News and notes from around town:
• Another downtown development project that looks to build upward is being proposed at City Hall. Lawrence-based Treanor Architects has filed plans to renovate the former Strong’s Office Supply building, 1040 Vt., to serve as offices for their architecture firm. The project includes demolishing the old showroom portion of the building and replacing it with a two-story structure. The warehouse portion of the building would remain and be renovated.
The project would bring about 75 new employees downtown. Currently Treanor — which grew significantly after it acquired Lawrence-based Glenn Livingood and Penzler — has Lawrence offices on McDonald Drive and West Sixth Street.
Bill Fleming, general counsel for Treanor, said the company has had a longtime desire to be in the downtown area. He said the firm hopes to begin construction in January and to move into the building next summer.
The site already has the proper zoning for the project, but the new building’s design will need to be reviewed to meet historic resources guidelines.
• City commissioners are being asked to consider how many dogs one person can be allowed to own at a Lawrence residence. Currently city code does not allow more than four dogs that are more than 10 weeks old at any Lawrence home. But Lawrence bail bondsman and former city commission candidate Sam Fields is asking commissioners to allow for some exceptions to that rule. Those exceptions could include allowing an unmarried couple to have more than the four maximum or also could allow people with a hobby breeders license to own more than four. City commissioners just received the letter asking for the change, and are expected to ask staff members to research the request before considering any changes.
• A request to annex land northwest of Lawrence for potential industrial development will get discussed Tuesday night by city commissioners. Commissioners will consider annexing 51 acres at the southwest corner of North 1800 Road and East 1000 Road, which also is Queens Road extended. Commissioners specifically will consider approving a resolution asking Douglas County commissioners to sign off on the annexation, which is a required step because the property is not adjacent to the city limits. If the annexation is approved, commissioners will be asked to consider a rezoning request that would allow industrial development at the site. No specific project has been proposed for the site, but the owners want to begin marketing the property as an industrial location because it is adjacent to Interstate 70. Several neighbors have objected to the plans, but the project has received a unanimous recommendation from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.
• City commissioners are being asked to donate an old fire engine to non-profit organization that will paint it pink and use it to promote breast cancer awareness. Fire Chief Mark Bradford is recommending that the city donate a 1987 fire engine that the city soon plans to retire to the Wichita Area Chapter of Pink Heals/Guardians of the Ribbon. The Guardians of the Ribbons drive pink fire trucks across the country to honor and support women who are fighting breast cancer.
Bradford said the fire engine, if not donated, would be sold through a government auction website. It has an estimated value of about $6,000. The city has already bought a new Pierce fire engine that is in the process of being put into service to replace the 1987 model.
• A couple of Lawrence trail projects have been completed and are now open to the public. Crews have finished installing 10-foot hike and bike paths along a two mile stretch of Clinton Parkway near Inverness Drive. The paths replaced two six-foot wide paths that were constructed in the 1970s and had deteriorated. The project was funded through federal stimulus dollars.
The city also has completed a new portion of the DeVictor Park trail in West Lawrence. The new northern section of the trail completes about 80 percent of the loop around DeVictor Park. The city received about $15,000 from the Sunflower Foundation to complete the $40,000 project.
• The Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority is getting closer to hiring a new director to replace Barbara Huppee, who is retiring at the end of the year.
The Housing Authority’s board is holding three special meetings to interview candidates. The first is at 11 a.m. today. Others are at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11 and 9 a.m. on Nov. 18. The board has not announced the names of any of the candidates. They will be interviewed in closed-door executive sessions.