Archive for Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Library plans unveiled

Proposals offer new look for downtown

May 9, 2006


Four Lawrence developers have put forth plans to reshape downtown with construction of a dramatic new city library surrounded by retail and residential development.

All four proposals are public-private partnerships that would be more than double the size of the current library - and would include new condominiums, office space and, in some cases, new retail development and hotel space. Taxpayers would be asked to pay about $40 million or more under any of the proposals.

"Any of these four proposals would make a huge and lasting change in the downtown fabric," said City Commissioner David Schauner. "It is going to be both an opportunity and a challenge."

The projects include:

¢ Massive redevelopment of parts of the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Vermont and Kentucky streets by the Fritzel family, owners of a local construction company.

¢ A proposal by members of the Simons family - which owns the Journal-World - to place the library along the Kansas River, in the former Riverfront Mall.

¢ Redevelopment by Lawrence developer Doug Compton would turn much of the east side of the 800 block of New Hampshire Street into a library, retail-residential development and a large public plaza designed by artist Stan Herd.

¢ A plan by developers of the Downtown 2000 project to suspend a multistory library above a section of New Hampshire Street near the intersection of Ninth and New Hampshire.

City commissioners will evaluate all four proposals against the idea of simply expanding the existing library at its current location of Seventh and Vermont streets.

Whatever direction the city goes, it almost is certain the project will require a public election to approve bonds to pay for the new facility. That election likely would happen no sooner than April 2007, said library director Bruce Flanders.

In the meantime, city commissioners will have a full public airing of all the proposals. A committee of city officials and library leaders will review each proposal and list pros and cons of each. Its first meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday at City Hall, and will be open to the public. City commissioners are scheduled to have a public study session on the proposals at 9 a.m. June 8 at City Hall, but they aren't expected to choose a winner at that time.

"There are a number of policy decisions that have to be made, and we'll be talking about those in the coming months," said interim City Manager David Corliss. "This is not something that will be decided in a month."

Vermont Street

Thomas Fritzel, a member of the family that owns Gene Fritzel Construction, will urge city commissioners to think big. Fritzel said his family's proposal - in addition to giving the city a larger library - would add enough new retail, parking and residential development to allow downtown to compete with the Plaza area in Kansas City and the rapidly developing retail area near the Kansas Speedway.

"Downtown Lawrence needs to refocus and really become a destination point again," Fritzel said. "If the downtown and the city do not unite on a project, market share for downtown will continue to decline."

The Fritzel project would have the city and his company combine to redevelop significant portions of Vermont and Kentucky streets. Major details of the project include:

¢ A 126,000-square-foot library would be along Sixth Street between Vermont and Kentucky streets. The building would be constructed to allow for expansion to 150,000 square feet.

¢ Six new retail, residential and office buildings - each with several hundred covered parking stalls - will be built along Vermont and Massachusetts streets. The new buildings - including everything from shops to condominiums - would be on the vacant lot immediately south of the Eldridge Hotel; on the current library site at the southwest corner of Seventh and Vermont streets; on the city-owned parking lot on the northeast corner of Eighth and Vermont streets; on a lot just north of the Talbots store in the 600 block of Vermont Street; on the current site of the U.S. Post Office at Seventh and Vermont, which would move its distribution facility to an undetermined location closer to Interstate 70; and on the city-owned parking lot on the east side of Vermont Street between Eighth and Ninth streets.

¢ Total cost for the project is estimated to be at least $150 million. The proposal did not include specific figures on how much the public would contribute to the total cost, but Fritzel said it could be about $40 million for parking and other infrastructure and another $25 million for the library building. But according to a feasibility study, he estimates the project will generate $70 million in new tax revenue over a 20-year period.

¢ The project would be built in phases over a six-to-10 year time period. Once completed, it would add 1,864 public and private parking spaces.

¢ A new convention center space could be about 20,000 square feet and would be built onto the Eldridge Hotel using the city parking lot just west of the historic building.

¢ The project would include space for a downtown retail post office to replace the space lost from the dislocated post office.

¢ The development would require the removal of several houses in the 600 block of Kentucky. The proposal noted condemnation of some property may be necessary.

Library on the river

Dan Simons - president of the electronics division of The World Company, which owns the Journal-World - believes his group's proposal presents a realistic plan for creating a unique library for downtown Lawrence.

"We're not saying that hundreds of thousands of square feet of national tenants are going to come in and fund this," Simons said. "Basically, all the commitments are from existing players in town. It is a realistic plan to create what we believe would be the signature building of Lawrence."

Key points of the plan are:

¢ A 140,000-square-foot, three-story library that would overlook the Kansas River. The building would occupy the former Riverfront Mall building. Plans could call for an additional story to be added to the building. Simons said the building would be designed to be one of the five most energy efficient buildings in the country.

¢ The current 100-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott would move out of the former mall building to make room for the library. A new 160-room Marriott hotel would be built on the east side of the 600 block of New Hampshire Street on property adjacent to the former Reuter Organ building. The hotel would have about 10,000 square feet of convention space.

¢ Also in the 600 block of New Hampshire Street, 40,000 square feet of new retail space - including a remodeling of the Reuter building - would be constructed. Also, 52 condos would be built near Seventh and New Hampshire streets. Sunflower Broadband offices also would move out of the former mall building into new space in the 600 block.

¢ The eastern end of the former Riverfront Mall building would be converted into a parking garage with 30 condos on its top level. There also would be a multistory parking garage in the 600 block of New Hampshire Street, as well as a new surface parking lot east of the former Riverfront Mall building. In total, the project would provide 838 parking spaces.

¢ The plan also includes buying the Abe & Jake's Landing nightclub and converting the space into 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

¢ The total project has an estimated cost of about $133 million. The city would be asked to bond about $75 million of the project - with the rest coming from developers. But the developers estimate the project will generate about $25 million in new tax revenue the city will be able to use to help pay its share of the project.

¢ Sixth Street would be extended east, to connect to Rhode Island and Connecticut streets.

¢ Renowned sculptor and Lawrence resident Jim Brothers will serve as consulting artist for the project.

A bridge library

Jeff Shmalberg, a member of the 9-10 LC company that redeveloped the 900 block of New Hampshire Street, believes the city has a ready-made location for the new library. He's proposing the city build it on already-vacant, construction-ready ground in the 900 block of New Hampshire.

That would place the library adjacent to the Lawrence Arts Center and right across the street from a city-owned 500-space parking garage.

"If the library goes here, you would basically have a city-owned cultural-civic block," Shmalberg said. "And we believe we have the simplest project. The sites are ready to build on. The library can save a lot of time and money by choosing this site."

But the site will require a unique design. Shmalberg and his architects are proposing the library be built on both the east and west side of New Hampshire Street. That means a portion of the building would be suspended over New Hampshire Street.

Key details of the project include:

¢ The library would be 127,000 square feet, on the first two floors of a five-story building. The remaining three floors would be occupied by office space and 20 loft-style condos.

¢ The building could accommodate anywhere from about 275 to 400 covered parking spaces, depending on city needs. Those spaces would be in addition to the 500-space parking garage already in the 900 block of New Hampshire Street.

¢ Shmalberg estimated the public investment in the project could range from about $40 million to $50 million, depending on parking. He said a total project cost including the privately developed condo and office space wasn't yet available.

Library and lodging

A development group led by Lawrence businessman Doug Compton would turn the eastern side of the 800 block of New Hampshire Street into a new library and add a new hotel to downtown.

The project would include just two buildings - a 130,000-square-foot, two-story library, and a 126,000-square-foot, six-story building that would house a 120-room hotel in addition to condos and office space.

"We feel like this is a very simple solution that also is elegant and timeless," said Dan Sabatini, the architect for the project. "It really doesn't have any obstacles to overcome. All the ground is owned by the city or individuals who are willing to participate. We really are trying to keep the library out of a development that would hinge upon certain things happening."

Key points to the project include:

¢ About $49 million in public funding; developers estimate the project will produce about $10 million in new revenues to offset those costs. The private sector would invest about $20.5 million.

¢ The site would include removal of basically everything on the eastern side of the 800 block of New Hampshire Street, including the Aquila natural gas building near Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The development would not remove the new Pachamama's restaurant near Eighth and New Hampshire streets.

¢ The project would include two levels of below-ground parking that would provide 570 parking spaces.

¢ The library would be designed to accommodate a 25,000-square-foot expansion.

¢ A 35,000-square-foot outdoor plaza would be in front of the library. The plaza would be planned by noted Lawrence artist Stan Herd.

Reader poll
Which proposal for a new downtown library do you prefer?

or See the results without voting



jayhawk2000 9 years, 1 month ago

A new direction?? Trump Towers, more like! Anything that involves an underpass is a big no-no and the last thing downtown needs is another ugly tower block.

Kelly Powell 9 years, 1 month ago

And if this does not pacify the citizens of lawrence they will build a hippadrome or a nice collesium.

cms 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow. I am speechless. A pefect example of dreaming big with taxpayer dollars.

Kookamooka 9 years, 1 month ago

I disagree completely with the notion that Lawrence should aim small. I've noticed, on blogs lately, that if you are a person who grew up in po-dunk anywhere, Lawrence looks great and shouldn't change a hair but if you grew up in a glamourous big city, or on the outskirts of one, you know how much work Lawrence still has to do to remain an attractive place to live and work. Kansas has such a bad reputation for idiocy and small mindedness, lets just do one big thing to counteract those assumptions. It's not even a question of SHOULD we do it. So stop arguing THAT point. It WILL happen. Now...which one of the designs do you prefer?

brookcreeker 9 years, 1 month ago

Hey, so I was wondering... If the city went with Doug Compton's plan, would we also have to pay to move the fire station to around 8th and New Hampshire? It would be a shame if another one of his buildings burned to the ground. I thought putting the new fire/medical complex over at 19th and Iowa (right next to Compton's apartments) was clever. Maybe the fire department just wanted to improve its response time.

average 9 years, 1 month ago

The 30 million dollar library is nowhere near fait accompli. I may be a liberal, but I am a Kansas tightwad first and will vote accordingly. Give the library folks the choice between their current location and, say, the former Food-4-Less. Nearer the actual center of town, big space, lots of parking, on the bus routes.

A fancy new building gives me, a library patron who checks out books, nothing. Not a single book. It gives those who spend 8+ hours a day there (employees and homeless) fancy digs. Oh, and it makes a pretty penny for the construction companies.

Sigmund 9 years, 1 month ago

Put the new library in the soon to be former home of Abe and Jakes. Closer for the real users of the library, all the homeless people.

Can't we all get real for a second? Lawrence does NOT need a $30,000,000 library. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 80,098. That is $375 for every man women and child. A family of four would pay $1,500, if only two people work in that household that would $750 per wage earner.

Working families can buy a lot of books and video's for that much money. Completely worthless.

paladin 9 years, 1 month ago

You mean that I have no choice, but to be entranced by the glamour and to succomb to the will and the values of the Rich and Powerful? Oh well. Here, take all my money.

moveforward 9 years, 1 month ago

Put less money on the outside and more into the inside. Each of these 'development' proposals is way beyond our foreseeable needs. The councel needs to sober up. I vote for "none of the above."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

First of all, everyone should keep in mind that these proposals are from private interests, not from the city commission. I would expect that any of these plans would be scaled back considerably, particularly w/respect to the city's/taxpayers' contributions.

One item that I could not go for would be the condemnation of houses in the 600 block of Kentucky in the Fritzel proposal. Douglas County Bank already wiped out enough old houses in that area.

Raider 9 years, 1 month ago

I think the Fritzel plan is great! It calls for more living space downtown, along with additional parking, retail and a nice new library. He hit the nail on the head when he said we need to become a destination spot again. There is too much competition for the dollars out there, and WyCo is doing some great things around the Speedway. I hope the city is forward thinking enough to pass that proposal. Downtown needs new life.

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago

LJreader: I believe you are correct.

I believe that Lawrence needs to do whatever it can to keep with the times and draw back the former students/young residents who are helping to revitalize many big cities and their downtown areas. However, I'm not sure that overpriced condos are the way to go. Why pay $400,000 for a condo in Lawrence when that will buy you a one bedroom in the Gold Coast of Chicago with all of its amenities? It would be great to see more "city living" in downtown Lawrence, but there has to be a way to do it and still keep the charm.

pundit 9 years, 1 month ago

my my my..... I want a new library...... but didn't realize we were going to have to invest in a KC-styled rolling roof..

lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

this is incredibly foolish. with the invention of the internet - why didn't someone propose a virtual library? just think how much money this would save?

this isn't KU or something where their costs are passed on to the entire state. this is the city of lawrence where these costs are passed on to just us.

i'd like to see a study on how this new library will increase readership. i'd also like to see how this thing is going to service everyone in town. how many people use the library everyday anyhow and what do they project with one of these behemoths?

a satellite annex on the west side of town would've been less expensive, and benefitted many more.

xenophonschild 9 years, 1 month ago

There's something wrong in the universe when I have to agree with macon47, but he's right. The price tag now is ridiculously high at $30-40 million, but what if - and it almost always happens - there are cost overruns and the ticket goes up another ten million, or even doubles?

What's wrong with the present library? I think it's fine; I check books out regularly and there never seems to be traffic or logjams; there is enough space in the stacks, and the library has a full complement of computers and search devices. They might need a better way to retrieve archival material, but that certainly doesn't require $30 million.

And the Topeka library strikes me as grotesque. Bottom line, we don't need it. Anything you can't get at the public library, you certainly should be able to find in Watson.

9 years, 1 month ago

If we're going to spend this kind of money, the project had better be vastly more architecturally appealing than the proposed "A New Direction" monstrosity. Hideous.

lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

ummmm.....a black and white blurry sketch is beating the rest in the poll. hmmmm.

i have a suggestion, do NOT vote.

cellogrl 9 years, 1 month ago

The least of the evils on this proposal seems to be the Compton plan and it's STILL massive! I think that this town is trying to do way more than they need to and I DEFINITELY agree that it's way more than the tax payers need to pay. I think that we need a far more downscaled version of the library. None of these proposals seems to fit the personality of Lawrence at all. The developers are trying to make us into something that we're not and it's really making me sick to see our commissioners try to change Lawrence into something this overly done. Let's stop it!

Kathleen Christian 9 years, 1 month ago

Good Grief!! What are they trying to do to our town - turn our town into a metropolitian CITY? This is an intimate and quaint town and I want it to stay this way not turned into a money making rush-rush hustle and bustle push and shove CITY. Just renovate the library we have, build another floor onit if you have to make it larger, but for crying outloud leave the continuity of our town alone.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

Give it up, folks. We have nothing to say about this. Those in control have decided, behind closed doors, or on the golf course, or over drinks, that it will happen. All that is left is for them to fight it out amongst themselves as to who gets the golden ring, the ring that we, the lowly taxpayers, have to buy.

Kookamooka 9 years, 1 month ago

Well, if the general public is of the same opinions of the posters, the community support to issue bonds won't be there and the developers ("evil") plans will be thwarted!

Good Riddance! I'll get a bumper sticker that says "Keep Lawrence Lame!"

Oh, where are the spin doctors when you need them?

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago

"Intimate and quaint town?" Gosh, and for years I've been thinking of/touting Lawrence as "progressive."

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago

While I can see how some of these plans in particular could be considered unbridled growth, I find nothing wrong with wanting to continually revitalize and uplift the gem of Lawrence (next to KU): Downtown. I don't think anyone wants a country club on Mass, but rebelling against change just seems counter to what Lawrence has always stood for to me.

Face it, folks. With the condos, art center, parking garage, new developments and stores, etc. that have changed downtown in the past few years, you can do one of two things: Complain or be proactive and ensure that it's done right.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

I've got 40-50 million reasons why this City Commission needs to go.

Look, I would love a huge library, it would add a lot to the development and growth of Lawrence. But, how about some prioritizing. This Commission has been telling us for years that the roads can't be fixed because the budget is strapped for cash. Meanwhile, Lawrence residents can't drive the speed limit, can't keep their cars aligned, kids are getting run over because of the pervasive presence of dips/bumps/craters/holes (general stupidity of Messr. Soules) everywhere. A project this size is going to dominate the budget for years because we all know that once the project is underway the very honest developers in Lawrence are going to tell us that construction costs are up and the price will end up being double. Who wants to debate me on that point?

Look, if Lawrence doesn't have the cash to fix our roads (which virtually every one of them is in dire need of not just repair, but replacement) then we certainly don't have an extra 40-50 million (actually 80-100 million by the time Compton, Fritzl and Scwade, a/k/a Duey Screwem and Howe, are done fleecing this City) floating around to build a library/mega-plaza that noboby can get to in the first place because the roads are so blasted terrible.

Why don't we use the buildings we currently have (Carneige gave us a free one a few years ago, or so I heard) and prioritize first things first. Reality Check: Kids in yards are actually being hit by autos because the roads are so bad in Lawrence. We don't need a 100 million dollar library prior to having decent roads to drive on.

Come on, a 40-50 million dollar library is totally absurd.

gaiapapaya 9 years, 1 month ago

Doug Compton has been trying to get his hands on the post office building for years. Well, that and everything else in downtown...

Liberty 9 years, 1 month ago

In the vote above, they forgot to add the most important option: Select none of the plans, instead save the tax dollars and return them to the people. Keep the current library and repair it as necessary.

Instead the only option is to raise 40 million dollars of taxes from the people. The only choice is: What flavor of Trump towers do you want? Will they also have a boardwalk?

monkeyhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

"Fritzel said his family's proposal - in addition to giving the city a larger library - would add enough new retail, parking and residential development to allow downtown to compete with the Plaza area in Kansas City and the rapidly developing retail area near the Kansas Speedway."

This is the real crux of the matter. The "smart growth" policies of the you-know-who have left Lawrence behind in the dust. It is not about a simple library, and it never was. Some felt there would be easier passage into our almost depleted pockets by billing it as a library, using the "it's for the kids" trite line. It is not for the kids, it is for Compton and his ilk, as well as for the survival of downtown. Lawrence will NEVER be able to compete with the Plaza or WyCo, and it is absurd for these developers and the city commission to believe that we are so gullible. There are very few places in KC that can even compete with the Legends, racetrack, etc.

If it really was about a library, the placement would be an additional library where the population is, and would benefit the population which pays the majority of taxes in this town.

Maybe y'all could rethink a casino. That is what would draw people to Lawrence.

I vote "none of the above".

Quigebo 9 years, 1 month ago

It is wonderful that, following a story presenting proposals for a new, expanded library, the citizens of Lawrence that are most in need of the resources and benefits of a new hub for intellectual stimulation and enrichment have saddled up to their keyboards and inadvertently provide the justification for raising the level of knowledge and culture in or fair city. Thanks folks, keep up the good work.

Chris Tackett 9 years, 1 month ago

marion, you're use of all caps has made me see the light! i am now in complete agreement with you. mighty caps!

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago

tony88 I agree. I would just like to see people be proactive instead of reactive. That's the Lawrence I know. I think it's unfair to label growth as for the worse in town. Lawrence needs to have more of a name than "university town" and take the lead from places like Madison, WI. Grow smart.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! I don't want or need any of the massive developments that are being proposed, and I certainly don't want to pay for them, or help subsidize developers who will make a fortune from them. Lawrence needs to decide what kind of city it wants to be, and I would propose that it decide to be a functional small city. It has become a city, rather than a town, since I moved here, and there have been benefits and drawbacks because of that. There are certainly other ways to go, such as annexes, that would increase library space and holdings without spending a fortune on development. I like the idea of the city taking Abe and Jake's back and using it for an annex! Isn't the current proprietor breaking a law by requiring all who attend to show college ID's? Sounds like discrimination to me, on city-owned property.

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago

Parking cost is your biggest concern? Then ride your bike! Or walk! I'm really baffled by this example.

Liberty 9 years, 1 month ago

I wonder how far Lawrence will sink in tax poverty, before the people of Lawrence find a backbone and stand up?

bigreed 9 years, 1 month ago

Why would the journal-world want Abe and Jake's Landing out of the riverfront parking lot? Perhaps there's no way the city would take their riverfront library idea with A&Js next door. This should make us all feel dirty.

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago


Thanks for your nasty and insulting response instead of explaining your statistics in the first place. It's people like you who throw numbers around without explaining them that make poor cases. And actually, biking to work is a highly practical alternative, especially in a middle-sized city like Lawrence. I'm not sure how the rest of the world has managed to get by without cars... even in areas that lack public transportation...

You know, you could present some valid points if you could only work on your presentation. Thanks for the information. I will attempt to synthesize it myself.

Cheers, 612W

sixtwelvewest 9 years, 1 month ago


I didn't remove your post. I don't discuss like that. You're a feisty b*tch! I admire your tenacity.

Kisses, 612W

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

They'll probably try to push this through before July 2007 (that's when the new restrictions on eminent domain go into effect) so they can condemn the property they want for this taxpayer subsidized, private enrichment scheme.

Talk about taxing the poor to benefit the rich!

noodle 9 years, 1 month ago

I like the 2nd plan the best. I think everyone is anti Doug Compton but the plan looks nice and I think it would fit Lawrence well. If these are our choices Doug Compton gets my vote this time.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

The families that are competing to benefit from this project should form a not-for-profit organization to raise the money. Each family should chip in a minimum of $10,000,000 seed money. Then the public can contribute as they see fit.

Otherwise, the way I calculate it, every man, woman. student and child in Lawrence will be forced to contribute $500 to make this scheme work.

betti81 9 years, 1 month ago

If a city is not growing, it is dying.

Jamesaust 9 years, 1 month ago

Well, these are very interesting proposals. And it is nice to dream sometimes.

When the City Commission is ready to come back to reality they seem to have two choices before them. Either:

A) build a much smaller (a/k/a, cheaper) library downtown - a pale imitation of the proposals here, or

B) build on a much larger scale elsewhere in the city - something more geographically central, and finance a significant portion of the project by selling the very pricey land under the current libary site downtown.

Government is about making choices - not dreaming.

vivid_scene 9 years, 1 month ago

Dear Journal World: Please exhibit some journalistic integrity and re-run this article with all viable options.

Where is a picture of what a renovation of the current library would look like? And how much would that renovation cost? And why was that not one of the voting options?

It seems to me that a significant number of lawrence residents would like to see that information included in this "article"...or, more appropiately titled, the "developers' press releases".

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

Hi, all --

As Library Director, I thought I would jump in the conversation in order to point out a few things.

Library standards and comparisons (state and national) indicate strongly that the Lawrence Public Library has fallen behind peer communities in terms of its library facility and services. Please see the consultant's study (link from the library website - for a thorough discussion.

The article in today's LJW and describes the four proposals that were recently put forth by developer interests in Lawrence. The article provides an excellent summary -- as far as it goes. What the article doesn't make clear is that there is a fifth option: expanding the library in its current location.

That fifth option treats the library expansion as a project unto itself, without ancillary private developments. In other words, the fifth option focuses solely on the library, and would be a wholly publicly funded option. That option will be presented, along with the developer-based options, at a public meeting at City Hall this coming week.

I hasten to add that an expansion on the current site will not necessarily come with a smaller price tag. Constructing a library facility that meets library standards for a community of 85,000+ population, which will continue to steadily grow in the coming decades, will come with a substantial cost.

All kinds of cost figures are swirling around, and one of our important near-term tasks will be to sort out, for all five options, what portion of the proposal is privately funded and what portion is publicly funded. We also need to determine that all five options are including the same things in their cost analysis so we can make a truly accurate and informed financial comparison. (Finances are not the only factor, of course. The evaluation team assigned with a review of these proposals will also assist the City Commission by identifying the pros and cons for each option as regards the library building's quality and functionality.)

Is adequate library service for all of our citizens a priority in our community? I certainly hope so, and have seen highly successful library expansion projects come to fruition in nearby communities, including Manhattan, KS, Topeka, KS, Columbia, MO, Springfield, MO and Fayetteville, AR.

Of course I'm biased, but I hope that an expansion / enhancement of the library's aging, 34-year-old library building, and a reasoned solution to address the library's woeful parking situation, will be endorsed by the citizenry as an investment in our community's future.

Thanks for reading,

Bruce Flanders

Hi_Jinks 9 years, 1 month ago


I don't necessarily mind having a new multi-million dollar library. You're right! The one we have is rather small. It was a nice library back in the 70's and 80's.....but it's been pretty much an outdated facility for quite a while now.

Will the new library have a coffee shop? Will the new library have dozens of cameras/monitors to "keep an eye on things" (like Topeka has). I don't know how many people here have been to the Topeka library, but that library has more cameras in it than Fort Knox (or a giant Wal*Mart, for that matter)! Whenever I go there, in some ways all of them cameras make me feel safer and in some ways all of them cameras make me feel kind of creeped out, you know?

Also, will a new library have shower facilities for the homeless (And I have personally witnessed some homeless men using the men's room as a shower facility, by the way!!)

I just thought I'd ask that last one. I mean, the library is "a home for the homeless" we need to keep them in mind when we build this new library, right?

Thanks, Bruce!

melonious81 9 years, 1 month ago

Whatever happened to renovating rather than wasting more and more of our precious natural resources for something we don't even need. There are plenty of retail spaces available on Massachuesetts Street for more shops if we need them. No one wants Lawrence, KS to be like the Kansas Speedway. People actually live in Lawrence unlike the speedway area. Except there is probably a significant number of Lawrence residents who would love to have the entertainment options available at the speedway readily available within the city limits of Lawrence. How else could the popularity of the chain restaurants out near wallmart be explained?

On the other hand if we were going to spend all that money for a new library I would hope that it could be an architectural attraction unlike the sketches shown the article. Here is a perfect example:

Lawrence doesn't need that, but at least it looks better than the options presented.

monkeyhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

The city needs to demostrate to us that it can handle the mundane job of maintaining our infrastructure before many of us are willing to fund pipedreams. Why isn't there ever a poll asking the taxpayers what they would like to see prioritized? It is so easy for the renters and transients to say "yeah, give it to us". There are some serious problems here, and all you pollyannas with visions of utopia need to come back to reality. I will not vote to spend my hard earned dollars to subsidize private ventures or unnecessary tax drains, such as has been exhibited by Eagle Bend, the T, etc.

opnmynd 9 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Mr. Flanders for the first truly informed comments. In reading the above comments, it appears that very few have actually read the developer proposals, each of which is posted on this site as well as the library site. Whatever happened to folks getting the facts before shooting their mouths off? I've taken time to read through each and discovered that these proposal are just that - PROPOSALS! Maybe a better term for the grassroots coallition is IDEAS! What ever happened to folks open-mindedly concidering the IDEAS of others? Anybody ever wonder why our library serves so few? Is it possible that a better library would attract more users? For those of you chained to your PC, you can have your virtual library; I myself prefer the cultural/community ambiance of a true bricks and morter library building. Let's remember we're voting for a possible SITE for the library, not the actual structures pictured above. They are merely CONCEPTS to show POSSIBILITIES. Nothing to fear...just IDEAS.

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

In response to the questions from Hi_Jinks:

Coffee shop at the expanded library. A coffee shop is not a requirement for a new public library, but it almost seems like it is when you look around the country at new library facilities! Since the new library will be located in downtown Lawrence, which already has a number of great coffee shops, the need seems less strong to me... Nevertheless, books, reading and coffee seem to go together, and it seems likely to me that at least a coffee cart or similar amenity should be planned in the expanded library facility.

Security cameras. I've never seen another public library that has anywhere near the number of security cameras that are found at the Topeka library (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library). Security cameras can be helpful, and I have heard stories from Topeka about how they have thwarted crimes (thefts, etc.). I think the new Lawrence library will have some combination of security guards and security cameras, but I don't think we'll do anything like Topeka has done... Nevertheless, increased security of the library as a public building will need to be an issue. Hope we can do it without seeming Big Brother-ish.

Showers for homeless people. No, that's definitely not in the plans. The library is a public place serving everyone in the community, but the library has no plans to specifically provide service to homeless persons. There are other organizations and facilities (and plans on the horizon for even better facilities) to provide this important service. I would also note that librarians can't tell if a person is homeless (or not) just by their appearance. The library operates on that principle. We strive to provide helpful, friendly library service to everyone...

Thanks for the great comments!

Bruce Flanders

common_cents 9 years, 1 month ago

I thought we were building a library?

I don't think any of those plans just builds a library, or just builds a library and parking facilities.

How about we see a plan for JUST a library?

Personally, I don't fancy putting up money for someone else's pet project. Instead of making a large retail/condo/library plan, how about showing us what we wanted to see?

THEN, put a price tag on that particular portion..... let the developers go make new retail or living spaces on their own dime.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

Will the 2 year moritorium and a $250k prior to approval per the new building code apply to this development proposal as it does to all other downtown proposals? Probably not since the rainmakers have proposed this one. Folks, there is something seriously wrong when a City Commission places a 2 year moritorium restrictions on private development, but are not held to the same standards as the general else. This smells, and it smells really bad.

Final thought on this: isn't it ironic the Commission is trying to figure out who to give the Carniege building away to, the old fire station, etc, and yet they dial the taxpayers up for a 30-50 million dollar tab like its ordering a combo burrito off of the Taco Bell value menu. There must be a special ingredient in those brownies being passed around at the secret city commision meetings.

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

In a post, above, "enforcer" notes that an alternate approach could be taken; that of a main / central library downtown with one or more branch libraries.

That was actually the Library Board's original approach to expanding library service, with basic plans in place as early as 1998. Our thought was that we would initially lease an existing storefront space for a single 10-15,000 sf "satellite" library facility, and operate a small library with a high circulation, high demand collection and Internet access for a few years to see how it would be received by the community. Such a space would have been leased with a short-term commitment so we could "pull up stakes" without too fuss in the event the service was not successful. (Hard to imagine that it wouldn't be, though...) Additional "satellite" locations could have then been developed over time to provide geographic coverage throughout the community.

At any rate, the City Commission redirected the Library Board's thinking to a larger central library, and we have been on that path since. The motivation behind this was to keep expanded library service in downtown Lawrence, since the Library serves as an important "anchor" for a strong and healthy central business district.

Neither plan is "right" or "wrong" - they are just different approaches to providing community library service. Topeka uses the central library model; many other communities, such as Johnson County, Olathe and Wichita have branches.

If a central library model is used, it really has to be a "destination" that attracts people from throughout the community - even those who literally have to drive 3-5 miles (still within the City limits) to get to downtown Lawrence, since downtown Lawrence is located in the northeast corner of the City.

Bruce Flanders

Fatty_McButterpants 9 years, 1 month ago

Enforcer: I understand what you are trying to get at, but your facts are incorrect. The city is closer to 89,000 PERMANENT residents. If you include the students it takes the city's population closer to 120,000 people.

lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

dear mr. flanders, thanks for your responses. i have one question: how many people are projected to use this $30,000,000 library on a daily basis?

lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

...and fatter mcbutterpants, the 2000 census took into account the KU students. so enforcer is correct.

formerlyKS 9 years, 1 month ago

Actually, the census put the 2005 Lawrence population at only 81,000 people (barely higher than 2000's population) and that actually includes some students who claimed Lawrence as their home during the last census. I'm not sure that a community as small as Lawrence can support such a library.

Look at Topeka: the county has over 170,000 residents and almost 3 times the sales tax revenue generated than Lawrence. I don't think Lawrence can support such a measure.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

I like the 9th and New Hampshire location but I must say designs do seem to be a bit extravagant.

Compete with the Plaza?? What's up with that?

jhawk_pirate 9 years, 1 month ago

laptop computer: $1,000

internet connection: $30

4 building plans for new library: $40,000 (approx)

visit LJW online and read angry citizen comments: PRICELESS !!!

formerlyKS 9 years, 1 month ago

Actually, what surprised me the most in the last census estimate was that Topeka was growing faster than Lawrence. Just think if T-town were actually to start annexing its surrounding bergs, like Lake Shawnee, Sherwood, Seaman, etc., it would have somewhere near 160,000 people; quite a difference compared to Lawrence's 81,000 which actually includes perhaps 25-35% of students.

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

In a comment above, "opnmynd" makes a number of good comments. I wanted to respond to just one point that s/he makes -- "Anybody wonder why our library serves so few?"

Just a few statistics (my apologies for seeming defensive - I do really agree with the observation that more people could be served by the library): our library circulation has hit new record levels every year for the last 8 years, and will likely hit 1 MILLION items circulated this year. Our gate counts are over 480,000 people per year, which makes us the busiest public venue in Lawrence, and over 2/3rds of Lawrencians have library cards.

In essence, through efficient operation and the hard work of our great staff, we are squeezing every last drop of use out of our limited library facility.


Based on the experience of libraries in other communities when the library facility and services have been expanded and enhanced, we should see a significant, immediate and then continuing increase in usage statistics -- an increase that will make our current achievements pale by comparison. We're doing well in community usage now - and the experience of other communities strongly indicates that usage will jump off the charts in an enhanced facility!

Ultimately, I don't personally care which (if any) of the currently proposed options are adopted by the community. I DO care -- deeply -- about providing better library service to our community. A basic tenet of librarianship: "Libraries are for use." An enhanced facility and expanded collections / technology / programs and services will allow the Lawrence Public Library to provide better library service to everyone in the community - and, to increase the use of those services. That's a worthy goal...

Bruce Flanders

monkeyhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like the sales pitch for Science City.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

Forget the food service stuff and allow the local shops to carry on. Food service is expensive to maintain. Put that money into even more children's reading and activities.

princess 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow. All these plans suck. I mean really, really, really suck. They are over the top and not at all veiled attempts to use public funds to create opportunity for gains for developers in the area. This is suppose to be for a library. JUST a library. And the people of Lawrence aren't even fully convinced that $30MM in tax dollars should be spent on that project. Now these people have the nerve to put these proposals out?!

A city that grows too quickly and with poor planning also dies. It implodes.

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

There was a question from "hugs_and_kisses" regarding computer access in the expanded library. One of the major concerns about the current library is that there are only 35 Internet access terminals in the library. The expanded library would have room for 150 workstations, or more, which is a more appropriate number for a community of our size. Public access to Internet, online database and Office application software is a significant service that public libraries provide, and we could do a better job of providing that service in an expanded facility.

A side benefit of expanding access to public computers in the library would be that we could liberalize the current PC reservation system. That system was put in place to control access to this very limited resource (some patrons were getting online first thing in the morning, and staying online throughout most of the day, thus tying up access to computer resources that were very limited to begin with). Librarians are all about opening up access rather than controlling access, so providing a more adequate number of computers in a larger facility would allow us to be more open and less rule bound regarding access to public computers.

Bruce Flanders

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

Jumping into this discussion has almost turned into a full time job for me today (grin). That's good, though -- I enjoy the give and take -- and the opportunity to chat with folks about the library...

"lunacydetector" (love that name) asked, "thanks for your responses. i have one question: how many people are projected to use this $30,000,000 library on a daily basis?"

I'll try to answer your question as directly as possible: based on a current annual gate count of 480,000 per year, and the library being open approx. 350 days per year (an achievement in itself), that's around 1,370 guests per day. (We call library guests "patrons." Other libraries call them "customers." Take your pick.)

The experience of other libraries indicates an increase in usage of around 25 percent in the first year, and an increase of 50 percent or more in the first five years of service in a new or significantly expanded library facility that better meets the community's needs. Thus, I'd estimate our gate count will go up to around 1,700 persons per day (average) in the first year of service in the new building, and 2,200 or more within five years. (2,200 per day x 350 days = 770,000 user visits per year!)

I see no reason for these indicators to play out any differently in Lawrence; my experience and observations tell me there is pent up demand for a larger collection / more computers / more services at the Lawrence Public Library.

Hope this help!?

Bruce Flanders

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

Bruce, I don't think any of us on here concerned about the cost of the proposed library is opposed to having a library or the service it provides.

Here's the jist of what we are concerned about. You cited the need for 150 computer terminals for a community our size. If you divide 150 computer terminals by the 30 million dollar price, that's $200,000 per computer. At 50 million the average is $333,333 per computer. That's one heck of Dell. At 30-50 million bucks, there is literally enough money to buy every resident in Lawrence a new personal computer and pay or subsidize internet access to there home.

There has to be a better justification of a library of this size and of this cost in proportion to ability of the taxpayers ability in this community to come up these figures than $200,000 - $333,333 per computer. But, Dude, your getting a Dell so everything is going to be ok.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

good point macon47, and at $200,000 - $333,000 per computer terminal, this project is the epitome of supreme government waste.

formerlyKS 9 years, 1 month ago

Substantially higher property taxes will effectively serve as another reason not to move to Lawrence. This in turn induces a viscous cycle: property values already high compared to the rest of the state, property taxes are higher, so population growth becomes less or stagnant. This in turn generates the need for yet higher taxes as there are fewer new residents to spread debt servicing over and as infrastructure gradually needs replacement; with the already low incomes from Lawrence jobs and the need for people to commute to Topeka or KC for jobs (and the resulting expenditures for car care, gas, etc.), it is conceivable that people may eventually choose to live closer to their jobs in said cities rather than deal with all the high costs associated with a move to Larry.

common_cents 9 years, 1 month ago

JUST a library!

(Saying it one more time for emphasis)

Take out all the retail and condo space which forwards the developers' agendas and I'll take a more serious look.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

tony88, the concern you expressed is a nice paraphrase of what I said. Thanks for clarifying.

xenophonschild 9 years, 1 month ago

How do we contest these developments? Demonstrations at city hall? Signs and pickets? Petitions? Let's get off our behinds and put our beliefs on the line. If you agree that this new library proposal is wrong, let's let the powers that be know it. Let's demonstrate. We can raise enough hell to let the Frizel people, and their toadies on the city commission, know that we're not going along with their nonsense. How about it?

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

Rationalanimal - Of course, if this was only about new computer terminals, there is no need for an expanded library facility and the request would be silly. (Worse than silly -- it would be irresponsible.)

But, expanded access to computer technology is just one of MANY issues relating to the library expansion. I'd suggest linking to the library website ( to learn more about ALL of the reasons why a library expansion makes sense for our community.


Bruce Flanders

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

Bruce, once again, I'm not disputing the worthiness of a community library and the services it provides. But, a 30-50 million price tag to keep up with the Jones (a/k/a Topeka and Johnson County) is not only wasteful, but a gross missappropriation of taxpayer funds. Such a price tag is a heavy burden to strap to the backs of the taxpayers, consumers, and property owners in Lawrence. Extravagence just isn't the same as providing library services. These plans are calling for coffee shops, homeless shelters, mega-plaza's, etc, etc. If anybody is off the issue here about providing library services, its not me.

grace 9 years, 1 month ago

First of all, I don't think it is very kind for the people posting on this site to direct sarcastic, caustic comments at the library director. He doesn't have to engage in this conversation. I personally have found his comments to be much more illuminating than any others today.

I agree that the cost seems really high. However, I will say that the experiences that my 2 1/2 year old daughter has had at the library have been really formative. We have been using the library and enjoying their programming several times per week since she was probably 8 months old. I am so grateful for the library! At the same time, I think it would be phenomenal to enhance the library where it is and to make it appealing to a wider range of people.

A lot of people are complaining that a new library downtown would just make Lawrence more like a big city. I actually think that a bigger, better library downtown would increase the great sense of community that Lawrence already has! Well, of course that means you have to detach yourself from the lure of the computer screen and actually go downtown.

Kookamooka 9 years, 1 month ago

Most of these plans were designed KNOWING full well that they would be whittled away.

I'm most impressed with the Riverfront concept because it is 1. reusing what we have 2. trying to embrace the historical attributes of the buildings 3. emphasizing the need for energy efficiency (right by the Dam) and green building design. Including gardens and greenspaces. and 4. nestling itself into downtown and revitalizing space currently being used up by inefficient parking lots.

I'm all for tearing up a parking lot to put in a park! Kudos to the design team.

There is no better way to greet people crossing the Kaw Bridge than by seeing a beautiful, welcoming Library. It says..."we are a community of learners!" I like that.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 1 month ago

grace, no one has called Bruce Cain, of course we appreciate him spending time on this forum. But, when you're talking about spending 30-50 million dollars of taxpayer money, you better be able to answer tough questions. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

opnmynd 9 years, 1 month ago

I like the Riverfront concept, however, it seems to me to be one of the least energy or cost effective solution to me. As I understand it, the Riverfront proposal has a whopping price tag of $75,000,000 for the library alone. And if you read the fine print you'll learn that the current physical structure doesn't not meet the library consultant's program structural requirements and thus will require substantial re-engineering to make it usable, much less "reusable."

princess 9 years, 1 month ago


Not to mention these fines points in the Riverfront plan:

¢ The current 100-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott would move out of the former mall building to make room for the library. A new 160-room Marriott hotel would be built on the east side of the 600 block of New Hampshire Street on property adjacent to the former Reuter Organ building. The hotel would have about 10,000 square feet of convention space.

¢ Also in the 600 block of New Hampshire Street, 40,000 square feet of new retail space - including a remodeling of the Reuter building - would be constructed. Also, 52 condos would be built near Seventh and New Hampshire streets. Sunflower Broadband offices also would move out of the former mall building into new space in the 600 block.

....that is a lot of space.

bflanders 9 years, 1 month ago

Responding to macon47 and the question, "what can i find on your webiste that i cannot find anywhere else on the internet?"

I'm not sure what you are referring to -- information about the library expansion project or the entire website itself? If the latter, you will find quite a number of features (many interactive) that relate to the services of the library. The library events calendar is very useful. Plus, access to the library's catalog, and the ability to place reserves on materials and renew materials online. And, perhaps most significantly, access to licensed databases unavailable on the Internet at large. Reference databases of immense research value, available 24/7 at no cost to all with a library borrower's card. I'd also note the downloadable audio books and ebooks.

Hope I was on target with my answer. Thanks,

Bruce Flanders

cowboy 9 years, 1 month ago

Im a builder , I make a living building...but this is a big salivating developer driven , bank driven , we cant build houses so we'll build the biggest damn library driven , beaurocrat driven , pile of rubbish I 've seen come along in a long time piled into the most congested area of town where it will be a silent shell after 8pm every day. Can you hear the wind howl thru downtown ?

If the devo community want to have a building orgasm why noy buy up the student ghetto and most of New York and New Jersey street and have at it. Most of these houses have crumbling foundations , mold , non code electrical and plumbing and slimy landlords. Cure two problems at once.

gccs14r 9 years, 1 month ago

Putting a library next to a meandering stream is a fool's errand. The mall has already been flooded once, so what's to keep it from flooding after making it a library? Sounds like the World Company wants to dump a bad investment.

I noticed that the fifth proposal, expand on the existing site, wasn't one of the choices in the poll. To the extent that we'll still need libraries in 50 years, I say err on the side of economy and practicality. Expand the current library if we must, but do it as inexpensively as possible with the least destruction of existing homes, businesses, and parks.

flutter 9 years, 1 month ago

These monstrosities are simply ridiculous. Lawrence is not Kansas City. Why do some individuals so greatly want us to become Kansas City??? Downtown Lawrence will never, and should never, rival The Country Club Plaza. Several people live here, myself included, precisely because it is not a huge city like Kansas City. I truly do not believe that a larger library is the answer. Quite frankly, were a behemouth like any of these proposed here were built, it would make me want to spend LESS time downtown.

Maybe more people would use the library if there were more conveniently located branches. Also, more user needs might be met with this option. Instead of mashing all of the holdings into one monstrous eyesore located in a non-central part of the city, perhaps city officials and developers should look into building branches throughout town. That way, accessing the library would be more convenient for everyone.

Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 1 month ago

It appears to me, on the surface, that many of us here are falling into the trap of criticizing the Public Library for whatever failure we perceive it has achieved in providing public services. (Those of us that are doing so are wrong, IMO.) Assuming that is indeed the case, the solution is clearly to provide the Library with the resources it needs to offer relevant services. On the other hand, if we believe that a democratic society founded on democratic principles requires citizens to have access to information, literature, and the arts, then again, the Library needs resources to offer those services. Either way--the only argument I can see for not supporting this expansion of the Library is that we, as a community, decide that we do not care for our citizens to have access to the services a Public Library offers. And when we make that decision, our Founding Fathers will roll over in their graves.

princess 9 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, the overall point seems to be that we are all into the idea of expanding and improving the library. We are simply being reasonable about it. Not one of the four plans presented in this article is a reasonable solution. Not for the library and not for the Lawrence tax payers.

paladin 9 years, 1 month ago

So, am I to understand that if I oppose the raping of the public by Big Money, wearing the mask of benefit to the public, in the guise of a wonderful library, which is good in and of itself, that I am being unpatriotic? Seems like I've heard that false argument before. It seems that the library itself is being used as a device to enable a few wealthy people to become wealthier, at the expense of the tax payer. An old and familiar scenario, but an all too common one in America today. These are the people who are robbing us and who are rapidly destroying The America, of the people, that we, the people, have known and loved. And fought and died for. And paid for. Just who is it who is unpatriotic?

bangaranggerg 9 years, 1 month ago

comptons plans suck, easily the poorest.

formerlyKS 9 years, 1 month ago


that is the one from Stevenson, right?? Been a while since I last saw his name. Are the credit card applications still showing up?

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

Since all of these plans contain commerial and residential does that mean the taxpayers get a new library without tax dollars or is this a shot of corporate welfare form us the good citizens?

We need a very clear and concise explanation.

anonimiss 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for your input Bruce.

Nearly everybody comes across a time in their life when they don't have enough money. Welcome to life. It happens. Lawrence, you don't have enough money for sewer upgrades, decent pay for schoolteachers, school building upgrades, fixing bad roads, replacing worse roads, adding a new wastewater treatment plant, supporting a failing golf course, subsidizing bioscience businesses, fighting Wal-Mart, beautifying downtown, adding sports complexes, building a new library, adding roundabouts, donating land to developers, building a new firestation, and conducting studies on every problem that arises.

Everyone has their price. If something doesn't get cut, or if it's not the right thing, people will start leaving. The growth as already stopped.

If this project goes through without better pay for schools, roadwork, and sewers, than the exodus will start.

Baille 9 years, 1 month ago

Riverfront Mall.

Overpass at 900 NH is too much. Neat. but out of place.

Fritzel. Eh.

Just say "no" to Compton.

Plus a library on the river would be sweet. I like the aesthetics of the plan as well as the functionality. It would make a great northern anchor for downtown.

anonimiss 9 years, 1 month ago

From US Census Bureau:

Lawrence Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 2.5% Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 21.4%

Leawood Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 4.5% Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 40.5%

Lenexa Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 4.4%
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 17.5%

Olathe Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 13.2%
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 46.5%

Overland Park Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 7.3%
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 33.3%

Shawnee Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 12.7%
opulation, percent change, 1990 to 2000 26.7%

I don't think Lawrence can keep up the way it used to be able to.

anonimiss 9 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 2.5%=0.8% per year Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 21.4%=2.1% per year Median household income, 1999 $34,669 Retail sales per capita, 1997 $9,617 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $118,400

Leawood Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 4.5%=1.5% per year Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 40.5%=4.1% per year Per capita money income, 1999 $49,139 Retail sales per capita, 1997 $7,898 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $274,900

Lenexa Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 4.4%=1.5% per year Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 17.5%=1.8% per year Per capita money income, 1999 $30,212 Retail sales per capita, 1997 $16,675 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $156,800

Olathe Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 13.2%=4.4% per year Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 46.5%=4.7% per year Per capita money income, 1999 $24,498 Retail sales per capita, 1997 $13,471 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $139,500

Overland Park Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 7.3%=2.4% per year Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 33.3%=3.3% per year Per capita money income, 1999 $32,069 Retail sales per capita, 1997 $16,375 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $162,800

Shawnee Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 12.7%=4.2% per year opulation, percent change, 1990 to 2000 26.7%=2.7% per year Per capita money income, 1999 $28,142 Retail sales per capita, 1997 $10,413 Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $141,700

Let's see if I got this right: Lawrence isn't growing as much as other areas. It doesn't have the sheer numbers of population to support spending like larger cities. The money that is being made is being spent elsewhere. Homes aren't worth that much. So where is all of this money that the city is spending coming from?

Kookamooka 9 years, 1 month ago

I used to think Lawrence was the one city in Kansas that cared about education and culture. The new library would stand for our commitment to knowledge and free thinking. To read the'd think we lived in "po-dunk, close-minded, don't care a darn about your high faluttin edumacation" back water. It IS the end of the American "civilization".

gccs14r 9 years, 1 month ago

If it weren't for PLC, we wouldn't be talking about this, because the Commission would have just rubber-stamped whatever Compton wanted to do.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

With all due respect to Mr. Flanders and his thoughtful comments, annexes are clearly a better solution to this problem than expanding the current library or building a new one. The city appears to have a number of buildings which could be used as annexes, which could be used for specific purposes. For example, non-circulating options such as computer use, reference, non-circulating periodicals, etc. Some of these building are downtown, and would not be that far from the current library. The price tag of any of the existing proposals, including expanding the existing library, is clearly way too high for most taxpayers/property owners. In addition, I don't see why we have to continue expanding our computer use, for example. I have never had to wait to use a computer at the library. Also, I am not at all interested in competing with Topeka's library system or having a "destination" library. Why can't we simply make Lawrence a functional small city that serves the population well (maintain city infrastructure, keep the streets safe, deal with the homeless issue, etc.)?

Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 1 month ago

tony88 wrote: "If you are not aware, every one of these proposals tacks on developer driven private interest to the library proposal. Are you saying that one's not wanting to subsidize a developer's investment means that one does not want to support the library. Read the (not so) fine print, buddy."

Which certainly puts me in MY place. Good job, tony88, your demeaning tone has really helped matters.

Check out some other posts: among others, at 5:52 am on May 9, enforcer wrote: "This community does not need a super plaza/Library." At 7:45 am average wrote: "A fancy new building gives me, a library patron who checks out books, nothing. Not a single book. It gives those who spend 8+ hours a day there (employees and homeless) fancy digs." At 7:46 am Sigmund wrote: "Lawrence does NOT need a $30,000,000 library." At 9:19 am macon47 wrote: "what can i access on the library website that i cant find anywhere else[?] what use is it?" At 9:27 am cellogirl wrote: "I think that we need a far more downscaled version of the library. None of these proposals seems to fit the personality of Lawrence at all."

Which all sound to my e-ears like arguments against increasing support for the library. My apologies to those whose e-writings I may have inadvertently misinterpreted.

Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 1 month ago

paladin wrote: "So, am I to understand that if I oppose the raping of the public by Big Money, wearing the mask of benefit to the public, in the guise of a wonderful library, which is good in and of itself, that I am being unpatriotic? Seems like I've heard that false argument before. It seems that the library itself is being used as a device to enable a few wealthy people to become wealthier, at the expense of the tax payer. An old and familiar scenario, but an all too common one in America today. These are the people who are robbing us and who are rapidly destroying The America, of the people, that we, the people, have known and loved. And fought and died for. And paid for. Just who is it who is unpatriotic?"

Ummmm...I'm not sure where patriotism and fighting and dying comes into this conversation. My point was a societal one, not a political one. One of the primary ideas underlying our society is that, for a democratic republic to succeed, its citizens need access to ideas. The Founding Fathers' solution was the public library system. Ben Franklin and the Junto were involved in creating the first public lending library.

I believe this entire conversation puts the proverbial cart before its presupposed horse. Our focus should be on those services we expect our public library to offer; those services that be nice if they could offer; and those services unnecessary to us as a community?

And of course it's appropriate to expect that the developers will make a reasonable profit without engaging in unethical practices. Thats why these things have oversight and audits. That said, it is appropriate for concerned individuals to examine the public record to ensure that the city's contribution is commensurate to what the city anticipates receiving.

justnew 9 years, 1 month ago

I really, really hope that the citizens of Lawrence will pull themselves together and FUND this new library! The library is a true reflection of a community. I've lived in smaller cities with better libraries. If we are such a "progressive place" then why is it a problem to fund a place where the free exchange of ideas is embraced? C'mon Lawrence!! WAKE-UP! Get behind this extremely cool and past-due idea to update the library. Go to the meetings and ask questions, visit other towns of similar size, etc., if you have a problem with this but please, please, please do not turn off from this idea before considering all the benefits of a library.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

Libraries as we know them are soon a thing of the past. Else, why would the plans for the new library call for a huge expansion of internet services? Investing in this technology is a waste. By the time the new library is completed, the technology will be obsolete.

Expand the library, on a modest basis, to offer more books, not more technology. Techonology is available everywhere. Books are not.

Taxpayer funded libraries should be about books, not about the internet, not about coffee houses, not about convention and meeting space.

Objecting to a cost of $50,000,000 and more is not being anti-library, not anti-learning, it is being anti graft.

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

It looks like it comes down to the following choices:

Do you wish to increase your taxes to support the Fritzel family?

Do you wish to increase your taxes to support the Simons family?

Do you wish to increase your taxes to support the Compton family?

Do you wish to pump more tax dollars into "anchoring" the downtown sinkhole of money?

Besides, if something changes in the future where the library doesn't need such a large facility, the city can give it to some select few for helping out private business.

Whatever happened to the branch library idea? Because it does not put large amounts of money into the pockets of the select few?

Looks like someone could spin this into a discrimination theme. Everyone will have to pay the same amount, but only a few will have easy access. How does a downtown library help someone in west or south Lawrence? Why should they pay extra when it is not much benefit to them? How will it help someone in these "subdivision islands" in rural douglas county? Will there be free parking, or is that just another money-making perk?

I liked the library pictures with the palm trees. We could have palm trees transplanted each year. Why not? It's your tax dollars and all they have to do is increase them. Lawrence deserves it. It could put Lawrence on the map. It can conteract those "small mindedness assumptions". Maybe we can help support the Palmtrees-R-Us family.

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