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Letters to the Editor

Middle ground

March 12, 2009

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To the editor:

A recent article describes efforts of the DAR Corp. to develop an aircraft factory near the airport. If Lawrence is to land such enterprises, each “side” in the Lawrence development debate may need to recognize a grain of truth in opposing positions. Those against development champion the agricultural heritage of the Kaw valley and some of the best soils anywhere. Those for development cite access to transportation near the airport. Couldn’t these parties find ways to foster productive business while respecting the environment?

Perhaps the various interest groups in Lawrence could forge a superior city by listening to one another rather than obstructing the stated goals of others. Past proposals for engineered wetlands to process sewage in Lawrence were turned down because the scale necessary to process ALL sewage was deemed prohibitive. The middle ground where sewage could be processed to a cost-effective degree before releasing it into engineered wetlands for filtration was not discussed.

One roadblock to development near the airport has been the expense of extending sewer and water to the area. So, how does that compare with the costs of wetlands processing on that scale? Even if the biological treatment were more costly, the subtraction of that burden from treatment facilities could balance the difference. If Lawrence’s local interests could turn from habits of vitriolic ideology, the sky might not be the limit of what could be done.

Chris Hamill,
Baldwin City

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