Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2011

Redevelopment could complicate consolidation

A plan to build 350 apartments next door to the Home Depot would send hundreds of families at the Gaslight Village, a mobile home park located at 1900 W. 31st St., looking for new places to to set their mobile homes.

A plan to build 350 apartments next door to the Home Depot would send hundreds of families at the Gaslight Village, a mobile home park located at 1900 W. 31st St., looking for new places to to set their mobile homes.

December 10, 2011

Advertisement

Building more than 350 apartments containing nearly 1,000 bedrooms next door to The Home Depot would do more than attract plenty more college students to the base of Mount Oread.

It also would send families — some with young children — looking for new places to set their mobile homes.

Two likely locations are within the boundaries of Kennedy School, where nearly four out of every five students already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The standing is used by educational leaders as a measure of socioeconomic status, or SES, that requires additional teachers, staffers and other resources to address at-risk needs.

Whether the anticipated moves help solidify or potentially erode support for an eastside plan for school consolidation remains to be seen. One proposal would combine Kennedy and New York schools in a new school that would be built in eastern Lawrence — one that would be expected to serve as the cornerstone of an anticipated bond issue that also would address physical needs of remaining elementary schools throughout the Lawrence school district.

And folks representing Kennedy on the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group — an advisory panel tasked with recommending a plan, by the end of January, for reducing the number of elementary schools from 14 down to either 11 or 12 within the next two years — say bringing in more students could actually strengthen their case.

If more students move into the Kennedy attendance area, including at least some who would be expected to qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, Kennedy representatives say they’d have even more reason to consolidate into a combined school.

A bigger school would mean qualifying for — and needing — more resources such as a full-time nurse, a full-time social worker, a full-time assistant principal, smaller class sizes and other associated services district officials regard as the best way to give at-risk kids the best chance to succeed academically and socially in a school environment.

“We’re going to continue to have a large population of children that have special needs,” said Dawn Shew, a Kennedy parent serving on the working group. “We already should have a full-time nurse. With nearly 80 percent low-SES kids? We should already have a full-time nurse. We should have a full-time social worker.

“And that’s the idea behind our plan: If this is a way we can get these services, then OK. Consolidate. These are services we already need, and I don’t know whether I’ve seen a willingness or an ability to provide these services absent consolidation.”

Working on a plan

Another advisory group, the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force, already concluded that the district should consolidate schools to eliminate inefficiencies of operating smaller schools and to free up money and resources that could be used to benefit the entire system. Among them would be nursing personnel, social workers and others.

The Lawrence school board, back in February, accepted the task force’s findings and later established the working group to help come up with the best plan for making it a reality.

The working group’s deliberations started earlier this year, before the owners of Gaslight Village Mobile Home Park, 1900 W. 31st St., had secured a contract to sell their 41-acre property to a development company. That’s where Aspen Heights proposes building a “student residential community” consisting of more than 180 house-like structures, which together would contain 352 apartment units and 994 bedrooms.

The land sale is contingent upon developers securing proper zoning from Lawrence city commissioners. Meetings into such issues are set for early next year, but even the prospect of redevelopment already has spurred some residents of the 148 occupied lots in the park to leave.

Some have relocated to Easy Living, a mobile home community behind Target that feeds into Sunflower School. Others have moved their trailers to Harper Woods, which is south of the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds and whose young residents attend nearby Kennedy. Brookwood Mobile Home Park also is close to Kennedy, with room for additional residents.

Other Gaslight Village residents simply have left, whereabouts unknown.

“We’ve had a few people abandon homes, just walk away,” said Tom Horner III, an officer in the company that owns Gaslight Village, whose young residents are in the attendance area for Broken Arrow School. “Some have walked away from their homes and left us to clean them up.”

Decisions await

Administrators in the Lawrence school district have not compiled the number of students now living in Gaslight Village or how many would qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches — the standards used to decide how much money schools receive for services such as reading coaches, math specialists and other resources.

Shew simply knows that Kennedy already has the district’s highest concentration of “low-SES” kids, at 79 percent. New York is No. 2, at 73 percent.

Adding more students into the mix — no matter where they stand on the SES scale — should signal that the area simply needs more people, programs and support to help kids succeed, Shew said.

And that means moving toward consolidation, she said: Combine Kennedy and New York, propose a bond issue and secure voter approval for the financing plan that could turn today’s needs into tomorrow’s sustainable realities.

“If consolidation is going to get these kids those services, that’s what we need to do,” Shew said. “We’re in it for the resources.”

The working group’s next meeting is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

Schools reporter Mark Fagan can be reached at 832-7188. Follow him at Twitter.com/MarkFaganLJW.

Comments

lunacydetector 2 years, 4 months ago

they should not be building more multi-family residences until lawrence has enough retail to support them. apartment buildings, though they may be 'smart growth' in theory are 'dumb growth' in reality. they tax our infrastructure and the property taxes alone do not bring the amount of taxes a retail area brings, since retail also collects sales taxes in addition to their inflated property taxes. compare the legends development in wyandotte county that generates 1 billion a year in sales, the same as lawrence, yet the legends doesn't have the population per square mile of lawrence's more dense centralized core of people. facts.

0

sunny 2 years, 4 months ago

That's life! Everyone wants something for free!

0

pace 2 years, 4 months ago

If these guys got rezoned, they could of included relocation allowance as part of the requirement for rezoning . Most cities do. I don't think Lawrence or for that matter Kansas does that often. I know it has happened in Lawrence. But to say that isn't how it could work is remarkably ignorant of common practices.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps a new mobile home park should be built on the west side of town equalizing the income inequity between east and west in Lawrence...I'd suggest the SE corner of 27th and Inverness so kids can walk to Sunflower and Southwest. An alternative sight might be just west of the Walmart on 6th.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

"Others have moved their trailers to Harper Woods, which is south of the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds and whose young residents attend nearby Kennedy."

If the city pursues the reckless tax dollar endeavor of running 19th through this trailer park more folks are going to be forced to move? Yes the city should pay up any relocation fees and families should not be forced into a situation they cannot afford.

0

MARGIE50 2 years, 4 months ago

We lived at gaslight and we moved. Tom Horner paid for nothing. He has not spent a penney to the up-keep at gaslight for at least a couple years. There are a lot of families there that can not afford to move. And some have homes that could not be moved. How are they going to just move into one of these new apartments, who is going to pay for that? You can bet it won't be Tom Horner.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Adding more and more bedrooms is following the same concept that brought the USA economy to its' knees. Still in Lawrence it is business as usual which in fact can play a part is taking the economy down yet further.

This town is over loaded with plenty of vacancies. Do property owners understand that in a depressed market more new bedrooms will only deplete the value of existing property.

Lawrence City Commission is obviously seen as easy prey. Tell the city commission just about anything and they will say yes!

0

pace 2 years, 4 months ago

yeah yeah , we got it. You want to spout off about people who live in trailers, maybe shop at walmart, drive older cars, are elderly, are handicapped, like country music, we got it, you want to talk nasty about "other" people. And your mother slept ( probably drunk) through your child hood when you should of learned manners, courtesy or reason. I always joke that people who have to trash people for their situation or home rather than character are missing several inches, but my friends say that is prejudice, there are a lot of people missing inches who are "not that way".

0

blabber 2 years, 4 months ago

"Building more than 350 apartments containing nearly 1,000 bedrooms next door to The Home Depot would do more than attract plenty more college students to the base of Mount Oread."

What does this mean?

Do many of the folks who live here actually own these mobile homes? The ones I see from 31st look like candidates for "American Pickers."

Maybe they can move to the Poehler building...when it's finished...

0

Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 4 months ago

This is an excellent article about a subject which needs to be covered in even more detail. Not only are the families forced to move, but there are many other considerations involved. When you are not well off, and you have several kids, there are a lot of expenses to think of when moving.

Also, Tom Horner III makes a completely unacceptable response. Where have the families gone who have left their homes abandoned? We need an answer on this, not some corporate trash - I'm sorry, but when he talks this way, that's exactly what it is. Yet these are FAMILIES and CHILDREN invoived! There should be much more care shown than what he responds with.

0

peartree 2 years, 4 months ago

Grouping low-SES kids together on purpose seems counter intuitive. Could someone please provide an argument for or against this? Also, what percentage of mobile homes are south of 15th street?

0

sunny 2 years, 4 months ago

Everybody wants something for free. Cry me a river...you own the land and are free to do with it what you want, but I still want something for free! Let me guess....you think the developer should pay for these people to move to a new shiny apartment?

0

pace 2 years, 4 months ago

I assume the buy out did not include any provision for helping the current tenants moving. I have no pity for the developers being stuck with cleaning a site.

0

irvan moore 2 years, 4 months ago

most of the mobile homes at gaslight would not be admitted to another park and i think the cost of moving them exceeds the value in a lot of cases

0

Keith Richards 2 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

OonlyBonly 2 years, 4 months ago

Somebody is having trouble with "copy/paste" today. Second story with glaring error.

0

deec 2 years, 4 months ago

So crowding even more at-risk children together is good for the children, because then the district might deign to provide the support services they should already be providing? Yeah, that sounds like a viable plan. end sarcasm

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.