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.”


consumer1 5 years, 11 months ago

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

joes_donuts 5 years, 11 months ago

Why does everything have to be a net gain? Can we not spend money to have fun?

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 11 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.

local_support 5 years, 11 months ago

A "subsidized crowd draw" attracts shoppers, which translates into more sales tax being collected, which ends up in the city coffers.

I don't understand how downtown isn't conducive to real buskers. There is plenty of room for performers to set up shop if they want. And why do we need busking licenses?

irvan moore 5 years, 11 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

local_support 5 years, 11 months ago

Neighborhoods are certainly allowed to voice their concerns about increased traffic on their streets, or anything else that is happening in close proximity to them.

Frank A Janzen 5 years, 11 months ago

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

George_Braziller 5 years, 11 months ago

Tom has put up signs and fences to prohibit Kwik Shop from using his parking lot and driveway for parking and deliveries to the store.

This is a battle that has been going on for more than a year.

Keith 5 years, 11 months ago

You shouldn't have to take this, I suggest you move to a town that doesn't have as much fun. Lecompton is close.

local_support 5 years, 11 months ago

Good point Consumer. The Commissioner's meeting starts at 3 pm today so you still have time to get down there and voice your concerns regarding this issue. Please let us know how it goes.

appleaday 5 years, 11 months ago

I work 8 to 10 hour days five days a week and I like the Busker fest. Quit stereotyping. I don't think the city is paying anything for this. You might check it out some time and see what it actually is. It's a great activity for families with children that doesn't cost a lot of money. I actually don't care for the increased taxpayer costs associated with football game days, but that's the price I pay for choosing to live in a college town. It's all part of living in a community, consumer1 -- we all sometimes get our way and sometimes we don't. It's called compromise.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 11 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.

christiangirl93 5 years, 11 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.

angelmom 5 years, 11 months ago

why should you have to use a card to get the BEST price. The price should be the same for everyone who walks through the door. They are only tracking what you buy, do you really want to be tracked like that! And that store you "haven't" mentioned has great deals, and very friendly employees. Can't say that about those "OTHER" stores that I wouldn't mention!

Jean Robart 5 years, 11 months ago

I can't afford Dillon's regular prices. The Dillon's card only brings items a little closer to what they should be pricewise. I do most of my shopping at Wal Mart and Aldi's with some spent at Hy Vee. The prices of stuff at Dillon's is sometimes significant higher than the exact same items at WalMart. I'm not stupid, just watching my money closely. I prefer to spend my limited dollars where I can get the best choice at the best price. Dillon's doesn't make it. Aldi's may have their own brands, but many of their brands are better than name brand stuff.

George_Braziller 5 years, 11 months ago

Even after the new Dillon's opens I'll still only use it as a well-stocked convenience store when I only need an onion in the middle of cooking and realize I'm out of an ingredient I need.

Rest of the time I'll drive past it and go to Checkers because the produce and meat departments put all of the Dillon's stores to shame. Better quality and always less expensive.

Matt Schwartz 5 years, 11 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?

angelmom 5 years, 11 months ago

Good question, why the special allowance? The city never bends on these kind of rules!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

Yea, I'm really pissed off that there isn't a single grocery in town where I can park my ICBM carrier when I run out for a pint of milk.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

What a bizarre idea - this was clearly done by Dillon's so that they can build a larger store, and has nothing to do with "greenies".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

jafs, you need to get your black-and-white lenses adjusted.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

"How a city like this began approving and hosting an event like that is beyond me. "

Not everyone feels the need to lead a boring and sterilized life.

George_Braziller 5 years, 11 months ago

So drunken chaos after a basket ball game is OK? I think THAT is an embarrassment.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 11 months ago

It provides for a night of free, unusual, family entertainment. That's pretty nice right now. I for one will take my family every year.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

What would you and your friends at Applebee's do with those trash can lids? (regardless, I can guarantee that no one would find it entertaining.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

'Cluster Fest'

Isn't every day Cluster Fest day in your world?

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