Archive for Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sandrats still hope to build memorial in North Lawrence

July 25, 2013


Organizers of the North Lawrence sandrat memorial hope to get it built after all, after a lack of interest and funding has thus far delayed the project.

"Sandrat" was once used as a derogatory term to describe North Lawrencians, who over time came to embrace the moniker. The term's origins range from the colorful to, literally, the rats in the sand along the Kansas River.

The sandrats have annual reunions that draw a few hundred people to North Lawrence on the first Saturday of June. A few years back, some of them approached local artist Elden Tefft to build a sandrat sculpture. He began creating Sandy the Sandrat to act as the group's official mascot.

Scale model of proposed sandrat memorial plaza in North Lawrence

Scale model of proposed sandrat memorial plaza in North Lawrence

Reunion organizers later proposed housing the sculpture in a plaza on the north bank of the river, east of the Massachusetts Street bridge. The 3-foot bronze sculpture would stand on a curved limestone bench that would span 12 feet and rest on a large oval containing memorial bricks. Organizers started selling bricks to former sandrats for $100 apiece.

Thirty-seven people bought bricks, but that didn't get the memorial committee close to a goal of $10,000, the estimated cost of the platform. But after not hearing an update for a while, some of the purchasers got concerned, even contacting the Journal-World to look into the matter.

"We are still planning on going ahead with the sandrat memorial," committee member Patty Breithaupt said this week. "But it depends on if we get more money and more people involved."

The committee has applied for a grant and is investigating other funding opportunities in the community. Members are hoping for support from other sandrats, local civic organizations and the community at large.

People who purchased bricks can request their money back by calling or writing committee members. The committee also plans to send letters to the brick buyers explaining the situation and the options for getting refunds.

Breithaupt said organizers of the project have always had good intentions, namely to celebrate North Lawrence.

"It started out well, but the interest hasn't been there," she lamented. "We're still hoping it happens."


Ogallala_Kid 4 years, 10 months ago

I bet the new casino will give them the money.

George_Braziller 4 years, 10 months ago

The engraved brick idea has been over done and never has been a successful fundraising idea.

nick_s 4 years, 10 months ago

With all the money being doled out by the city we couldnt get a little bit for this group? According to the city commission things will be looking up in 2014, so keep your fingers crossed Sandrats. I would have thought that with all of the progressive artsy folks here in town it would have been a breeze getting funding, either private or public.

jack22 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe the city should just set up a special tax district in North Lawrence to pay for this memorial. Once the project has been paid for the city could keep the special tax district in place and funnel the new revenue stream to the usual beneficiaries, Compton and Fritzel, to ensure that their next high rise apartment complex is economically feasible.

Ginny Hedges 4 years, 10 months ago

Why does this memorial have to be so big? Why couldn't the sandrat sculpture been put in or around the depot with a small plaque about the history of North Lawrence? A lot of people who live or lived in North Lawrence in the past couldn't afford a $100 brick anyway, so they should have scaled down the project knowing that.

As for the "sandrat", I honestly can't tell what kind of animal it is supposed to be. Knowing a lot of sandrats, I think a cute sandrat would draw more interest along the lines of the RatFink only a happy version with a T-shirt "I love North Lawrence", but that is just my thought. I wish I had known when the planning was going on so I could have suggested it. It has been more than 2 years since they started, so I am afraid if they don't have interest yet, it may not happen. I wish them good luck on the project though and hope it gets finished.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 10 months ago

Suspicious Activity Report or Sons of the American Revolution, I vote for the former.

patkindle 4 years, 10 months ago

put a basket ball in his hands, paint it red and blue, money will be no problem

nick_s 4 years, 10 months ago

Haa ha. Couldnt have said it any better.

Maracas 4 years, 10 months ago

What exactly are they memorializing with their projected memorial?

woodscolt 4 years, 10 months ago

"Sandrat Casino" anyone? Cures everything. Now, just exactly what was sand rat?

littlebit1313 4 years, 10 months ago

I have lived in N Lawrence a lot of years and have found it to be one of the best places but I have no idea why they want to build this thing. Sorry

patkindle 4 years, 10 months ago

sad to say too many folks are in a fog about this the journal world has had some articles about the artist and memorial perhaps too many tokes on the old bong??

nick_s 4 years, 10 months ago

If they get the money to get it built I don't see how it could do any harm. Its no different than any of the other outdoor sculptures & gardens, etc. In a city like Lawrence you would think people would be welcoming more art & public gathering places. If this is truly art could be up for debate, but they do have an artist commissioned for the piece, so it is art to somebody.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 10 months ago

In memory of.....absolutely nothing. Cool. Put up a statue and suddenly the city might declare it historic and before you know it your house is for sale via eminent domain.

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