There are databases out there that will tell you what brand of pants Lawrence men between the ages of 40 and 55 years of age are most likely to purchase.
“It is kind of 1984-ish,” Tom Kern, president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, told city commissioners on Tuesday.
It also might be the kind of thing city commissioners are willing to spend money on in the future. Maybe.
Commissioners at their weekly meeting received a report from the city’s Retail Task Force that recommended the city pursue creating a detailed database that would provide important statistics about the Lawrence market to local retailers.
“This is the same type of data that is used by national retailers, quite honestly,” said Commissioner Rob Chestnut, who also was the chair of the task force. “We think this might help level the playing field for local retailers.”
Commissioners agreed to have the task force put together a request for proposals that would allow consultants to give the city price estimates for creating and maintaining such a database. But commissioners also said the project would have to compete for funding against a host of other priorities in the city’s 2012 budget. The database is expected to cost anywhere from $10,000 to more than $50,000.
The task force — comprised of local retailers, chamber leaders and commercial real estate professionals — also recommended the city explore facilitating joint advertising opportunities for retailers, Kansas University, the chamber, Downtown Lawrence and others. It also recommends that the city consider funding a new position — perhaps within the chamber — that would be dedicated to helping local retailers expand and prosper. But the report specifically says a new position shouldn’t try to recruit retailers from outside the community since that could create questions about whether local government is spending money to attract competitors to local businesses.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners:
• Directed staff members to hold a public meeting with residents of the Miller/Wells Acres neighborhood about annexing that rural neighborhood into the city limits. The meeting likely will be in March, and would be the first of many steps needed to move forward on annexation.
• Agreed to rezone 51 acres of property at the southwest corner of N 1800 Road and E 1000 Road to general industrial. Commissioners previously had given preliminary approval to the rezoning. Commissioners approved it on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Aron Cromwell opposed. He had wanted it to be rezoned to a lesser industrial category after several neighbors previously expressed concerns.
• Approved a $394,170 contract with Bartlett & West Engineers to design the reconstruction of Iowa Street from Harvard Road to the Irving Hill Overpass.