Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Town Talk: Dillons seeks permission to park cars in vacant lot for grand opening; pawn shop set to open along South Iowa Street; Busker Fest to return to downtown Lawrence in late August

July 17, 2012


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News and notes from around town:

• Well, the speculation we reported yesterday that Dillons hopes to open its new store near 17th and Mass. by mid-August appears to be correct.

But here’s a twist for you: The store is requesting to use a grassy lot along New Hampshire for “overflow parking” for the first couple of weeks of the store’s operations.

Dillons has filed for a special event permit at City Hall related to its grand opening of the new store. The permit lists the dates as Aug. 12 through Aug. 26 (Note:This is different than what we reported earlier. Dillons submitted a revised requests with new dates.) But the store also is seeking city approval to use the vacant lot that currently is just east of the Kwik Shop store at 19th and Mass. The grassy lot would be used to park employee and vendor vehicles during the first couple of weeks of the store’s opening.

According to the city planner who is reviewing the application, Dillons intends for the overflow parking strictly to be a temporary matter. The company is planning to overstock the store with staff members during the grand opening period, and several vendors are expected to be on site as well. The larger-than-usual number of employees that will be at the store created concern that there wouldn't be enough room for customers to park in the main lot.

As we noted yesterday, Dillons did receive a city variance to have a smaller than normal parking lot for its new store. The city allowed the lot to be about 20 spaces smaller than what city code called for.

Neighbors who live near the empty lot at the corner of 19th and New Hampshire may want to get used to more activity there anyway. Kwik Shop, which is owned by Dillons, has filed plans at City Hall to build a larger convenience store at 19th and Mass. Much of the new store would extend eastward toward New Hampshire Street onto the empty lot. Plans for that larger Kwik Shop are still under review at City Hall.

As for the special event permit, city commissioners will have to approve the idea of overflow parking. That issue could be heard by the commission as soon as next week.

• Perhaps it is all this talk of parking a vehicle in a grassy lot, but my Bubba radar is starting to chirp. Or perhaps it is this awe-inspiring combination: a pawn shop next to a barbecue joint.

Yes indeed, such sweet synergy is coming to South Iowa Street. Former Jayhawk Pawn and Jewelry employee Jeff Neal has filed the necessary paperwork to open Sunflower Pawn and Jewelry at 2429 Iowa. That will put the store next to Biggs BBQ.

My understanding is Neal is finishing some interior work on the store and will open soon. But Neal didn’t want to provide any other details about the store at the moment.

The pawn business is an interesting one to follow right now. There are plenty of people in need of some quick cash, and gold jewelry — long a staple of pawn shops — has exploded in value. Heck, for that matter, firearms — another frequent pawn item — have done pretty well too. Whatever it is, business appears to be good in Lawrence. Jayhawk Pawn and Jewelry, as we previously reported, undertook a major expansion of its shop at 1804 W. Sixth St.

As for the new business on South Iowa Street, I’ll have to check it out. Just think: Peruse used tools, firearms and guitars, then take a few steps down the shopping center and get filled up on pulled pork and baked beans. If that doesn’t sound like a date night, I don’t know what does.

• You know what will start showing up in pawn shops here in another month or so? Partially used swallowing swords. It seems like they always start to show up shortly after the Busker Fest has left downtown Lawrence. I guess some folks find that, although it is definitely a hobby with a point, it just isn’t quite right for them.

All this is to say that the Busker Fest indeed is coming back to downtown Lawrence for its fifth year. The event is set for Aug. 24 through Aug. 26. It looks like there will be five stages up and running during most of the three-day event, which attracts a host of unique street performers to downtown.

This year it looks like there will be, among others, some aerial artists, fire dancers, jugglers, contortionists and a performer who produces something called “human organic music.”

City commissioners at their meeting this afternoon (special start time of 3 p.m.) are scheduled to approve the closure of the 100 blocks of East Eighth Street and East 10th Street for stage areas, and also the sidewalk area and parking stalls in front of the U.S. Bank Tower at 900 Mass.

I’m not sure the Buskers will even make a presentation at today’s City Commission meeting, but I’ll be there, and — trust me — I’ll be keeping an ear out for “human organic music.”


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 9 months ago

'Buskerville' has a nice ring to it.

Is the 'Cluster Fest' before or after the "Busker Fest" this year?


Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 9 months ago

Isn't Buskerfest just taking the people of Freestate Brewery's front porch and giving them a trashcan lid to bang on?


traveler12 1 year, 9 months ago

I must be in the minority but I strongly feel that "Busker Fest" is a major blight on the downtown and an embarrassment to the community. How a city like this began approving and hosting an event like that is beyond me. It's like state sponsorship of homelessness and panhandling. In New York City, you have to get a license from the city to panhandle/busker. Should be no different here.


tanaumaga 1 year, 9 months ago

I drive past Dillon's to go to Hy-Vee. .... that's just my preference. Does anybody know why the city allowed Dillon's parking lot to be short twenty parking spaces? Are there any other city codes that Dillon's was allowed to skate by on?


christiangirl93 1 year, 9 months ago

Funny how some of you think that Dillons is the most expensive place to get groceries. If you are a Dillons card holder you can get some great deals. Checkers might be the cheapest but Dillons has so much more variety and stuff than checkers can hold a candle too. that other grocery store that I haven't mentioned is the most expensive.


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 9 months ago

Jayhawk pawn- or as I know it, "Jayhawk Retail". Someone needs to tell that place that they are a pawn shop. The last time I wandered through there they had used guitars priced higher than they run NEW online. No, Jayhawk Pawn, you can't charge $200 for a dinged up Korean Squier Strat.


Antonym 1 year, 9 months ago

Is St John still the home of the worlds smallest Dillons?


consumer1 1 year, 9 months ago

WHy does everything have to show a net gain? Well,,, because the price of water, sewage, trash pickup, taxes for housing, Increased gas prices, etc etc. etc. To spend money like this is only going to promote one small section of business owner's in town, and I suspect the city is spending quite a bit of money to do this. Increased police, emergency personel, shutting downtown traffic off.

Why does the city need to raise my taxes and then spend money on foolishness like this?


MacHeath 1 year, 9 months ago

Good deal Jeff! I quit going to Jayhawk pawn when they instituted the "preferred-customer" card. I figured I had spent enough money in there, that I should have already been a preferred customer. Glad there will be another pawn shop to go too.


frankfussman 1 year, 9 months ago

Ask Cottin's about all this. They are already pushed by Kwik Shop.


irvan moore 1 year, 9 months ago

i think having permanent employee parking at 19th and new hampshire for the dillons store employees would be even better, 30 or so cars is a big chunk out of that stores lot and i don't think the neighborhood should have to put up with the cars parked on the narrow streets


Keith Richards 1 year, 9 months ago

I missed it in the article where it said the city is spending anything on buskerfest. I am not saying they are not, but it really isn't clear to me that they are.


clovis_sangrail 1 year, 9 months ago

I thought a busker was a person who entertained in a public place for donations. Why does the city have to spend anything? This isn't busking. It's a subsidized crowd draw for downtown businesses.

Too bad the climate downtown isn't more conducive to real buskers. All we get are two-chord howlers or some homeless guy pounding on upended pickle barrels taking up the spots that could be used by real musicians.

I would suggest that the city issue busking licenses.


consumer1 1 year, 9 months ago

What is the net financial gain for the city promoting the "busker fest"?


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