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Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Town Talk: 23rd Street bridge to cost city $1.2 million; Lawrence likes to have fun; Dillons faces key vote tonight

February 3, 2011

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Dillons live blog

I'll be live blogging the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Thursday night on LJWorld.com, but you can join in the conversation, too.

Leave comments on the blog or tweet using the hashtag #dillons. We'll import #dillons tweets into the live blog, so you can see what the community is saying about the project.

News and notes from around town:

As we’ve previously reported, motorists along 23rd Street will face a real hassle in 2012 when state construction crews replace the bridge near Haskell Indian Nations University. But now it is becoming clear that the KDOT project also will be a bit of a pain to the city’s coffers. City commissioners recently were told that several major sewer and water lines that run underneath the bridge will have to be moved to accommodate the project. The city has four sewer lines ranging in size from 12 inches to 27 inches and several water mains ranging from 8 inches to 12 inches under the bridge. As you might guess, moving those lines won’t be cheap. Current projections estimate the cost at $1.2 million.

Even though the bridge project isn’t the city’s, the city is responsible for all costs associated with moving sewer and water lines. And no, the city is not complaining about that because turnabout is fair play. The city routinely makes utilities pay to move power lines, telephone lines and other types of utilities to accommodate city road projects. City officials told me it is just the cost of having a utility. But sometimes it can be a significant cost. As for how the city will pay for it — well, let’s just say it will be helpful if you water your lawn this summer. The project will be paid for through water and sewer rates, but the city has already factored the project into the current rate plan, so no new adjustments will be needed to the rates.

• As for the bridge project itself, Chuck Soules, the city’s public works director, tells me it is still on schedule. He said KDOT officials understand the importance of 23rd Street in the city’s transportation network, and are looking to get the project done as quickly as possible. It also appears that KDOT understands Lawrence. Soules said KDOT’s goal for the project is to not start major construction activities until after the Final Four and to have major construction completed before KU’s football season.

“That will be really fast for that large of a project,” Soules said.

Who wants to take the over on that over-under bet?

Plans do still call for traffic to remain open in both directions. The project will include building two “shoe-fly” roads. The roads will take traffic down, along each side of the bridge project, and then back up to 23rd Street.

Think positive. It will be like adding a mini-amusement ride to your daily commute.

• In case you have any doubts about whether having fun is on the minds of Lawrence residents, here’s an interesting little piece of data: Of the top 20 pages viewed on the city of Lawrence’s website, 11 of them were related to sports, parks or recreation.

Here’s the top 20 pages:

  1. Parks and Recreation
  2. Jobs
  3. Adult Sports
  4. Adult Sports Softball
  5. Utility Billing
  6. Departments
  7. Youth Sports
  8. Planning and Development Services
  9. Agendas
  10. City Services A-Z
  11. LPRD (Parks and Rec) Web Enrollment
  12. Indoor Aquatics Center
  13. Aquatics
  14. LPRD Classes
  15. Google Fiber for Communities
  16. Youth Sports Baseball
  17. Parks
  18. Residents
  19. City Maps
  20. Eagle Bend Golf Course

It would be interesting to see how Lawrence’s top 20 compares to the top 20 of other area cities. I’ll do some looking.

Also, it does appear that more and more people are turning to the Internet to connect with the city. The city’s website — which is lawrenceks.org — received 877,938 total visits in 2010. That was up 58 percent from 2009.

• I’ll be doing something tonight I normally don’t do — covering the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. The Dillons project on South Mass. Street will be up for a pair of key votes. I’m interested to see how strong the neighborhood opposition is to the current plans. I’m also interested to hear whether Dillons goes into any detail about why they believe the store needs to face north rather than to the west like the current store does today. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

What town talk have you been hearing? Send me a tip at clawhorn@ljworld.com.

Comments

Floyd Craig 3 years, 2 months ago

I sure hope they dont let R D johnson do that bridge project they are way to slow to do any thing remember how long it took them to do the water line on Iowa street

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Carol Bowen 3 years, 2 months ago

I do not live in the neighborhood, but I have shopped there on occasion. It a very active neighborhood grocery store. It's always busy, service is good, and I can always find what I need. If Dillon's wants to improve the store, more power to them. They have made efforts to work with the neighborhood. Was the neighborhood input incorporated into the plan? I think it would be a benefit for those who shop there.

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kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm probably one of the few posters here who remembers when there were no supermarkets. There were "mom and pop" groceries in every neighborhood - close enough for everyone to reach by walking. And, they sold real food, not three aisles of junk food.

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northtown 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes i know that is the truth,not enough business would make any sense to build one North of the river-And it is a long walk-but i do it-Would use the bus,but it is the same as walking-My ice cream melts before i get home-So it matters what i am buying-I can hitch a ride--cannot drive due to some heatlh problems,one of the few that obey the laws of Kansas..But i was just running off at the mouth-And building it facing north-what is the problem-does not two of the other dillons face north in this fine city?? Let them build it,east side does need it,and Lawrence as a city would profit some from it..This city needs a good kick in the Butt,but that probably wuld not help either---Happy up north,with my garden and in nice weather do not mind the walk..

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 2 months ago

The store on 23rd is a long way if you're walking. As for the northside, don't you think if their was a profitable demand and location that one would not already have been built?

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northtown 3 years, 2 months ago

No to Dillons,if they cannot get a store closer to the northside,then let the east side suffer also!!

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dogsandcats 3 years, 2 months ago

I would guess they want it to face north so that the back loading docks would be accessible from Mass St.

Although I don't know why they need another big Dillons when there's one just a few blocks away on 23rd st.

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somedude20 3 years, 2 months ago

If they close Dirty Dillons, where will all of the old people from Babcock Plaza going to go for exercise and entertainment?

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Chris Ogle 3 years, 2 months ago

"The project will be paid for through water and sewer rates, but the city has already factored the project into the current rate plan, so no new adjustments will be needed to the rates. "


Guess our late fee "adjustments" will not be going up.

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

Dillons wants to make an investment in a fragile neighborhood, the store is an anchor and if they close it the neighborhood will suffer. we will lose property value, families will not want to live there and the neighborhood will decline. it really doesn't matter which way the store faces, it matters that it is there. some of those people complain about everything but never put up any money to invest in our community.

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I genuinely hope that if Dillons doesn't get the vote it needs that it closes the store. If the neighborhood doesn't want a grocery store to operate in a manner the owners believe is both efficient and profitable then why bother? Let the concerned locals put up the cash and open a market in the location if they are the experts. Perhaps Merrill will invest. Merchants need to stop building crippled stores to satisfy the local no-growthers who do not want them there anyway.

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somedude20 3 years, 2 months ago

I miss that dirty little liquor store that was next to Dillons. The one where the dude (for you sallyone) always had a chew in his mouth and you could smell his chew breath from 4 feet away. You know, the liquor store so dirty that it made the Dillons next to it look like the Royal Palace. So dirty that you need to get all of your booster shots and vaccines before you go in. I once watched a dude buy a case of King Cobra (not the G.I. bad guy) there, gross

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ralphralph 3 years, 2 months ago

Re - Dillons ... Really? Someone wants them to NOT redo the store? Sheesh! You ought to be glad that they are not just closing it.

Don't know why it's going to face North ... seems odd, to me ... but I don't care. Let 'em build it.

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adastra 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm wondering at what price the President of the Oread Neighborhood (Landlords) Association (Rob Farha) offered to sell his apartment just north of Mass St. Dillons, to Dillons. Will he be required to provide this information at tonight's meeting of the BZA?

So Dillons wouldn't meet his price, and now he is " so concerned about the neighborhood" and wants to exact punishment on Dillons? What genuine neighborhood concern.

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sallyone 3 years, 2 months ago

I think that my post was quite clear in pointing out the fact the dillons on mass is always practically empty and the one on 6th and lawrence ave is always full and that it needs to be updated first and the dillons on mass shouldn't be updated since hardly anybody uses it or at least nobody is ever there when I'm there.

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toe 3 years, 2 months ago

Just add an adjustment charge to the water bills to pay for moving the pipes.

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sallyone 3 years, 2 months ago

I do not think that dillions ought to be allowed to change the layout of their store. they really don't even need a new dillions there as it is now there is hardly ever anybody in it whenever I'm there. Don't waste the money and resources on it. Replace the old dillons on 6th street, it really needs to be replaced.

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macon47 3 years, 2 months ago

if we get enought of the whiners to line up for tonites council meeting i hope dillions builds a new store out side of lawrence to show what they really like about the east side

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