Archive for Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amyx becomes 4-time mayor

Rob Chestnut completed his year-long run as Lawrence mayor by giving the annual state of the city address. Mike Amyx now takes over, beginning his fourth stint as mayor.

April 14, 2010


Mayor Rob Chestnut's State of the City address

Outgoing Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut delivered the annual State of the City address from City Hall Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

Longtime Lawrence office holder Mike Amyx was elected to a one-year term as mayor Tuesday, and vowed to tackle the longtime struggle to attract a grocery store to North Lawrence.

Amyx, a downtown barbershop owner who has served three previous terms as mayor dating back to 1985, was unanimously selected by his fellow commissioners to the city’s top spot.

He said he would urge commissioners to focus on a list of basic services and priorities, but said he did want a newly created retail task force to pay special attention to the North Lawrence grocery store issue.

“Rather than just paying lip service, I would really like for this task force to find out what is needed for a grocery store to happen in North Lawrence,” Amyx said. “With the investment the city has made in North Lawrence, I think it is time to tell grocers that there is a market in North Lawrence.”

In other issues, Amyx said he would focus on infrastructure maintenance, public safety, economic development and particularly on city finances.

“We’ll be talking a lot about priorities,” said Amyx, a lifelong Lawrence resident. “Anytime money starts to get tight, you talk about choices and priorities.”

Amyx replaces Rob Chestnut, who also made budgetary issues and cost controls a major theme of his term, so much so that one commissioner kidded Chestnut after he was presented with a ceremonial plaque for his service as mayor.

“Does anybody know what we spent on that plaque?” Commissioner Lance Johnson asked. “Are you sure you’re OK with that expense, Rob?”

But commissioners also thanked Chestnut, who is the chief financial officer for Lawrence-based Allen Press, for his “meticulous” attention to city finances.

“He’s somebody who understands people but really understands dollars and cents,” Commissioner Mike Dever said. “During the economic times we had, I really think we had the right person.”

In his State of the City Address, Chestnut highlighted efforts by the city to improve its economic development infrastructure, and said he believed the city was in a far better financial position than many communities because it started controlling spending back in 2007.

He did urge commissioners to tackle one issue that thus far has been elusive at City Hall: city funding for routine sidewalk maintenance. Chestnut stopped short of proposing a specific tax or fee to care for sidewalks — currently maintenance is the responsibility of property owners — but said the issue needs to be seriously examined.

“It is clear to me that we will be unable to maintain city sidewalks appropriately without some form of public funding for sidewalks,” Chestnut said.

Commissioner Aron Cromwell was elected as vice mayor Tuesday. If tradition holds, that puts Cromwell in line to become mayor in April 2011.


nytemayr 8 years ago

I live in North Lawrence. I can't drive into or drive out of North Lawrence. All roads are under construction and will be for a while. The turnpike entrance/exit is even closed down. The main access road 2nd street and the only road that can't be blocked by a train is too narrow.

As long as the feedlot, plant and railroad are where they are in North Lawrence the options are limited.

walkingonwater 8 years ago

I think Mike's a decent guy; I have had a number of conversations with him and so forth, so I mean no personal disrespect when I say, he always gets the vote of North Lawrence, and you good folks still do not have your grocery store, or drainage solutions, or a fire station to call your own. So, maybe you keep supporting the wrong guy. I'm just saying, nice guys do not always get the job done.

50YearResident 8 years ago

“With the investment the city has made in North Lawrence, I think it is time to tell grocers that there is a market in North Lawrence.”

Try telling that to the previous grocery store owners of North Lawrence that went "Out of Business" because it is not profitable to maintain a grocery store there. There have been several grocery stores in what I would call the best prime location for a grocery store, HY 59 & Lincoln St. I guess if someone has enough capitol to keep a store running on no profit they could attempt to put one in the empty mall by the turnpike entrance/exit as a tax write off. Maybe Compton needs a tax write off or any other heavy hitter of Lawrence. A perfect oppertunity for someone.

kansasredlegs 8 years ago

Agreed. Government Officials always pontificating with no real solutions. Mike, City Hall is not in the business to make money, but businesses are. If there is money to be made in the grocery business, you darn well know there would be one in North Lawrence. Basic Business 101 - No profit, No business.

BTW: North Lawrence probably needs a barber shop as well, so why don't you relocate your business there to see if it works. Didn't think so, unless you get some of that "free" City money to subsidize it, uh?

50YearResident 8 years ago

In my haste to post I forgot two things, 1) Congratulations Mike!
2) The North Lawrence Mall couldn't make it because they have only 1 entrance at a very long waiting stop light with a crazy left turn light. Same thing happened to the Riverfront Mall, only 1 entrance an a bad curve.

Trouble 8 years ago

I would love to see an grocery store on the north side of Lawrence. We do not live in Lawrence but my wife used to drive to Your town to shop, but it has become harder and longer to get across town she won't go there anymore. She will go to Leavenworth or Kansas City. So if they would put more business in north of town I beleive it could make it. It just need to be the right kind of business. Like what is on the south side of town. Just a thought.

lawthing 8 years ago

Personally, I would like to see Lawrence have an elected Mayor, that has power to provide oversight and accountability of the City Government and Police. A mayor part of the good 'ol boy group is too controlled to have power to make change. (In my opinion)

justsayno 8 years ago

TOB & 50 Year Resident: Have you ever wondered why the grocery stores failed in North Lawrence. Evidently you never shopped at them. For one thing they were in a very small building leading to a lack of choice of products because of the lack of shelf space. And another thing was the prices were significantly higher . It was actually cheaper to drive across town to get your groceries all in one place. Made up the difference for what you paid in gas. If we would have had a legitimate grocery store in North Lawrence maybe things would have been different.

I am a life long resident of Lawrence (over fifty years) and a resident of North Lawrence for about 27 of those years, a resident of East Lawrence, Central Lawrence and West Lawrence prior to my move here and I can honestly say that if I have to live in Lawrence I would rather live over here. Rarely will you find uppity people over here that think they are better than everyone else. We've grown to realize that we are the bastard children (as iwetmypants so eloquently stated) and pretty much learned to live with it. Not saying we are happy about it. While some of you in other areas of town moan one time about this or that and it is corrected we sit and wait for our time to maybe get a drainage system so water isn't standing in the road and so many other discrepancies that are neglected over here, Please don't feel like I am inviting you to come to the north side of the river to see what life is really like because I enjoy listening to you all crying all the time about how bad you have it. Just brings a tear to my eyes as I think about it.

Please don't fret though. We will continue to pay our taxes so you can live the pampered life that you so richly deserve.

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