects would move forward first, but said Greenbelt Park might receive priority consideration after several members of the public and the City Commission spoke in favor of the project Tuesday night.

The city is proposing to fund the projects by issuing new 10-year debt that will be paid with revenues from the countywide 1-cent sales tax. The city has sales tax money available because it recently paid off the debt for the Lawrence Aquatic Center.


Linda Aikins 12 years, 3 months ago

Hmm. These parks are mostly all in west Lawrence...

So when my basement is full of "solids", I can always go play in the park!

Good try Mike Amyx. I wish they'd have listened.

James Hicks 12 years, 3 months ago

Too bad that the mayor is more interested in fun and relaxation than in making sure Lawrence's existing needs are met. Nonsense days and parks are not as high priority as street repair & fully functioning sewers.

egress 12 years, 3 months ago

$260k for future acquisition of park land but no new lights at the baseball diamonds. Nicely done. Are all stoned except Amyx?

benm024 12 years, 3 months ago

I know, no roundabouts, no parks, no new business on Mass, no West Lawrence shopping district projects, no this, no that.

It seems like recently the city commission has finally started trying to build Lawrence up instead of sitting around thinking of things to ban and you people can't stand it.

Somebody can always say why are you doing Y when we still need to do X. That's a sure fire way to never get anything done.

akuna 12 years, 3 months ago

I am happy to hear that we are taking our parks seriously. Having places to recreate is one of the most important aspects to a healthy city and society. Not to mention that the feel of the city is greatly enhanced by our park system. I look forward to having more and nicer parks. Thank you commissioners.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

Let's get rid of all our parks. Lawrence would be a much better place if it resembled Moscow or East Berlin circa 1958.

Godot 12 years, 3 months ago

Right, build new parks and let the existing ones go to pot.

pardon the pun

Godot 12 years, 3 months ago

They'll be back asking for $1,000,000 for deferred park mainteance next year.

oldschool 12 years, 3 months ago

City Government 101

Job 1 Public Safety

Job 2 Sewers

Job 3 Streets

Everthing else is EXTRA

If you can't fully fund the first three you have no business looking at anything else until you do.

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

this is further evidence where the city commission's priorities lie.

we need streets fixed, the commission's answer is to build more parks.

we need more jobs, the commission's answer is to make it more difficult to bring employers.

we need more commercial taxes, the commission's answer is delay and limit any further commercial development with one exception.

we need to protect the downtown, the commission's answer is to build a new retro downtown in a cornfield out west.

we need to bring some basic needs to west lawrence like sewers, the commission's answer is to build a new library downtown with the exception of a few parks.

the list could go on and on.....

i guess next time there is an election vote for someone that does not work for: a non-profit; the state; a school; or is a lawyer - being a barber might not qualify either.

Jay_Z 12 years, 3 months ago

Where are the priorities in this city?!

Having parks is great, but if the streets are so crappy you can't get to the park, then what's the point of building more parks? I'll also go out on a limb and say the sewer problems we have are a bit more important than building new parks or a new library. Sadly, these idiotic decisions by the city commision do not surprise me anymore. When is the next election to get rid of these morons?

Jay_Z 12 years, 3 months ago

The dada poems are should send them to booger so he can read them at the next commision meeting.

mcoan 12 years, 3 months ago

A city's quality of life is what makes it great. Parks increase a city's quality of life. Lawrence has been a leader in parks and recreation and I'm glad it will continue to be. Thanks, far-sighted commissioners.

But for those who disagree, let's put it to a vote again...we had a vote 10 years ago on the 1 cent for parks plan. It passed overwhelmingly. Bring it on again and we'll be happy to whup you again.

Dayna Lee 12 years, 3 months ago

When I was a kid there was always talk of an amazing rec center. All you have to do is live in Lawrence long enough to realize that all these park ideas, don't really happen. I remember talk of a 150 year park also. Let's improve school playgrounds and call it a day!!

Richard Heckler 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually much of these things come from different funding sources.

Those northwest sewer line back ups should get fixed no matter what. The city has funds it could tap into as its kinda like roof leaks. It needs to be fixed and I would fix that before concerning myself about a new system in SW Lawrence.

The west side deserves parks and a Rec system.

Th city also should be declaring space for elementary schools, parks and fire stations before areas become developed and land more expensive. This has not been done by any City Commission in the last 20 years.

The citizens will need patience to deal with matters or be willing to accept a tax. I prefer patience to a tax as the streets will not fall through the ground anytime soon.

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