Now on the menu for downtown Lawrence: A late-night food cart.
City commissioners Tuesday evening unanimously looked past concerns by some downtown leaders and sided with a pair of college students who want to sell hot dogs, hamburgers and other culinary creations to downtown’s late-night bar crowd.
“This has gone on long enough,” Mayor Mike Amyx said. “We need to get you guys in the hot dog business.”
Commissioners approved the permit for the Last Stop Snack Shop to open on the southwest corner of 10th and Massachusetts streets, in front of the former Masonic Temple.
The landlord for the temple building and three restaurants in the block had sent a letter objecting to the cart, and the leader of Downtown Lawrence Inc. also balked at the idea Tuesday.
“Our concern is the combination of late-night drinking and people congregating on the sidewalks and the problems that can come out of those things,” said Jane Pennington, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc.
Jason Mandel, a Kansas University business student and co-owner of the stand, said he hopes to have the cart operating by this weekend. Its normal days of operations will be Wednesdays through Saturdays. This spring, at the request of Mandel, commissioners changed a city ordinance to allow street carts to stay open until 2:30 a.m.
Tuesday night’s meeting, though, was not a clean sweep for food sellers. The city had been asked to allow for food trucks and trailers to operate in parking spaces in downtown and other areas of the city.
City commissioners rejected that idea after staff members said they thought it could create enforcement problems. But commissioners did direct staff members to create an ordinance that would make it easier for food truck operators to locate on private property, such as parking lots of retailers.
In other city news, commissioners:
• Approved a plan for South Park to play host to a major bicycle event that is expected to attract about 2,000 participants in September 2011.
The KC MS 150 — a fundraiser for the Mid America Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society — wants to close the portion of Massachusetts Street that runs through South Park for the better part of a weekend.
Commissioners said they would consent to that if there were no other way to arrange the event, which will feature a large hospitality tent and a stage for live music. But commissioners directed staff members to look for other alternatives.
The event — which surrounds a bike ride from Johnson County to Lawrence — is set for Sept. 16-18, 2011.
• Agreed to a set of final plans for the reconstruction of Kasold Drive from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street.
The $6 million project — largely funded by the city’s new infrastructure sales tax — will include a new center turn lane, improvements to sight distances, and all new pavement.
Work could begin in March and likely would last until at least December 2011. One lane of traffic in each direction will be kept open during the construction project.