Archive for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Town Talk: Lawrence BMX track proposed; Berry warehouse site approved; Ben & Jerry’s closes Mass store

October 26, 2010, 2:18 p.m. Updated October 26, 2010, 2:25 p.m.


• A previously reported plan to create a BMX bicycle track in Lawrence is moving forward again. Members of a new not-for-profit group — LARRI-BMX — have developed a set of plans to build a BMX racing facility on three to five acres of property they hope will be donated either by the city or county.

A model of the proposed 1,500-foot track, lights and other related facilities is on display at Lawrence Re-Cyclery, 731 N.H.

Brian Shay, owner of the Re-Cyclery and a member of the BMX group, said plans now are to begin having more serious discussions with the city or the county about available land. Shay said a location at YSI might work, but there’s also interest in locating the track at the Douglas County Fairgrounds because it may be easier for people to ride their bikes to the facility.

A model of a proposed BMX track that a Lawrence group would like to build on a three to five acre site in the city.

A model of a proposed BMX track that a Lawrence group would like to build on a three to five acre site in the city.

The group — which would like to use the track for local riders and to attract regional racing events — doesn’t plan to ask local governments for any funding other than use of property. Previous estimates have been between $50,000 and $100,000 to construct the track, but Shay said the group is hoping to do it for far less through donated dirt and volunteer labor.

• The proposed site for a 600,000-square-foot warehouse for Berry Plastics won easy approval at the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission on Monday night. Commissioners unanimously approved rezoning a site at East 700 and North 1800 roads from agricultural to light industrial. The rezoning now must go to the Douglas County Commission for final approval. Also, look for county commissioners to receive a request for tax abatement from Berry Plastics related to the project.

• Planning commissioners on Wednesday will hear about another proposed industrial site northwest of Lawrence. Commissioners will consider annexing and rezoning 51 acres at North 1800 and East 1000 roads. The property is only about two miles east of the proposed Berry site, but it has attracted significantly more opposition from neighbors. Planning staff members, though, are recommending approval of the rezoning. Unlike the Berry site, the development group is seeking to have the property annexed into Lawrence. It also does not have a specific user for the property, but rather wants it rezoned so the land can be marketed to potential tenants. Also, the site is proposed for general industrial zoning, which is a slightly more intense industrial category than the light industrial sought at the Berry site.

• The days of a chunky monkey on Mass. Street are no more. The ice cream store Ben & Jerry’s has closed, according to a sign posted in the window of the store, 818 Mass. The store had been open for five years downtown. No word yet on whether anything is scheduled to move into the space.

What town talk are you hearing. Send me a tip at


5thgeneration 7 years ago

I still feel that this would be a great asset to the community. Lets make this happen.

Danimal 7 years ago

RIP Ben & Jerry's. I don't know anything about BMX, but wouldn't you want a track that connected to itself so you could do laps and have races?

5thgeneration 7 years ago

BMX tracks don't connect. The proposed track is for ABA sanctioned BMX racing.

Danimal 7 years ago

Thanks, I try to learn something new everyday.

royalpain 7 years ago

Hey, Chad. What's going on at the former HH Bar & Grill site at 6th & Wakarusa? Have you heard what's going to be opening there?

unelectable 7 years ago

We have no good bbq places in town.
All just over cooked meat soaked in sauce. Give me some slow cooked, dry rubbed ribs or brisket and i'm a happy camper.

Too far from the sea for good seafood. passable, maybe.

Eric Neuteboom 7 years ago

Amen! I'd give my left arm for a good BBQ joint in Lawrence!

alfie 7 years ago

where did you hear it will be a famous daves?

Chad Lawhorn 7 years ago

That is what I'm hearing, though I haven't been able to confirm it. The company has been looking in the area, and previously was interested in the former Stone Creek restaurant at 3801. W Sixth Street. As I said, the information hasn't been confirmed, and there's also been speculation that the former Hereford House site would be subdivided to serve more than one user.

deec 7 years ago

I had their "BBQ" once. Tasted like roast beef with some sauce dumped on top. Although maybe that's considered bbq up there in Mn. where Dave'sfrom.

d_rigadee 7 years ago

BMX races are done in "motos". A moto is synonymous with a heat in track, or say drag-strip racing. Motos are divided by age and experience level within age groups. There are generally 2 qualifying and one final moto per division. By the time you complete one moto on a BMX track, you will be winded, as the action is all-out, and you are traversing features as tall as maybe 6-8 feet high.
Raytown, MO, had the opportunity to host a National ABA event this year. They had over 130 motos for 2 days, with an average of 5-6 riders per moto. It was quite a scene to spectate. They did an outstanding job putting it on, and I am sure the local economy LOVED it. People traveled from as far away as Texas, Illinois and Wisconsin to spend the whole week, in some cases. I think this would provide an entertaining dynamic to the Parks system.

Mike Wagner 7 years ago

I forgot about that movie! so cheezy, yet so

Aaron Carpenter 7 years ago

There is only a few of us that remember Rad, which was rad. If only we can find a local rider who will choose riding the Helltrack over his ACT's.

d_prowess 7 years ago

I think I mentioned this in the comments the last time this BMX track issue was in the news, but I don't understand why anyone would be opposed to such an effort. The city has a ton of land that is "designated" for parks but that they don't have the money to build. This is a group willing to do it without asking for a handout (I don't consider the land a handout if it was already going to be a city park). Where is the downside?

Kelly Anderson 7 years ago

ya, like Peterson Park that FINALLY has a plastic "rock wall", swing set, and some other thing right in the sun after more then 10 years and that is it and then Deerfield Park that has no public bathrooms.

timebomb66 7 years ago

Agreed. I am shocked that Lawrence does not have a BMX track. I think it is an excellent idea.

Bob Forer 7 years ago

I've heard of folks being "shocked" over the news of the murder of a well known person. Never heard of anyone being shocked because Lawrence doesn't have a BMX track. Too funny. Thanks for the laugh.

Bob Forer 7 years ago

I've heard of folks being "shocked" over the news of the murder of a well known person. Never heard of anyone being shocked because Lawrence doesn't have a BMX track. Too funny. Thanks for the laugh.

jakedonaldson 7 years ago

The Downside is lets say this plan follows through and gets built...Ok Well all its going to take is some enexperienced kid out there that trys to do to much and breaks a limb or worse kills himself and the parents of that kid sue the county or whoever they can for faulty engineering or lack of supervision or some other stupid reason for millions in a wrongful death suite. That to me is the BIG Downside and that is why the county should not build it.

d_prowess 7 years ago

Just like what we have seen at the skate parks around town. Oh wait, we haven't seen that...

5thgeneration 7 years ago

Topeka has a track that is accessible 7 days a week, and generally there is no supervision............ and it hasn't lead to the kind of scenario you're describing.

bs 7 years ago

what hotel is the "death suite" in....sounds like fun!

d_rigadee 7 years ago

That is why we would look to partner with the ABA. They do this all across the country, and have for years. They cover insurance for the track. There is also legal precedence to keep this type of scenario from happening, which I will not go into now, but it has to do with "implied risk" when participating in any type of activity suck as this.

alm77 7 years ago

My three kids and I pulled up to have our $1 ice cream cone yesterday and my six-year-old broke into tears when I told him Ben and Jerry's was gone forever. Almost cried myself. That's been our Monday tradition for months. :(

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Every day is special at Sylas & Maddy's.

parrothead8 7 years ago

Alas...the "months long tradition" is no more.

alm77 7 years ago

Hey, traditions gotta start somewhere ya know! ; )

6 months is a long time to a six-year-old.

KansasPerson 7 years ago

Geez, any six-year-old would cry if you said it THAT way! "Gone forever" almost makes ME cry and I had only been to Ben and Jerry's a couple times. :)

alm77 7 years ago

hehe. What I said was "Oh my gosh, guys, Ben and Jerry's is closed!" and they said "Forever?" and I just nodded my head.

walter_sobchak 7 years ago

I myself once dabbled in pacifism...

Steve Jacob 7 years ago

Stand alone ice creams shops are all going away.

geekyhost 7 years ago

And part of that is because you can't pick up a pint of Sylas and Maddy's in the grocery store.

somedude20 7 years ago

people of size (POS) will never let that happen. Sad day for the chubs I bet though, like losing a family member

angel4dennis 7 years ago

I would think it would be a sad day for Lawrence in general. Yet another business that unfortunately isn't supported enough to stay open. Mass stores change frequently. Now as for the "stereotyping" that you obviously are attempting to get a rise from people of size, I would say that the term POS should reflect People of Substance. All of which you have none. Way to get a "dig" at the plus size person, I get it. Because only people of size eat ice cream, you think this is funny. I don't find it offensive at all, I just find it a waste of a comment to take away from the real issue and story. Congrats to you!

somedude20 7 years ago

? if I sent you $5, would you then buy a life? (or maybe some ice cream)

think_about_it 7 years ago

That is not what I have known POS to mean. But hey if the acronym fits....

skull 7 years ago

Good luck BMX...if the track ends up like the lawrence skatepark, you'll be riding the same jumps for twenty years and waiting at least one year just to get a burned out lightbulb replaced.

Clark Coan 7 years ago

Guess the customers of Sylas and Maddy's were too loyal. Just like the the Community Mercantile customers when Wild Oats tried to undercut their prices.

tabitha013 7 years ago

A BMX track would be a great addition to Lawrence! It's another way to get the kids off the couch and out doing something. Not only would it be good for the economy, but would help out the overall health of the community, which we desperately need!

VOTE BMX!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lawrencian 7 years ago

Since BMX is now an olympic sport, it would be great to have a track here.

nixojo 7 years ago

Yay! Bring on the bike track!

geezlouize 7 years ago

My kids are all about BMX. They would love to have a track in town. As it stands now, we have to drive to Topeka or Raytown for the kids to race.

d_rigadee 7 years ago

The nice thing about an ABA track is that they would be responsible for safety and insurance.

phoggyjay 7 years ago

It's good that Ben & Jerry's is closing down. Their ice cream is full of artificial colors and flavors.

pizzapete 7 years ago

I could see a BMX track being very popular in Lawrence. We need more options for kids to be outside having fun and getting exercise.

Celeste Plitz 7 years ago

Yeah, they ripped out all my favorite things from the parks that I remember growing up. :( I was wondering where the fire truck went...and I LOVED the rocket ship in Broken Arrow Park. It was so peaceful up there...until my mom started yelling for me that it was time to go!! Those were the days...

James Sneegas 7 years ago

I spent last spring and summer going to race night after race night to watch my 7 year old grandson and 10 year old granddaughter pedal their little hearts out in a personal challenge to be the fastest one around the course. Sometimes it ended well and sometimes it would end in a failure as they would place out of trophy range. These kids showed dedication that I didn't know still existed in today's youth. They are both slim, trim and fit. It would be nice to see a track locally so grandma and grandpa didn't have to travel so far to support them. This is a sport for all age groups from four to sixty. A BMX track would offer a form of recreation that supports family participation and promotes physical fitness. I support the construction of a BMX Park with great enthusiasm.

kernal 7 years ago

Oh, good, we got rid of more farm land. Yippee.

jobuka 7 years ago

Anything to get the kids off the couch and active is awesome. I think BMX is becoming very mainstream and its about time that we get a track. In these trying times anything healthy to put yourself or your kids into is great! I wish we had one when I was a kid!

homechanger 7 years ago

Fairgrounds seems like a better choice. It would be easier for the lower income kids to access.

gccs14r 7 years ago

It was only recently that I even noticed there was a Ben & Jerry's downtown (not that I was interested in the slightest). Sylas & Maddy's has been our only ice cream stop since an unpleasant aftermath from Cold Stone once.

auntmimi210 7 years ago

Aww... sad, but I'm not surprised about Ben & Jerry's, in this economy. My daughter & I went there once & spent like $12.00 on just the 2 of us! I just wish someone would re-open a Baskin-Robbins here!

justforfun 7 years ago

Ben and Jerrys was gettin KILLED by 3 spoons!! That's why they closed.

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

If these peoplethink a BMX track will have enough interests, why don't they but some land and build it themselves?? Why does the city or the county have to donate the land???

d_rigadee 7 years ago

The logistics of buying a 3-5 acre plot of land are unrealistic for a NON-profit organization. We are attempting to create a venue for non-tradiational sports (i.e. football, basketball, soccer, baseball) because not every kid can or wants to excel at these activities. BMX gives anybody who can pick up a bike the opportunity to improve their mental and physical well-being, and compete in an Olympic sport. The city has plenty of land already ear-marked for the parks system, and yet no plans or capital to move forward on those lands. If we are willing to raise the funds to operate this thing, why should we not be allowed to use some parks land to diversify the Parks Department? Does every kid who wants to shoot a basketball or go swing on a swing set have to buy their own personal land to do so?

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

If these peoplethink a BMX track will have enough interests, why don't they but some land and build it themselves?? Why does the city or the county have to donate the land???

d_prowess 7 years ago

Because the city has it and wants it to become a park. The city seems to be getting a deal here. They are getting a park they already want, but someone else is offering to pay for building it! They city will no longer have any expense for the land, but still get the recreation area they want for the residents. I still don't see the downside.

BillybobThorten 7 years ago

We dont need Famous Daves. We have Biggs

Kirk Larson 7 years ago

Score one for Silas and Maddy's. I love me some Peanut Butter Freak.

MasterShake 7 years ago

Too bad about Ben and Jerry's. I'm not a fan of the soup they call ice cream at Silas and Maddy's.

MasterShake 7 years ago

Too bad about Ben and Jerry's. I'm not a fan of the soup they call ice cream at Silas and Maddy's.

James Sneegas 7 years ago

The City of Lawrence has been great when it comes to setting up sports fields and general recreation areas all in and around Lawrence. It seems only natural that a BMX track would make a great addition to the sporting lineup, especially since it really won't cost the city or the tax payers anything. Family fun and family participation is what the Parks and Recreation Department is all about. I hope the choice is follow through with the BMX track idea and make it a reality..............

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