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:
- Parks and Recreation
- Adult Sports
- Adult Sports Softball
- Utility Billing
- Youth Sports
- Planning and Development Services
- City Services A-Z
- LPRD (Parks and Rec) Web Enrollment
- Indoor Aquatics Center
- LPRD Classes
- Google Fiber for Communities
- Youth Sports Baseball
- City Maps
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.