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Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Library branches

May 18, 2006

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To the editor:

I read with interest the proposed and costly ideas regarding the expansion of our local public library.

While I appreciate the civic interest by the various local VIP families in this much-needed project, I heartily object to the proposal of deriving private benefit from a public service. I strenuously object to allowing private interests to in any way influence property use of a public entity. The city library must have the ability to remain independent of any attached or contiguous profit-driven commercial tenant/landlord development.

Meanwhile, the city has deemed it inappropriate to consider satellite library branches in Lawrence. In light of the many vacant buildings around town suitable for such conversion, and of the developer's "guess-timate" costs to expand the current site, I would like to see what the projected costs are for purchase and conversion of various vacant properties around town, such as the old Furr's Cafeteria sitting abandoned at 23rd and Iowa Streets, in combination with a more modest expansion proposal of our current site.

Establishing satellite offices has benefited our post office, city and county treasurer's offices, and more. All recognize the viability of building additional schools instead of adding onto existing ones. Why not our library too? Along with the development of a northwest shopping district, why not include a satellite library branch as well?

Deborah Snyder,

Lawrence

Comments

lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

no bozo, i lived here when those things happened. i just have a good memory. the kooks were in love with both proposals.

as for tony88, there was an article in the JW about this very issue a few years back regarding where the most sales taxes/property taxes generated. i'll do some research finding a link when i get more time.

i don't think any downward trend was a result of new development. i am trying to recall a recent retail development within the past five years - other than the hobb's taylor loft shops downtown.

traffic counts on mass are far lower than on iowa, 6th, and 23rd. it is safe to assume that retail sales will be much lower - i will have to find that story as proof.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

"another disaster was the riverfront mall - which was supported by the 'no growthers.' it was a dismal failure - as well as the tanger outlet mall - another development supported by the 'no growthers.'"

Jeez, luny, you've reached a new level of newspeak/gobbeldyguk.

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monkeyhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Tony88 wrote:

In the case of the separate taxing districts, could downtown's tax revenue be withheld from being used for improvements for all the other districts and suburban developments (water/sewer lines, 4 lane roads, power lines, etc.)

I would take that deal, where do I sign up?

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tony88 7 years, 11 months ago

another issue, that is not as directly related, is that such a great percentage of lawrence residents work in kansas city and topeka. this could contribute significantly to the numbers your study cites that indicate the city's loss in both buying power and pull factor. perhaps they live here because it cost's less than kansas city. but by working in kansas city on a daily basis, they are diverting a large percentage of the non-retail buying power that their occupations generate to another city. also, during their stay in kansas city they may buy food, goods for work (particularly in the case of builders who live in lawrence but buy building supplies in kansas city for houses they are building in kansas city), gas, etc. and on a less logical note, i have a feeling that this type of lawrence resident is less inclined to have the "support local business" ideal than one who lives and works in downtown. in essence, what i'm saying here is that the study does not take into account that a large percentage of the population upon which the study is based are not "full-time residents of lawrence", but they must be counted in the study because they live here.

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tony88 7 years, 11 months ago

moreover, this downward trend in lawrence's retail sales growth has increased as more developments have sprung up in the past several years. this actually supports to a certain extent the study that i had linked to previously. unless i'm reading that incorrectly. what do you think?

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tony88 7 years, 11 months ago

lunacy, what is the sales tax revenue per square foot of retail space in downtown vs the south iowa district? the study that you linked to a couple days ago does not address this issue. it simply states that more square footage of retail space exists in the south iowa district. i wish they had analyzed this revenue/sq. ft. relationship. although downtown may have a higher percentage of vacancy, i would wager that it is still a much higher ratio of retail space per area of land used. this is why i want to see numbers on the rate of revenue per sq. ft. in various districts of town.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

i totally agree about the satellite libraries. there is a glut of empty offices in lawrence, the city should try to help. there are some people that took some huge risks and they have been paying dearly for years now. i'm surprised at the city.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

...and tony88, infrastructure costs to repair or replace are much higher in a high density older area like the downtown. imagine how horrrible downtown would be if the other commercial areas in town didn't support the downtown by their large sales/property tax revenues, because it is quite obvious, downtown cannot support itself.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

if you look at how much revenue is generated by other commercial areas like 23rd street, iowa street, & 6th street, - you will find that downtown lawrence contributes the least amount in sales taxes and property taxes. it pales in comparision.

so, downtown as it stands today has many vacant spaces - when compared to other parts of lawrence that has little or no vacancies. this is a direct result on the 'no growth' policy implimented by the city. the direct result of the 'no growth' policies drove up the rent prices and the property taxes increased because of the high rent rates downtown.

downtown does not get near the traffic of the other retail areas of lawrence. there is a correction going on today. though downtown is beautiful, it will be successful as long as a gigantic mall is not built. another disaster was the riverfront mall - which was supported by the 'no growthers.' it was a dismal failure - as well as the tanger outlet mall - another development supported by the 'no growthers.' the people making the decisions do NOT know what they are doing.

there needs to be someone who is visionary leading this city. someone who thinks outside of the box. someone who is NOT divisive. perhaps, someone who actually owns a business would be good. amyx owns a business, so there needs to be others elected that actually have some business savvy.

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tony88 7 years, 11 months ago

Agreed, bozo. I wonder how well west lawrence would be able to sustain itself (roads, services, etc.) without the revenue from the CBD. The shear quantity of infrastructure it takes to sustain such a decentralized population seems like it would cost more per capita than the relatively compact infrastructure it takes to support a centralized population. I really don't know if this is true. Sometimes it seems to be the opposite. Does anyone here know much about this?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

The reason for the focus on maintaining downtown as the main, central business district is relatively simple: Without that focus, it could easily fall into decline and become blighted, which would eventually be far more expensive to the city than preserving and improving this valuable asset.

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tony88 7 years, 11 months ago

Or, i suppose then those particular improvements could rest on the shoulders of those districts.

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tony88 7 years, 11 months ago

In the case of the separate taxing districts, could downtown's tax revenue be withheld from being used for improvements for all the other districts and suburban developments (water/sewer lines, 4 lane roads, power lines, etc.)?

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Confrontation 7 years, 11 months ago

If there were satellite library branches, I could just picture the complaints on this site and elsewhere. "West Lawrence is getting better books in their library branch." "South Lawrence's library has a nicer restroom." "East Lawrence's library is just crappy."

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Pilgrim 7 years, 11 months ago

Posted by gr (anonymous) on May 18, 2006 at 11:12 a.m.

Interesting thought, but could there be two taxing districts - a downtown, and the rest of Lawrence?

I think some places do have multiple taxing districts. How does that come about and what is needed to get it on the ballot?


They could do it now if they wanted. If a project is specifically slated to benefit downtown, just set up a benefit district and let those who will benefit foot the bill. It's done all the time for things like new sidewalks, etc. If they're going to insist on jamming a new library into downtown without any thought of setting up branches in other parts of the city, then a benefit district would be perfect.

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gr 7 years, 11 months ago

"Other Lawrence"

Interesting thought, but could there be two taxing districts - a downtown, and the rest of Lawrence?

I think some places do have multiple taxing districts. How does that come about and what is needed to get it on the ballot? While those in control would not want that, there is a majority of voters not in downtown.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

what's up with Furr's anyway? they had the best Burgers.

yes, this boondoggle will be a major waste of the taxpayer's money...

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monkeyhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Ms. Snyder,

Satellite branches do not benefit downtown. It is all about how to fleece the taxpayer to redevelop downtown, disguised as a library. Why do you think Compton, et. al. own most of downtown now? The people in the "Other Lawrence" are not given any consideration except to collect taxes that fund the city by a much larger percentage than any other area of town.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

A consultant at one of the earlier public meetings regarding satellites stated they are not efficient. However many cities employ them. Lawrence is still a small town but likely could support at least one satellite.

Or perhaps our High School libraries could become managed by our City librarian thus relieving USD 497 of that expense while providing more public choices.

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