Archive for Friday, February 4, 2011

City officials consider expanding parking garage planned at Lawrence Public Library

February 4, 2011


Consider it a plot twist for the nearly $20 million expansion and parking garage project for the Lawrence Public Library.

City commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday will consider approving a $1.2 million design contract with Lawrence-based Gould Evans Architects, but some city leaders now want to consider enlarging the proposed 250-space parking garage.

“We have one opportunity to do this,” said City Commissioner Aron Cromwell. “I think it is at least worth having the option and a price tag presented to us.”

City Manager David Corliss is proposing that the architects put together a bid option that would add another level to the garage, which will be built on the existing parking lot that is between the library and the senior center. The new level would add another 50 to 75 spaces to the 250 spaces that are currently proposed.

But it also would add to the costs of the $19 million library project — $18 million from a bond issue approved by voters in November and $1 million from private fundraising done by the Lawrence Public Library Foundation. Both Corliss and Cromwell said the money for additional parking would not come from the bond issue. Instead, Corliss said it could come from the city’s parking fund, capital reserve funds or other sources.

Cromwell said if the city moves ahead with the extra parking that it will be important to do so without increasing the mill levy.

“I think there could be a tendency for people to worry about a bait-and-switch going on here,” Cromwell said. “That is not at all what we’re trying to do. I think because of that, though, it is imperative that we not raise the mill levy to do this.”

A major selling point in the library bond campaign was that the project would not increase the mill levy by more than two mills — 1.5 mills for the construction and 0.5 mill for increased operations.

If commissioners approve the design contract on Tuesday, bids for the project could be received by this fall. Construction on a new library is expected to take about 20 months.

Several other design issues also are scheduled to be discussed Tuesday. They include:

• Designing the parking garage in a way that would allow it to also function as a public transit hub. Currently, the city’s main transfer point for the transit system is at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The transfer station today is essentially just an outdoor bus stop. A facility in the parking garage would include restrooms and indoor waiting area.

• Consider how a public plaza area in front of the new library could be utilized to host the Downtown Lawrence Farmers' Market. The market currently operates in the 800 block of New Hampshire and the 1000 block of Vermont streets. But leaders of the market previously have expressed interest in having more space for vendors, access to restroom facilities, and perhaps other amenities such as a portable kitchen.

• Cromwell said architects will be told to continue working on exterior design options for the library building. Exterior renderings were presented during the November bond issue, but Cromwell said he wants more options to consider.

“We’re really focusing on trying to get the best building we can,” Cromwell said. “We’re not at all going to be limited by those previous renderings. I think everybody agrees there is significant work still to be done on the exterior.”

• Corliss also plans to begin studying the feasibility of a special bus route that may help people get to the library and the senior center during the 20-month construction project. Parking in the area will be limited during construction. But Corliss said a special transit route that travels between key parking lots in downtown and then drops people off at the library area could be a potential solution.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.


jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

We should have been able to vote on the complete project, and the complete costs.

Even if the extra money is going to come from somewhere else - that means it won't be available for other things.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

I absolutely agree jafs!! This whole thing was pushed through and past the citizens of Lawrence. I knew this was gonna happen! It ticks me off the way politics are done in Lawrence.. SLIMEY!

persevering_gal 6 years, 1 month ago

The parking garage is the only reason why I did not want to approve the expansion of the library. If prices increase in tax payer money from adding an addition layer, then we should have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to approve of the plan.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately there were "concessions" written into the proposal on the ballet that many voters probably failed to pay attention to. They wrote it in a way that they can make whatever changes and additions that they want to!! again... SLIMEY!

persevering_gal 6 years, 1 month ago

Yep, and that's why I voted no on the expansion of the library. Ugh!

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

me too!! thought it was "slimey" from the get go!

justforfun 6 years, 1 month ago

This whole thing is an F Bomb scam and if you voted for it, don't btch!!! enjoy what we pay for! You knew this crap was comming so deal with it with silent prayer!

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

cromwell and corliss, what a pair. downtown Lawrence gets to screw the taxpayers again. it's gaonna be great, cromwell doesn't want to be limited by the rendering the taxpayers voted for, supposed to represent the city, not downtown business.

nobody1793 6 years, 1 month ago

Scope creep, just like every other project.

Why not add a freaking roller rink and a helicopter landing pad to this thing as well?

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

Roller rink.. now that's an idea.. if they are gonna waste all the taxpayers money... they might as well add something that the residents of Lawrence can ENJOY!!! (SLIMEY)

laika 6 years, 1 month ago

With all the recent building discussion for downtown (Treanor, 901 New Hampshire, etc) and the obvious hamper parking is putting on them, it seems to make sense to at least explore this option. I mean, the bond issue is already going to pay for the garage, it might be a effective use of parking dollars to add more spaces to this already financed structure.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Except that by adding spaces, you add to the cost.

And, why on earth are taxpayers funding parking for private businesses at all?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

But the added expenses will be drawn from the parking fund. In other words, it's to be derived from those who park downtown, and used to add to the parking capacity for those same users.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

STILL SLIMEY.. It'll be tallest and ugliest building in all of our "quaint" downtown Lawrence! I've lived here all my life and I think this whole deal is, well,... SLIMEY! They could have built a satellite library on the south side of town .. BUT NOOoooOOo!! IDIOTS!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"It'll be tallest and ugliest building in all of our "quaint" downtown Lawrence!"

Actually, it won't even be close, on the height, at least. "Ugly" is in the eye of the beholder.

And it certainly doesn't preclude satellite libraries, which is what the library says it will do in any future expansions.

Ann Hamil 6 years, 1 month ago

And how bout a certain millionaire parking user paying for his parking in the existing parking garage then?

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

future smoocher!! The future should have been now! This town has grown leaps and bounds in the past 25 years or so. This was just a huge WASTE and a SLIMEY way to go about doing it too!!

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Or the capital reserve fund, or other sources, according to the article.

blindrabbit 6 years, 1 month ago

Tear down the old police station building(senior center) as it's not a very good use of that space; expand parking into that area. Incorporate senior center needs into new library expansion design.

Farmer's market at that location would create some problems when competing with parking and traffic at library and swimming pool during summer months. Not against it, just some things to think about!!

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

it would have been smarter and cheaper to buy the riverfront mall and use it for library space and it has plenty of parking. but the parking isn't for the library is it?

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

it would have been smarter and cheaper to buy the riverfront mall and use it for library space and it has plenty of parking. but the parking isn't for the library is it?

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

Yep... Typical Lawrence "Developers".. SLIMEY!!

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

And here we go. Lawrence could easily be broke in about 10 years.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

Well, the residents will be.. we already pay close to 10% in sales tax, the property and homeowners can't keep up with their property taxes and the "elite" just don't get it!! SPEND SPEND SPEND!!.RAISE TAXES, RAISE TAXES!! SLIMEY!!!!

coderob 6 years, 1 month ago

The commission needs to at least consider alternatives. What could the T do with that 20 million dollars? If you spend the same money on public transportation instead and make it so that the buses come by more than twice an hour, people will start making the switch and we won't have to worry about all that expensive automobile infrastructure.

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot..."

fundamental 6 years, 1 month ago

250 parking spots. $19 Million. That's a cool $76,000 per spot! Nice work, Lawrence voters. Say yes to the Library (and a concrete eyesore that we really don't have a plan for yet but when we do we'll be sure to let you know and, oh by the way, it'll probably end up costing a lot more than we told you originally)!!! Too bad they couldn't fit all that on those handy signs.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago


laika 6 years, 1 month ago

Incorrect. $18 million from a bond issue for a new library and a new parking garage. $1 million from private sources, very likely all for the library.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Plus whatever extra funds are needed.

skinny 6 years, 1 month ago

What a waste of money, I can't believe it!

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago


monkeyhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

“I think there could be a tendency for people to worry about a bait-and-switch going on here,” Cromwell said."

Why would anybody think that? Could it be that our leaders have no morals? Don't believe for a minute that this was not going on behind the scenes, because they know what kind of sucker population they are dealing with. Imagine the evil smirks when the new library, parking, bus welfare, farmer's market handout, etc. became reality - all on the backs of those whose actually go out to work every day in order to provide bathing accommodations to the downtrodden within the library. Now I know it makes a lot of you feel good to facilitate the transfer of wealth from the heartless to the helpless (while the helpers claim that is their full societal duty, and that they need do no more than that to achieve their nirvana).

You should have gotten out while you could - it's probably way too late now.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago


somebodynew 6 years, 1 month ago

I certainly hope the voters remember this little thing the NEXT time a project needs to be voted on. (OK, I know I am too optimistic.) If I remember correctly we never did have complete plans of just what was to be built BEFORE the vote.

Keep this in mind when the next great thing comes along that needs your money.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Good advice.

I'm glad I voted against the library expansion.

cowboy 6 years, 1 month ago

At what point did the citizens of lawrence decide we wanted a high rise downtown full of parking garages and high rises ? The developers , who have nothing better to do currently , decided to pursue / propose these projects while slopping at the public trough. If the city really needs 55 more spaces I'm sure they could find a couple of properties to puchase and convert for a heck of a lot less than 2 million dollars.

The price tag of the library , now the addition of more concrete up in the air , combined with the city's practice of giving away these spaces to developers lends very little confidence to the process.

Now you throw in the T element which is a bust at best. Tried to look at a way to get my son to work from 6th down to 31st the other day. Why does the T not have express north south / east west buses ? A complete waste of resources.

These s clowns need to enter the real world where projects are measured on their value and economy. This latest round of planning has been pathetic at best.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.....

Lee Eldridge 6 years, 1 month ago

I owned a business downtown for 15 years. Had up to 30 employees. They parked downtown. Ate downtown. Shopped downtown. And because of the awful parking situation I would likely never locate a business downtown again.

Cromwell is right to consider this expansion. The city at some point will still need to address more downtown parking to keep downtown thriving. If it's cheaper and easier to add 50-75 spots to this project than to do a separate project later on, it should be considered. The city is going to be spending money on another parking project at some point anyway.

svenway_park 6 years, 1 month ago

I totally agree.

If people want to complain about public investment in parking, they should just flush downtown. Yes suburban malls & big-box stores run on different rules. That is just the way it is.

It is cheaper to consider going up on this structure now, than waiting to go up later on. And apparently they are not considering using general fund, but parking fund

On the other hand, I don't believe large parking need generators should be given free access to public parking. The Compton project and Eldridge, for instance, should be sold or leased on a long term basis a certain number of spaces, if they don't have parking on their own (or other vertical projects).

I think the Commissioners did the right thing...putting the Library question on the ballot combined with a reasonable number of additional parking places, to be supported by the general fund....even though they had the power to do this unilaterally. Now that the public has spoken on that investment, they are seeing if they can leverage a parking opportunity, with non-general fund resources.

I still believe parking meters are too cheap in Lawrence, and that associated longer term parking for employees is still a need which has not been properly addressed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"The Compton project and Eldridge, for instance, should be sold or leased on a long term basis a certain number of spaces, if they don't have parking on their own (or other vertical projects)."

I don't necessarily disagree, but they should do it as a comprehensive parking policy. If Compton, Fritzels, Treanor can buy dedicated parking for their employees, all other businesses should have the same opportunity. And all landlords should be able to offer something similar for their residential tenants.

But this gets sticky if/when the only available parking ends up getting reserved to the highest bidder, and those who can't afford it are frozen out.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Except that funding will come from either the parking fund, capital reserve fund, or other sources, according to the article.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't know what you mean.

Several posters have commented that money will come from the parking fund.

According to the article, it may come from there, the capital reserve fund, or other sources.

friendlyjhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Uglu. ugly, ugly design rendering (yes as in rendering hogs) in picture accompanying this article. IKEA or Herman Miller could do that for lots less money. What a boondoggle this project is for the community. Only a few will benefit. All the I told you sos will make no difference. It's next time at the ballot box that will count.

Mari Aubuchon 6 years, 1 month ago

Have you ever seen the site Unhappy Hipsters?I think of it every time I see these designs. From the non-functional overhangs on the exterior to the wasted wide-open spaces of the "lobby" (why does a library NEED a lobby), it really looks like an airport, rather than a community building.

kberry 6 years, 1 month ago

Why not use some of those funds to actually improve and increase the materials offered at the library? I didn't vote for this because everything that I read about the project seemed to indicate that it was all about this parking garage. I don't understand why people are complaining now, when this was made perfectly clear in all of the preliminary information published about the project. Perhaps next time, the voters will inform themselves better prior to voting on such a pivotal issue. This parking garage seems to have been the plan all along, therefore this new "suggestion" should not be a surprise.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago


Mari Aubuchon 6 years, 1 month ago

I voted against it for the same reason. Calling this a necessary library expansion was disingenuous. It is primarily a parking garage with additional meeting spaces and computers.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Good point.

I hope people are paying attention - I voted against the expansion as well.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 1 month ago

Just seems dishonest. It's not like they came up with the idea after the bond vote. Why not make it $20M bond issue and let us vote on the new plan. Plus remember any cost over the $18 million bond has to come from some other source, in case materials or labor go over, or cut back something. And did they announce the added mil levy for other library materials before or after the election?

Kookamooka 6 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if the farmer market people ever considered using the top of the riverfront mall parking lot as the farmers market. People park in the garage and the vendors have access to the top entry for loading. Utilizing space within the building for restrooms.

That building has been up for sale for years. The WHOLE building. An outside investor could take a shine to it any time and take it over. I liked the Riverfront Mall library expansion design best of all of them. It included repurposing the Reuter Bldg. It was awesome. It even had a park on the roof. With the view of the river. It would have been a wonderful civic space.

kugrad 6 years, 1 month ago

While this should have been put in with the original proposal, my wife and I felt that a weakness of the proposal was the failure to include enough parking. I think the city should do two things. 1. Tell Doug Compton that he cannot have ANY reserved public parking at the 9th and New Hampshire parking garage across from the arts center (talk about entitlement) and 2. Construct the maximum number of spaces feasible by the new library, making them FREE since the public is paying for them already.

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

the riverfront mall is/could be the crown jewel of downtown, i think the reason the city isn't buying it is that there is a big private development plan for it in the future that the commissioners are aware of and support. the city needs to buy the Riverfront Mall so all citizens of Lawrence can enjoy that space. the city needs the space now, it's the most cost effective space, why aren't they buying it? we would have all those parking spaces and the buildings and location, no brainer.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago


bevy 6 years, 1 month ago

Not to mention, the word is "slimy" not "slimey"

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

Whatever, so called "seeker_of_truth"!.. SLIMEY, SLIMY.. it still means the same thing. For your information, I am a very literate and eloquent writer when I really give a rat's ass!! This particular topic just gets my ire up! I've lived in Lawrence all my life. I love it here. I am 50 years old! The one thing I do know, THE REAL TRUTH, is that these kind of political antics have been going on for years upon years! So, take your opinion of me being like a "3 year old" and well.. at risk of not getting this reply published.. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH IT!! (I can only deduct that you just may be one of the slimEY ones!!)

sr80 6 years, 1 month ago

how much you want for your house?i will buy just to see you leaving lawrence.good riddance my friend!!

Alabamastreet 6 years, 1 month ago

Having searched for a parking place for 15 minutes last night in our packed downtown, I for one am in favor of looking at the additional parking. Enjoyed a great meal at a completely full 715 restaurant last night, a great experience except it was so jammed downtown at 7:30p that I circled for quite some time to park. So thanks city officials for thinking about this.

Love, love, love the idea of having the farmers market locate at the library. Really interesting concept.

Once again, thanks to Lawrence for publicly voting to approve this great addition to downtown. It is a huge step in the right direction to keep the city centered on Mass Street and the surrounding areas!

Gedanken 6 years, 1 month ago

You should have used the current parking garage. It had plenty of spaces during this time period. I parked there myself.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

For a guy who wanted to rejoin the LJW forum to discuss municipal issues, it is interested that Sven Alstrom has chosen to ignore this topic, and instead is posting on other threads.

Jump into the pool, Mr. Alstrom. What about it?

Bob Forer 6 years, 1 month ago

A million here, and a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

i was at the library earlier today, if they got rid of the drawings of the future "imaginary" library in the middle of the floor they would have more room. wonder why they don't have a picture of the "imaginary" parking garge.

sr80 6 years, 1 month ago

the imaginary garage is on top of the imaginary are unimagitive person,take off your blinders,then you can see!

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

How is this his fault?

Sounds like the city commission is more to blame here to me.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 1 month ago

Why I am not surprised??? This is good ol Lawrence, Kansas.

alfie 6 years, 1 month ago

The roof out front looks to me like it's going to be a place for a lot of bird roosting. It will be fun walking under this roof

guess_again 6 years, 1 month ago

good point. Wasn't that a problem with the old SWB/AT&T microwave tower across the street? I'm trying to remember if they screened everything up or what they did.

sr80 6 years, 1 month ago

for all you nay sayers what do you think about just paving over south park and have a elevated overpass for the patrons to use.sounds peachy keen to me.whatda think?

rubberband 6 years, 1 month ago

I propose we add a bidet to each and every parking space. We just don't have enough of these downtown. After all, we have one opportunity to do this.

Shelbyrules 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree with previous posters. Wasn't the T (which I'm not completely against, and yes I have used it ) supposed (in part) to decrease traffic congestion "downtown". Yet here we are getting ready to build a bigger parking garage.... to encourage people to drive downtown? This is unbelievable. As my mom used to scream at me "It's the stereo or the TV, not both"

Melinda Black 6 years, 1 month ago

The consistent sour grapes on the LJ World forums do not reflect the will of the voters at the polls, thankfully.

I commend the far-sightedness and flexibility of our city commissioners to consider this expansion. Parking is a chronic problem in that area. It is challenging to find a spot in the summer when the pool is open. Adding on now makes sense if it saves money down the road. I'm also pleased to see that the additional source of funds will not come in the form of another increase in the mill levy.

Again, I appreciate the thoughtful consideration that is being given to the decisions. Keep up the good work folks.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

  1. Turnout is generally very low.
  2. Many voters voted for this expansion without really understanding it, or how it was paid for, in my opinion.
  3. There were a variety of other, much cheaper options that would have helped with the parking issue.
  4. One way or another, we have to pay for this - whatever other funds are spent on it won't be available for what they might have been used for instead.

Melinda Black 6 years, 1 month ago

--"1. Turnout is generally very low."

Yes, I agree. I'd definitely say the turnout was low for those opposed to the library expansion.

--2. Many voters voted for this expansion without really understanding it, or how it was paid for, in my opinion.

It seems rather condescending to claim voters don't understand the expansion just because they don't share your point of view.

--"3. There were a variety of other, much cheaper options that would have helped with the parking issue."

Could you please share some viable examples? I'm not willing to take your word for it without some backing.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

The overall turnout for elections is low - thus the results can't be said to be the "voice of the people".

Maybe, but that's my opinion - one of the people I spoke with didn't know it would be paid for by a tax increase, and many spoke of increased educational opportunities, despite the fact that more computers and parking were the major reasons given by the library. Also, the library wanted to achieve the highest accreditation, while there are multiple levels - but I think many people thought if they didn't vote for this, it would "lose it's accreditation", which is untrue.

I and others have suggested for many years that the city could use existing space for site-specific annexes - computer use and meeting rooms, for example. This would free up space and parking space at the current location, wouldn't need expanded staff or checkout capacity at the annex. And it could be done with minimal outlay, and I imagine low rental rates (there are many vacant spaces at the Tanger mall, for one).

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

I was against this investment because I thought it was irresponsible, but I don't think guys like Cromwell are smart or experienced enough to have pulled a con on us. I think it is more a case of immaturity or mismanagement of public funds or a public position. The backdrop is our country's $14 Trillion debt so you would think people would be more careful when it comes to spending public money and raising taxes to pay for things we don't need. You would think.

But I also believe that once you decide to do something, you have to do it right. You cannot half-ass things that we are going to be invested in for the next 20 years. Whether I like how this went down or not, I want the job done right and Corliss is a smart and talented guy. I am keeping an open mind.

antney 6 years, 1 month ago

Parking lots can be dead space. this project would have positive ROI if we find creative ways to use it. This NYTimes article talks about putting solar panels on parking lots as a way to save on energy cost.

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

What do you bet the parking won't be free?????

guess_again 6 years, 1 month ago

And why should it be? Meter revenues are be needed for other future parking needs, unless you are suggesting even that you want to use more general fund for this purpose, which I know you don't.

Heck, they ought to double meter rates as far as I am concerned.

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

Because essentially it will be double taxation ding dongs. Property tax increase to pay for the boondoggle then charge the citizens to park there after they paid for it in the first place.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 1 month ago

Doesn't take a rocket scientist, does it BigPrune? lol THEY'RE SLIMY!! (hope the correct spelling makes someone happy!)

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

Isn't this how all downtown parking works? Or perhaps you argue that parking meters should not exist anywhere, because it is ding dong double taxation.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Alstrom recently rejoined the forum, alledgedly to discuss issues related to his candidacy.

It has now been T H R E E days, and Mr. Alstrom has posted absolutely no views on two issues of some Lawrence city commission interest: 1) the Dillons variance issue, and 2) the story about possible expanded parking at the library.

Yet he has time to post again and again about how he is being terribly wronged by Whitney and Jonathan (who did nothing but afford him the forum). He has time to write about how he can not discuss issues on the forum. What!?!?


Please fully publish your views, Sven. You wanted a forum. You wanted to "shake things up." These are, according to you, your your alleged areas of expertise (architecture & planning)! Tell us Sven, your views as a candidate for city commission, about something other than the athletic fields.

Stop diddling around, pull your pants on, and tell us your views. And stop your complaining about your treatment.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry. His history here is long. How would I know if I differ with him on issues, when he won't even express his views? Asking him to post them is hardly an attack. He is the candidate, not me. And I am not a chamber member.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

Funny, the other candidates are not here whining about their inability to discuss issues. Sven is. He was invited back on the forum to give voice to his views. That is the difference.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

Yet another day, and still no discussion about a city commission topic from the candidate Sven Alstrom who cries to the LJW about his inability to discuss topics..... Yet he is here posting on all sorts of other topics....

What about this issue, Mr. Alstrom?

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