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Archive for Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Letter: Not so bad

May 8, 2013

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To the editor:

Lawrence must be a terrible place to live. “Lawrence almost dead last in economic survey,” shouts the headline. Lawrence is ranked 178 out of 179 metro areas, says one detail; 339th out of 366, says another. We must really be miserable here. Thank goodness our newly elected Lawrence United commissioners vow they will save us and “reverse recent negative trends” that have, presumably, prevented developers from getting everything they’ve asked for from the city.

And yet— is Lawrence really all that blighted and backward? To answer, compare it to the other cities that so soundly beat us on these lists of economy indicators. Would you really rather live in St Joseph? Joplin? Or for that matter Topeka? Uhhh … no thanks.

It seems to me there is a disconnect going on here. Although economic development is one component of a prosperous community, it is hardly the only one. Unless you think Lawrence is the dump these economic indicators would suggest, it apparently it isn’t even the primary one. If Topeka is supposed to be the shining example of how we could improve Lawrence, I think I’ll pass. Besides, don’t forget that study from a while back that proves that, in economic terms, the smartest strategy for economic development in a community is to convince retirees to move to here, not manufacturing industries.

I suggest we keep a close eye on our new city commissioners, particularly when it comes to offering tax breaks and other giveaways that benefit the few while sending the bill to the many.

Comments

jafs 11 months, 1 week ago

For some years, my wife and I used our vacations to check out other towns across the country to see if we might want to move.

We found smaller towns that had lower costs of living, but fewer restaurants that we liked, less arts/culture, and a less diverse population.

We also found larger towns that had more restaurants, arts/culture, etc. but also more "urban grit".

And, we found college towns that had about the same set of positives and negatives that Lawrence has.

Lawrence isn't perfect, but my particular take on what could and should be improved wouldn't be improved by more growth - it might be improved by better maintenance of what we have, and by greater demand by residents for quality services.

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kansanbygrace 11 months, 1 week ago

One hundred and seven jobs, widely varied, in today's paper alone. Got a problem, toe? Get off yer ..er..uh...chair...quit complaining and if there are any you might feel qualified for, give them a call.

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toe 11 months, 1 week ago

Who cares about jobs? Not well fed government workers who keep their boot on the neck of nongovernmental workers.

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kansanbygrace 11 months, 1 week ago

Oops, how could I forget to mention: The loudest Field House imaginable, KU Hoops, and the best Marching Band in the whole world.

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kansanbygrace 11 months, 1 week ago

I agree with Larry. I've been here since the mid-60's, with excursions to work in several corners of the US. (and 6 other countries) Lawrence is pretty swell.

As far as restaurants, the Free State, La Parilla, TerraBon, Mirth, Zen Zero, Patchamamas, the Orient, the fancy burger place, are all real restaurants with varied menus and all within a walk of easy and cheap/free parking. There are others in other parts of town. I'm not attracted to chain fare of any sort. There are quality groceries available in several parts of town, the Farmers' Markets, Checkers, Merc; and others are all around.

Fiddlin and Pickin' is an absolute gas. There are a few popular music venues to choose from, the Arts Center offers varied programming, the Lied Center is very, very good, the University orchestras, bands, and theater, Lawrence City Band, Lawrence Community Theater are very high quality compared to those of any of the Missouri or Kansas towns with higher "economic growth statistics".

As mentioned above, both Nascar and SCCA tracks within a half-hour. Perry Lake, Clinton Lake, Lone Star, nice swimming opportunities, indoor and out. Sailing, skiing, fishing.

I don't get the fascination with chain restaurants. If I get a hankerin, there's beautiful Olathe to meander around in, or beautiful Topeka, or the more suburban splendor of Ottawa. I get my fill of Atlanta and Miami, New York and Boston, LA or Phoenix in about 4 days and am always glad to be back in Lawrence. (SF takes a little longer, but it gets old, too.)

And in Lawrence, there are an abundance of intelligent, educated, productive and interesting people of every persuasion. More of a rarity in the other towns mentioned.

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bevy 11 months, 1 week ago

I despair of our civilization when lack of White Castle and Chuck E. Cheese are listed as reasons that a city is going down the tubes. If you want all that crap, move to JoCo! I don't live in Lawrence but I work here, and the city is growing too fast for my tastes, and not in good ways. More cookie cutter houses, apartments and townhomes. More twisty disorganized residential streets. If more of that means good growth, then count me out! Higher taxes, worse streets. Prices are ridiculous, housing prices in particular. I don't know how blue collar families afford to live here at all.

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tomatogrower 11 months, 1 week ago

Good letter. If you don't like Lawrence move to Topeka or Ottawa. Western Kansas would be good. Of course, if you have kids no one knows what is going to happen to their schools as more cuts are made.

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reality_check79 11 months, 1 week ago

Living here for a few years I have to agree with these stats. Lawrence is far behind most cities of its size is many areas. I keep seeing comments about "buy local", "keep national chains out", and the complaining anytime something gets built (granted, anything built seems to go to the same few pockets) in this town. Corruption and the "good ol'boy" system of city govt. is killing this city. Invite national chains into town! Create jobs, more tax revenue, and the city can grow the way it should. Get the bypass built already. Having to drive through town and not being able to stop anywhere because turning left on 23 with no light is near impossible during the day has to end. Last but not least, how in the world can this town have 3 taco freaking johns and not let other national chains in? Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Hardees, Chucky Cheese, White Castle (my vote), even a Golden Coral, Lowes, Old Navy back, entertainment district other than Mass, new theater,and 2 miles of river banks (not saying all of it) currently covered in trash that could be used to build a few if these needed upgrades to Lawrence. Stopping Menards just cost Lawrence more jobs! I understand the desire to stay small however, it is killing this town.

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stranger_na_strangeland 11 months, 1 week ago

Like I have commented before, I moved here 6 months ago because I investigated and found that I would probably like Lawrence. My move had nothing to do with the Universities and Colleges in and around Lawrence. Would I have considered any place else in Kansas? Absolutely not. Outside of Kansas, Kansas has a tremendous image problem. The opportunity exists in Lawrence to have a community similar to Research Triangle Park or the Triangle in North Carolina. That entire area was founded and envisioned as a magnet for intellect by a few visionaries on a sort of mission. One visionary, a wealthy inventor, was angry that outsiders portrayed the people in that area as "backwoods". So he did something about it, he enlisted help, next you have Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, Campbell, etc. Several more Universities arose out of this dream. The opportunity is in Kansas, it just needs better leadership. Keeping things in the 1800's (with the worst roads I have ever seen in relation to the taxes paid), is not the answer. If you want retirees and you do not have 300 sunny days, no beach, no mountains, then you need to sell your attitude. North Carolina did it without all these weather and geography influences, so can Lawrence. Forget surrounding Kansas, do not be influenced by an outdated view of life. Build a golf course, that usually works, retirement villages, where grandma can feel safe in Kansas, sell yourself like NC, in an area with not much in the "lure" category.

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msezdsit 11 months, 1 week ago

The sky is falling scenario presented concerning economic woes is simply posturing by the build something even if we don't need it crowd. Lawrence is doing quite alright.

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Lynn731 11 months, 1 week ago

I totally agree. They go out of their way to run off businesses that would keep people from going to Kansas City or Topeka to buy what they need. No retiree in their right mind would move to Lawrence. After some 20 years of fighting about an extension of K-10, which has been needed for a long time, it still isn't built and may never be. The sales tax is too high, as well as the cost of living in Lawrence. I could go on, but the companies that placed Lawrence way down on the lists cited in the article above agree with us. Their business is making these determinations, and when two of them agree someone had better listen !!

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skinny 11 months, 1 week ago

We need a change of Government in this City. That is the problem. Look at all the business's they turn away year after year (jobs lost). We were lucky to get a Wal-Mart on 6th Street! But only after our fine city commissioners fought them with a bunch of OUR money!!

Wake up City Commissioners!!

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