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Archive for Monday, January 4, 2010

Mayor sees light at end of 2010

From left Brad Burnside, Lawrence, with U.S. Bank, visits with Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut and U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., prior to Brownback’s speech to members and guests of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Monday at Maceli’s, 1031 N.H.

From left Brad Burnside, Lawrence, with U.S. Bank, visits with Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut and U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., prior to Brownback’s speech to members and guests of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Monday at Maceli’s, 1031 N.H.

January 4, 2010

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Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories, looking ahead to 2010.

Mayor Rob Chestnut is preparing for a grueling half-mile in 2010.

“Some people may be thinking the economy next year will break out like a sprint, but I think it is going to be more like one of those middle-distance races,” Chestnut said. “I think we’ll see positive momentum, but I think it may not be until the second half of the year.”

That has city leaders planning to do lots of strategizing early in 2010 about how to take advantage of the economy once it improves. City Manager David Corliss said his staff will focus on acquiring the former Farmland Industries plant to convert the nearly 500-acre piece of property into a business park.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to acquire the Farmland property, and that this will be the year where people will notice some real physical changes out there,” Corliss said.

But other economic development work also will be under way. Work to install a new water line to the Lawrence Municipal Airport has begun, and a study on how to add city sewer service to the airport will soon be discussed.

“We believe we’re going to have that property in much better shape for economic development opportunities,” Corliss said.

Early in 2010, the city also plans to finalize a joint purchase with the county of a west Lawrence laboratory building designed to serve as a place for promising bioscience companies to locate. Construction on a new bioscience incubator on Kansas University’s West Campus also is expected to be completed in 2010.

“I think here in the last few months we have had a few more economic development activities to look at than we have seen in recent years,” Chestnut said. “I think we’re staging ourselves for a much better year.”

Other concerns

Several other issues also are expected to get plenty of attention at City Hall in 2010. They include:

• A proposal for a new homeless shelter location. The Lawrence Community Shelter has proposed building a new shelter at the former Don’s Steakhouse site on East 23rd Street. Chestnut said he hopes to reach a decision on that proposal in the first 90 to 120 days of the year.

• A decision on Parks and Recreation projects. The city is studying whether it ought to build a new recreation facility with money that will be freed up once the city’s Indoor Aquatics Center is paid off at the end of 2010. If commissioners decide they want to reinvest the money back into Parks and Recreation, the discussion likely will center on whether the city should build a new outdoor recreation complex or pursue a new recreation center/fieldhouse project.

“The challenge will be that not everybody will get what they want,” Chestnut said. “But we hope we will have done a good job of understanding what the needs are, what the opportunities are, and where we can maybe leverage some sort of public-private partnership.”

• Work on major planning efforts for the city’s water and sewer service. Corliss said a water master plan already is underway, and he will be asking commissioners to approve work on a new wastewater master plan as well. The two plans will spell out what improvements need to be made to the city’s water and sewer systems, and also will set the basis for how rates need to be adjusted in the future.

• Creation of a new downtown task force. The task force likely would study public safety issues related to downtown, and also ways to improve the downtown retail environment. Chestnut said he wants some information gathered on the possibility of creating a retail incubator that would help small retail businesses get started in Lawrence.

Keeping a close eye on city revenues also will be a major task for commissioners, said Commissioner Mike Amyx, who if tradition holds would become the city’s mayor in April.

Amyx said he has been impressed with the city’s ability to not increase the property tax mill levy and to hold service cuts to a minimum in 2009.

“I think the community has worked together to get through a lot of shortfalls in the last year,” Amyx said. “Staff really has spent a lot of time making sure that we live within our budget. We’ll have to do that again next year.”

Comments

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

Come on, merrill, give us some links about Reagan. We've totally forgotten about them since the last time you posted that set. Everybody will read them this time.

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Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Shopping is the only industry left in america so when Bush/Cheney put 11 million out of work that sort of screwed the only remaining industry.

Any politician who walks around telling people there IS light at the end of the 2010 tunnel probably does not have a clue. All of the seasonal jobs will be gone again at the end of 2010 with STILL no new national industry on the horizon.

Reaganomics/Wreckanomics Global Economy is still sucking jobs FROM the USA. USA jobs have been a primary export with zero payback.

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Flap Doodle 4 years ago

Relax and have a sugar-free popsicle, paulette. It's a cool and fruity treat on a spring day. You can admire the drainage whilst enjoying it.

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paulette2 4 years ago

KU dude please stop BLOVIATING!

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beobachter 4 years ago

Saw picture, realized it was 3 of the most useless people ever to be in one picture.

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KU_Dude 4 years ago

Worth repeating:

• jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…

bronze- I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning. Jonathan Kealing Online editor

––––– How has paulette2 aka cool/spiderman/coltrane/bronze.....lasted this long Jonathan?

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paulette2 4 years ago

check out the job loss total under Bush vs. Obama!

please google article since LJW doesn't allow links........

Welcome to The Kicker! This is the blog of the Medina County Democratic Action Committee, (MCDAC). Our mission is to take the Democratic message to the grassroots of the Democratic Party! SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 06, 2010 Job Losses Under Bush and Obama Below is a chart prepared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office showing job losses under Bush and Obama since December of 2007. The point is obvious: Fewer jobs have been lost since Obama took office as compared to the final year of Bush's second term. Since both the media and Republicans are factually challenged, we are not sure how much play this will get, but we thought we should share it with our readers.

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paulette2 4 years ago

now add to Merrill's list a Carnegie Library addition with no LEED certification or at least recognizable sustainable design elements.

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paulette2 4 years ago

Lawrence needs affordable housing zone districts including some infill locations - to bring better low end housing stock on line. the high end sprawl suburbia has been overbuilt by the Chestnut donor types for 20 years now.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

'ATLANTA (Reuters) - A dismal job market, a crippled real estate sector and hobbled banks will keep a lid on U.S. economic growth over the coming decade, some of the nation's leading economists said on Sunday.'

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6021LK20100103?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FbusinessNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Business+News%29

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cheeseburger 4 years, 3 months ago

And where is the concern for maintaining existing infrastructure? Once again, the sorry condition of our roadways continues to decline, as we focus too much on unnecessary and wasteful pet projects.

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JackRipper 4 years, 3 months ago

"• A decision on Parks and Recreation projects. The city is studying whether it ought to build a new recreation facility with money that will be freed up once the city’s Indoor Aquatics Center is paid off at the end of 2010. If commissioners decide they want to reinvest the money back into Parks and Recreation, the discussion likely will center on whether the city should build a new outdoor recreation complex or pursue a new recreation center/fieldhouse project."

Is this from the tax that was suppose to end? Sounds like an other bait and switch that the school district pulled. The ol boys just keep playing with our money.

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lance1jhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Just curious as to which half-marathon he is planning on running in?

That would have been nice to know

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JackRipper 4 years, 3 months ago

Funny how those guys look like the vampires they are. It is amazing how the free market as these guys see it requires so many tax dollars that seem to make it back to their ilk's pockets.

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kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

For a real recovery, give it 7-10 years Mr. Mayor. What's that song about false hope?

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

This always "planning ahead" phrase has cost local taxpayers tons of mismanaged spent tax dollars.

Planning ahead for what?

  1. The TIF parking garage
  2. The business park 600,000 square ft warehouse has been sitting empty for 9 years in an over built warehouse market
  3. The over built housing market aka "boom town" economics which always stops abruptly
  4. The over built retail market: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul/24/retail-space/?letters_to_editor (The Mercato project failed and now are asking to convert to more retail space)
  5. The multi million dollar ongoing Parks and Rec project at Clinton Lake
  6. The $20 million USD 497 athletic project
  7. WHAT exactly is planned for the Farmland property that will payback the taxpayer.
  8. Paying too much money bailing out a failed Bio Tech private business
  9. Who knows if that airport project will materialize?
  10. USD 497 has $16.5 million worth of building repairs on their table:

*School Maintenance http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/oct/22/school-priorities/#c1027186

http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/jul/what_do_you_think_proposed_3mill_property_tax_incr/

Teacher Salary Support http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

There is more speculation than substance which is why Lawrence finds itself in economic displacement instead of economic growth.

As far as 2010 most economic forecasts are suggesting 2011-2012 before any real change is can be hoped for. 8 million people lost their jobs during BUSHCO with no new industries or jobs on the horizon. Lawrence,Kansas is a low wage community and the most expensive place to live in Kansas. Where is the money?

"Boom Town" economics is over and can never be sustained!

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vanguard3 4 years, 3 months ago

Phoggyjay,

As I've said before, I normally vote Republican, but Brownback is a creepy and exceedingly hollow individual. Reminds me a bit of a smiley bobblehead doll, or that homicidal Chuckie thing from the movies.

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Steven Gaudreau 4 years, 3 months ago

Seamus says: "This may be hard to believe, but we once conducted business without BigBox stores as do the Europeans today." I have one word: IKEA

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Seamus 4 years, 3 months ago

Also, this point cannot be over emphasized: roads are an investment in infrastructure that has no future. We simply won't have the energy to drive endlessly. The alternatives are not going to keep our Happy Motoring going forever. The future will be about walking, cycling and rail.

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Seamus 4 years, 3 months ago

Many nations exceed our standard of living. The French, in particular, have a lifestyle that far exceeds anything we have in America. Real wages have stagnated in the United States since 1973. Car ownership is mandatory for 1st class citizenship. Public amenities are rare, especially compared to European nations. Unless you consider driving to a Best Buy out at the slummy edge of town to be something that constitutes a good standard of living, there are many areas where we lag behind others.

As far as "paying for itself" goes, roads are heavily subsidized in many different, often hidden ways. The gasoline taxes don't even come close to supporting the roads. The New 59 benefits the trucking companies and developers.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 3 months ago

Seamus,

Infrastructure, especially roads, is one of the few government expenditures that pays for itself. So, yes, I would generally be supportive of making Highway 59 larger and safer.

Also, I don't see how America's standard of living has decreased in the past decades. If anything, the United States enjoys the highest standard of living of any nation in history of the planet. Do you see it differently?

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Seamus 4 years, 3 months ago

SettingtheRecordStraight-- I assume you're also against the New 59 which is also a project that benefits only a few "special interests" (i.e. the trucking industry, developers, etc.)

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Seamus 4 years, 3 months ago

This may be hard to believe, but we once conducted business without BigBox stores as do the Europeans today. Our quality of life has been largely ruined thanks to our endless search for greater bargains, brought to us only because we've subsidized the trucking industry and encouraged good-paying factory jobs to relocate to China. The future is NOT going to be about driving 5 miles out to the edge of town to buy widgets at the Best Buy.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 3 months ago

Keith and riverat,

With those racial injustices long-since resolved, the city should sell the swimming pool to a private business and combine that revenue with the savings from the expiring swimming pool mortgage to provide much-needed property tax relief to Lawrence home owners.

Now is not the time to expand government spending on skateboard parks, rails to trails, kickball leagues and other pet projects enjoyed only by those special interest groups that have their hands out.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 3 months ago

Seamus,

If we don't "zone business out to the fringes," where would we put Wal Mart and Best Buy?

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dlkrm 4 years, 3 months ago

"Several other issues also are expected to get plenty of attention at City Hall in 2010.:

How about plowing the streets? At 27th & Crossgate, the southbound lane is completely covered with snow - like about two feet deep! You have to turn from Clinton Parkway into the left hand turn lane! How's that for taking care of city business? How can we not throw all these bums out????

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Seamus 4 years, 3 months ago

BigPrune, sprawl for the sake of sprawl is going to destroy our much vaunted way of life. We simply won't have the oil to keep it going and the alternatives won't replace it. Truly "smart" growth would be to build traditional neighborhoods that don't zone business out to the fringes along major collector roads that aren't walkable.

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phoggyjay 4 years, 3 months ago

brownsack gives me the willies...look at that mug

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Joe Hyde 4 years, 3 months ago

I was a pool manager, swimming instructor, swim team coach and lifeguard for two years in Lawrence, summer of '65 and '66. What Keith says is correct: none of the private pools in Lawrence at that time allowed minorities to purchase memberships, or even to swim as guests of their white members.

A very sad, painful chapter in Lawrence's public recreation history, and one that was finally corrected by the construction of the excellent Lawrence City Pool at 8th & Kentucky. Building that municipal pool and operating it under a system of racial fairness and equality is one of the best things this city ever did for itself.

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Keith 4 years, 3 months ago

"keebler1rk (Anonymous) says… Keith! First comment makes sense. Racist comment about pools for whitey,?????????????????????????"

Check your local history, that's why the downtown pool was built, none of the private pools would allow minorities.

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Robert Kiefer 4 years, 3 months ago

Keith! First comment makes sense. Racist comment about pools for whitey,?????????????????????????

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Keith 4 years, 3 months ago

"SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says… Keith, Please enlighten me as to how current government expenditures on recreation programs enjoyed by a tiny fraction of our population are related to racism from 40+ years ago."

No enlightenment necessary or possible, you asked a question, I answered it.

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Number_1_Grandma 4 years, 3 months ago

"Mayor sees light at end of 2010"

Maybe it's his reflection he's seeing through his rose colored glasses....lol

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macon47 4 years, 3 months ago

the way the commission spends money you would think they were usd497. what a waste

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Thing 4 years, 3 months ago

Sorry to tell you mister mayor, but that light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train!

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 3 months ago

Keith,

Please enlighten me as to how current government expenditures on recreation programs enjoyed by a tiny fraction of our population are related to racism from 40+ years ago.

Also, I'm sure swimming pool manufacturers as well as health club owners (private enterprise) today would disagree that the government should be so heavily involved in public swimming pools, government fitness centers and taxpayer funded kickball leagues.

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macon47 4 years, 3 months ago

no, private enterprise could see there was no return on thier investment with a swimming pool, if it wont make any money, that business the city wants to participate in. look at their plans for this year, if you dont believe me

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cheeseburger 4 years, 3 months ago

hellsbasement (Anonymous) says… keep bringing Amyx back and it will NEVER get better.

Amyx isn't what's wrong with this city - it's too many years of the likes of Rundle, Highberger, and Schauner. It'll take decades to recover from that - IF we ever do!

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Keith 4 years, 3 months ago

"And what was the city thinking when it got into the swimming pool business anyway? Ridiculous. "

When the city got into the swimming pool business, back in the late 60s early 70s, private enterprise had decided that swimming pools were for white patrons only.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 3 months ago

"...once the city’s Indoor Aquatics Center is paid off at the end of 2010..." the city should reduce the tax burden it levies on its citizens.

And what was the city thinking when it got into the swimming pool business anyway? Ridiculous.

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headdoctor 4 years, 3 months ago

BigPrune (Anonymous) says… When the government tries to compete with free enterprise,


Free enterprise? Where on the planet does this enigmatic situation exist in Country wide format? I would like to go there to witness this in person. I am pretty sure it is only a sacred buzz word used by politicians and idealists. The existence of true free enterprise is right up there with the tooth fairy and Easter bunny.

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Keith 4 years, 3 months ago

"The city is studying whether it ought to build a new recreation facility with money that will be freed up once the city’s Indoor Aquatics Center is paid off at the end of 2010."

How about fixing what is already broken, i.e. streets, before spending more on luxuries? Or, here's another idea, if that 'money' is freed up, just don't spend it.

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macon47 4 years, 3 months ago

it looks like the city is going to spend itself into prosperity?

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BigPrune 4 years, 3 months ago

When the government tries to compete with free enterprise, the taxpayers lose.

Smart growth killing our quality of life, all hail the sacred cow Horizon 2020.

Has your street been plowed yet?

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hellsbasement 4 years, 3 months ago

keep bringing Amyx back and it will NEVER get better.

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cowboy 4 years, 3 months ago

All roses huh ? A quick look at job ads , some 30 ads in the LJW , most temp jobs , no skilled labor at all , a few years ago this category averaged over 250 ads . High vacancy rates in the rental biz , absolutely zero job growth nationally. wish i could share your enthusiasm but it looks really ugly out there now. Hang on to your hats folks and hope this new year brings some good news.

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