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Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2011

City Commission OKs closing part of Mass. St. for car show

June 8, 2011

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It will be a hot rod show and probably the subject of hot debate.

City commissioners on Tuesday night agreed to close down the portion of Massachusetts Street that runs through South Park on Oct. 8 for the Rev it Up! Hot Rod Hullaballoo, which will serve as a fundraiser for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Commissioners approved the closing on a 3-2 vote despite Downtown Lawrence Inc. formally objecting to the plan, citing concerns that closing the street on a Saturday would make it difficult for shoppers to get downtown.

But supporters of the event, which is expected to raise $5,000 to $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters, argued the event would bring new people to downtown, who likely would stay most of the day and into the evening.

Narrowly, that argument won the day at City Hall. Mayor Aron Cromwell and Commissioners Hugh Carter and Mike Dever supported the proposal.

“My gut just tells me that events like this are good for downtown,” Dever said.

Dever and Carter also said they were underwhelmed by information presented by Downtown Lawrence Inc. that recommended against the street closure. Both Carter and Dever noted that a representative with Big Brothers Big Sisters received signatures of support for the event from 22 of the 25 downtown businesses that it approached. Downtown Lawrence Inc., Carter and Dever noted, didn’t do a full survey of its membership.

“I would like to hear from more than just a few downtown merchants say they are against this,” Carter said.

Commissioner Mike Amyx and Bob Schumm, who both own businesses on Massachusetts Street, voted against the street closure.

“Unless these events really, really work and bring in a lot of people, it is hard to capture the amount of money these businesses lose by having the street closed on a Saturday,” said Amyx, who owns a barber shop.

Both Amyx and Schumm — and Downtown Lawrence Inc. — said they would be more supportive of the request if the event were for a Sunday. But Stephen Chronister, an organizer of the event, said they feared moving the event to a Sunday would greatly reduce the number of car owners who would participate.

Comments

somebodynew 2 years, 10 months ago

To me another example of why we need to change the antiquated system of commissioners. We need to add a couple more and have them elected by districts or divisions of the City. Let us start have all areas of town represented, so that when (if in the case of Lawrence) you vote, you are voting so that your area has a representative that (hopefully) will balance your area's need with the overall City.

Also I am beginning to think that people who live close to the City's limits should have a say. There have been several decisions about annexing land and developement proprosals that wind up in front of the City Commission and we don't have a say as to who is on the Commission.

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slowplay 2 years, 10 months ago

22 of 25 downtown businesses gave their support. What's the issue?

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papakeno 2 years, 10 months ago

Bring it on!! These are the kind of events that pull outside interests and give the locals options to stay in town. Funny, the DLI was against this, but was all for last fall's thursday evening KU Football pep rallies. Oh thats right, they sponsored and promoted those events. BTW, they were a complete flop. As I remember, the DLI was pretty vocal about stopping the meddling hot dog vendors. Ah, the hot dog vendors.........good guys.

Anyways, sounds like fun and look forward to the rocking hot rod show!

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Bob Forer 2 years, 10 months ago

Mike Amyx is a hypocritical, intellectually dishonest slug. He has stated he will not vote on the Olive Garden proposal because his parents sold one of the four lots in the deal to the developer, and therefore has a conflict of interest. The conflict is tenuous, as the deal between the developer and his parents was consummated some time ago. His downtown barbershop ownership is much more clearly a conflict of interest, yet he sees fit to vote on whether Mass Street should be closed for the car show. A real piece of work, that Amyx, if you ask mer.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 10 months ago

They are CLUELESS! Now here is food for thought: Read my wilbur lips.

If Amyx is going to abstain from Olive Garden voting because his family has an interest in property needed for the project, then why isn't Amyx abstaining from the Downtown issues. Likewise the same for Schumm? Both should have abstained, they would have saved "face" and the three voted yes, would have carried the motion.

kInda like the days of Commissioner Kennedy not abstaining on a project where they would have installed glass. After all, 4 votes would have carried those motions.

Amateur professionals all in need of guidance from one Oscar Goodman.

:)

Schumm and Amxy need to rescind their votes!

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 10 months ago

It's a no brainer agan. Schumm and Amyx should bring a motion forward to allow anyone who wants to serve food in South Park to do so, with buying a $150.00 permit for the day. Afer all, the park does belong to the public and there is no reason that Schumm or Amyx for that matter cannot sell food and cut hair in the park.

What a bunch of narrow minded business people.

If Schmm and Amyx had really had their thinking hats on, they would have had all the parking spaces on Mass used for the car display. Now that would bring the people to their precious downtown. As for the lack of revenue? How much is lost when a nickel and a dime is charged for parking.

Yes, they are amateur professionals.

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CreatureComforts 2 years, 10 months ago

I really don't see what all the hullaballoo is about.

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irvan moore 2 years, 10 months ago

mr. amyx and mr. schumm should realize that just because an event doesn't benefit their business doesn't mean that it's bad for Lawrence. they are supposed to represent all of us in this community, not just the interests of downtown.

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jesse499 2 years, 10 months ago

If you want to see what a car show like this will do just ask Ottawa they have been doing one for years and loving it .Of course there a 2nd class city that doesn't have its nose in the air like Lawrence does most of the time over things like this.You know like car shows .country Music concerts and so on yuc.

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Steven Gaudreau 2 years, 10 months ago

It makes sense that Dever would know whats better for downtown business then the two who voted against the plan that have about 50 yrs of downtown business owning experience.

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grimpeur 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem is that if there is even the tiniest perception that shoppers may not get a spot to park their cars within 10 feet of any retail door they want, they just throw up their hands and say, "Oh! Woe is me! I might have to walk a block or three!" The problem is not that the street is closed. The problem is the sacred cow of personal autos, that people claim to have difficulty getting downtown and parking, and that the slightest restriction on automobile usage causes such wailing.

How can you shop on Mass if you can't park on Mass? Easy.

You park a block away and walk.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

It's events like this that bring me downtown. Art in the Park, parades, band concerts. Love 'em.

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whitecho 2 years, 10 months ago

It's a pretty wide street. Perhaps close half of it & use the other half for traffic. Just a thought.

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somebodynew 2 years, 10 months ago

"Both Carter and Dever noted that a representative with Big Brothers Big Sisters received signatures of support for the event from 22 of the 25 downtown businesses that it approached. Downtown Lawrence Inc., Carter and Dever noted, didn’t do a full survey of its membership. "

Doesn't sound like ALL of the downtown merchants were against this and gee...DLI did not do the proper homework. Who wouda thunk that?????

I am guessing that Amyx and Schumm were just going with DLI since they are members. I would hope both of them would not be that stupid on their own. I really believe sometimes DLI is downtown's worst problem.

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kusadgirl 2 years, 10 months ago

Hmmmm Papa Keno's. Maybe the best pizza in Lawrence.

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Armored_One 2 years, 10 months ago

Imagine that...

The two dissenting votes being those that have businesses downtown, one of those businesses not being a real high priority for a car show, namely the barber shop.

I'm willing to bet that the eateries downtown will definately have a higher influx of people, especially places like Papa Keno's and Buffal Wild Wings. Maybe that's part of why Schumm wasn't thrilled at the prospect. His business is at the far end of downtown, comparative to where this car show will be held.

Besides, it's for one day, from what I read in the article. If your business can't survive for one day on lower income, then maybe you have bigger problems than just that one day. I will admit that parking will likely become an issue, unless the city opens up the garage, fully and completely, so that people attending the carshow have a place to park without filling up downtown.

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make_a_difference 2 years, 10 months ago

It's not like Mass. Street will be closed 6th thru 13th streets. Now THAT would make access difficult. :-)

Though not impossible if one really wanted to get downtown :-)

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make_a_difference 2 years, 10 months ago

The reasoning behind the objection of the Lawrence Downtown, Inc just doesn't make sense to me. Closing Mass. Street between 11th & 13th Streets still leaves plenty of access to the downtown area. On the west, turning right off of Kentucky street on any street between 11th & 6th streets will take a person directly downtown. On the east, New Hampshire & Connecticut streets provide easy access to a number of east/west streets that also will take a person directly downtown. Coming across the bridge from the north? Well...there's Vermont street directly ahead...which also accesses east/west streets that will take you directly downtown. Just where is the difficulty getting downtown here?

Now...it stands to reason that this event will draw people who otherwise wouldn't be in downtown Lawrence. And it's likely these people will take time to venture into the actual downtown area...to enjoy themselves and possibly spend money. At the very least this event will raise much needed funds for a worthy cause. It will also provide an enjoyable venue for car enthusiasts. Both of which can bring about positive feelings towards Lawrences' downtown community. Which brings the opportunity for increased business for our downtown merchants, either on that day or on future days.

Again...the objection makes no sense to me.

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Bob Forer 2 years, 10 months ago

One would think that merchants would encourage events like this, which bring large crowds to the downtown area. ...... Those downtown merchants sure are fickle.

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