News and notes from around town:
• There are new signs that Lawrence indeed will have a second Dunkin Donuts store. A nearly $500,000 building permit was issued for a new Dunkin Donuts restaurant at 1400 W. Sixth Street. The J-W reported nearly two years ago that a new Dunkin Donuts was in the works for the location, but then the deal stalled. Dunkin also operates a location at 521 W. 23rd St.
• In other building permit news, city leaders were cautiously optimistic about totals recently reported for September. The city issued permits for 30 new single-family homes during the month. That was the highest monthly total since June 2006. The 30 homes had a total construction value of about $5.2 million.
• Work also got underway on what is expected to be one of the larger construction projects of the year in Lawrence. A permit was issued for $9.4 million worth of work on the Lawrence Retirement Residence, a new 124-suite retirement facility at 4430 Bauer Farm Drive. That project is near the corner of Sixth Street and Folks Road, immediately east of what was the proposed site for a Lowe’s store.
• An executive with the development group proposing a seven-story, $9.5 million apartment and mixed-used building on a vacant lot at Ninth and New Hampshire streets said construction on that project should begin in about two weeks. The project, though, will cause Downtown Lawrence leaders to find a new home for its summer film festival. The lot — which is just north of the city parking garage on New Hampshire — was used to show the summer movies. In a report to city commissioners, Downtown Lawrence Inc. leaders said they definitely want to continue the summer film festival. They said average attendance for the six shows were about 500 people, up from about 300 a year earlier.
• Area residents interested in a high-level outlook for the national economy should mark their calendars for Oct. 25. Thomas Hoenig, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will deliver a speech at 7 p.m. at the Lied Center. The event is part of the Anderson Chandler Lecture Series conducted by KU’s School of Business. Hoenig is emerging as one of the chief critics of the Fed’s strategy to buy up more assets such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities to boost the economy. That likely will put Hoenig at odds with some of his fellow Federal Reserve policy makers who many expect will advocate for a new round of asset purchases. The lecture is free and open to the public.
• Employees of Douglas County Rural Water District No. 5 may soon get something they’ve never had — a retirement plan. The board for the water district — which covers much of southwest Douglas County — is considering enrolling the district’s employees into the state’s KPERS system. But the project won’t be without costs. It is estimated the district will have to pay about $300,000 to buy the employees into the pension system, said Larry Wray, the district’s administrator and one of five full-time employees who would be covered by the new plan. Wray said the district has the cash reserves to fund the pension plan, and that the proposal is not expected to impact water rates. Wray said he’s urging the board to move forward because it has become difficult to retain employees without a retirement plan. The board is expected to make a decision within the next month.
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