- View the Lawrence Parks and Recreation's site diagram
- View the Lawrence Parks and Recreation's preliminary site plan
- View the Lawrence Parks and Recreation's gathering plaza diagram
- Work set to begin at Sesquicentennial Park (03-07-07)
- City may seek historical society grant (02-26-07)
- New park shelter to open in spring (02-14-07)
Construction is under way on one of the biggest birthday presents Lawrence has ever received.
On Sept. 16, residents will be able to celebrate the city's 153rd birthday at a new plaza in southwest Lawrence.
Organizers of the city's sesquicentennial celebration in 2004 helped develop plans for Sesquicentennial Point and hope to turn an empty hill just east of Clinton Lake into a community destination.
"They tried to come up with a project they thought would be here over the long haul. It's something that would kind of denote the history and still be there for the future," said Mark Hecker, parks superintendent for the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department.
There's now a gravel road in place to get to the top of the point, and crews with Lawrence-based B.A. Green Construction Co. are building the project from the top down. At the crest of the hill, they've laid out a circular plaza, which will offer seating and picnic areas.
"The idea is to be a subtle place where you can sit and relax and look out over the valley into the city," Hecker said. "It's a great view. That's the point of it."
A path made of 151 stone steps, one for the each of Lawrence's first 151 years of history, will descend from the plaza. Terraces with stone walls and native grass will mark every 50 steps. The staircase will stop halfway down the hill, at the site where a time capsule was buried in 2004.
"I wish I could be here when the citizens open that vault in 47 years," said Clenece Hills, president of the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission.
Hills led the commission that raised and donated more than $230,000 to fund construction of the park. While this phase of construction will stop at the time capsule, Hills' vision for Sesquicentennial Point goes much further. She hopes one day an amphitheater will be nestled at the base of the hill.
Hecker said the amphitheater is estimated to cost about $1 million and that there's no funding source for it at this point. But Hills hopes Lawrence residents, businesses and organizations will continue to donate to the park and that one may even want to sponsor the amphitheater.
A Sesquicentennial Point dedication ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 16.