Letters to the Editor

Downtown gem

October 30, 2010


To the editor:

Downtown Lawrence is in the top 10 best downtowns, and do I believe it! But unfortunately some people just don’t see it anymore.

Well, take another look. We have restaurants that could rival any big city, and you can’t beat the fresh farm produce that they use to, in turn, help our community farmers. How can you complain about that?! The bars give our downtown a great nightlife filled with music and merriment.

The parking isn’t that bad; you can always find a spot. Would it be so bad to park where you can, even if it’s a block or two away and take a stroll to your destination and back? Maybe you’ll see something in the window that sparks your interest or stop for ice cream.

Downtown Lawrence is the last bit of culture in this town, so why can’t everyone see what I do? It’s an amazing place filled with art walks, delicious food and drinks, a great music scene, charming shops, and a place you can get your errands done. We have a true gem on our hands and I encourage you to get downtown and enjoy yourself. If we’re on the top 10 list we must be doing something right!


geoismeo 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice letter. Every letter to the editor does'nt have to be negative. I've lived here all my life and have always loved downtown.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes downtown Lawrence is a great place however downtown Lawrence can only support so many bars and eating establishments. Otherwise Lawrence will experience way too much turnover. Therefore the focus needs to move in the direction of another department store or two.

Our downtown is the primary attraction for Lawrence even during the "holidays". Again and therefore the focus needs to move in the direction of another department store or two. This will attract evermore traffic thus also supporting our charming shops.

Nightlife is good and enjoyable but it is not everything.

Art always has value - Can The Arts Help Save OUR Small DownTown? Most likely.

Can The Arts Save Your Small Town?

by Joanne Steele

Last weekend I had one of those serendipitous happenings that keep my belief in magic alive.

Phoenixville First Fridays feature live music, open studios and gallery showings.

The topic of our monthly Revitalization Team meeting was to be art as an economic development tool. Who should appear at my info table at our small town summer festival but an expert in art towns!

Joe McArdle is a resident of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, a former steel town that revitalized itself by attracting artists and selling itself as an art town. They’ve been at it for years with great success.

Here are some of Joe’s sage suggestions: http://ruraltourismmarketing.com/2010/08/can-the-arts-save-your-small-town/

Abdu Omar 7 years, 4 months ago

Downtown Lawrence is totally unique except for the franchise stores. I think they belong in a mall and let local merchants offer something to the public.that can't be found anywhere else. How fun would that be?

somebodynew 7 years, 4 months ago

Well that would be just great. Now when you can convince the local Lawrence people who OWN the buildings to lower the rental rates so that local merchants could actually afford to be there and stay open for more than a year, it will be grand.

Good luck with that, by the way.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 4 months ago

Why? Because to feed the greed of the "developers" in what used to be the great town of Lawrence, we foolishly allowed the creation of huge swaths of suburbia in Lawrence and imported lots of stupid, greedy and soulless suburbanites who'd rather shop at Walmart, eat at TacoMcBurgerFilA, and park their minivans on football field sized parking lots that are consistently 1/4 full than venture to a downtown, see real people (including the poor) and be forced to shop at non-homogenized store.

rtwngr 7 years, 4 months ago

Ooooooo. TacoMcBurgerFilA! My favorite. I didn't know they had opened up in town. Where are they??

Chris Ogle 7 years, 4 months ago

A positive outlook is so refreshing these days. Thank you.

Phil Minkin 7 years, 4 months ago

Oneeye and healthcare-When you have a precious resource whether natural like National or State Parks etc. or man made like historic buildings or our downtown, we as a community need to help protect and preserve them. Downtown provides jobs and tax revenues and to let that go away for the lack of a small % of our budget would be a disaster.

Tim Quest 7 years, 4 months ago

Why don't you leave Lawrence if you hate it so much? Please.

amesn 7 years, 4 months ago

It is so sad to read these posts baggin on downtown Larryville! I moved here 2 yrs ago from a small western Kansas town. Downtown Lawrence has offered my family a unique and multi-cultural experience each time we visit. We love just strolling up and down the streets in the evenings watching the interesting buskers perform and window shopping! Mass street offers a great variety of cuisine, a unique gift for any occaision, all the while giving you that "small town" atmosphere. Other patrons on Mass st are in good moods as they too explore the streets of downtown so the interactions we have had with people downtown have always been positive. For a college town I feel there is a fairly nice balance amongst the bars, restaurants, and retail stores. Topeka, Salina, Wichita, and DEFINATELY not Aggieville don't even compare!

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

What can't you buy here?

We never shop outside of Lawrence, and find many stores and places to shop.

And we don't shop downtown for the most part because it's too expensive.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Read my post - we don't shop downtown.

There are plenty of other places to buy everything you mention in Lawrence.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 4 months ago

antacid wrote: "You must have a lot of money to waste if you buy...things downtown."

That's a terribly judgemental thing to post. Why do you care where anyone else shops?

cds 7 years, 4 months ago

Couldn't agree with you more, lived here 20+ years and its crazy sad how this city bends over backwards to make certain people who have had some amount of involvement in city politics and own property downtown happy. Ask some of the people (like me) who live near downtown what they think of the non-stop activities, noise from the bars late night, gunshots from bars at night, trash from all the people leaving the bars, and all the people who flood our residential streets to take the scarce parking that is available and leave us with no where to park (a one finger salute to the city for telling people to park on our streets). The only place I goto downtown, ever, is a barber-shop. There is nothing else there that I would even consider going to.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Have you called the police about noise problems, etc.?

If so, what was their response?

devieh 7 years, 4 months ago

when is the last time you heard a gunshot from a bar downtown?

and what trash do people take from bars?

did anyone force you to live close to downtown?

UpperLawrence 7 years, 4 months ago

Love downtown - my husband and I spend money there almost every day - be it on coffee, beer, a bite to eat, a book, some ice cream, outdoor equipment, convenient office supplies, a cookie from the Pink Box, whatever. While out and about, we typically run into friends and coworkers, sometimes our dentist or banker. When our friends visit from California or Maryland they specifically plan time to go hangout on Mass Street at their favorite haunts.

George Lippencott 7 years, 4 months ago

Once more into the breach – the last time I responded to one of these I was figuratively crucified. I will try to do better this time.

It is clear that the author enjoys the amenities in our “downtown”. Good. My question is whether she accepts those who do not. Would it be acceptable to have different interests and tastes and seek that elsewhere? Should those with different inclinations be forced to pay for the amenities she enjoys and they do not? The letter leaves open those questions. From past experience I wonder.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago


As far as I'm concerned, people can shop, eat, etc. wherever they like.

The question about paying for things is a complicated one - unless we change our tax system, we all are paying for a variety of things we may or may not be using and benefiting from.

For example, I have no children in public schools, but I'm paying for them. I never go to the pool, but we're paying for it. Etc.

George Lippencott 7 years, 4 months ago

To me JAFS it is a matter of balance. When we start asking a lot from some based on our definition of how they should live and give that to others because we approve of (benefit from) their choices then we need to reexamine our motives. It is no different from bullying people on the playground because they are different.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't know what you're talking about there.

George Lippencott 7 years, 4 months ago

My property taxes supporting business in "downtown". The popensity of some to demand that their version of Lawrence is the only version.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

How do they do that?

And, again, with our system, it is inevitable that we are all paying for some things we don't use - should I be able to opt-out of paying for public education?

Should we eliminate taxes and simply institute a "pay for use" system?

Everybody (who cares) wants what they want in Lawrence - the west side folks want a library and rec center out there, some want a Lowe's, others don't want one in that location, etc.

It's a messy situation.

ralphralph 7 years, 4 months ago

To help the Downtown Treasure, the city fathers (and muthas) have created a special taxing district so we can pay more for our stuff at a chain drug-store, Taco Bell, TaxBurger and a new yogurt-tax joint way out west on Sixth .... Seriously ... we couldn't attract a taco chain, a drug chain, a gimmick burger shop and another yogurt place without giving them a secret-tax-kickback?

Won't you all join me as I patronize local businesses and Boycott the Bauer Farms Tax Scam?

corduroypants 7 years, 4 months ago

Why haven't they torn down the Masonic Lodge and built a two-story Red Olive Lobster Garden? Huh? Huh? And there are too many trees downtown!!! They should be bulldozed!

rtwngr 7 years, 4 months ago

Because Cheesecake Outback Factory Steakhouse is already in negotiations for the property. Sheesh, I thought everybody knew that?

rtwngr 7 years, 4 months ago

Downtown is cool. Subsidizing business from the tax coffers is not. If anything, the tax dollars should be spent on the overall "ambience" of the downtown district. Lawrence is the best town in this state in which to reside. Even if it is full of weirdos like me.

Tammy Yergey 7 years, 4 months ago

I love downtown. You can never make everyone happy. That is the only truth on which we can all agree. Period.

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