Archive for Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dever highlights Rock Chalk Park, SLT in State of the City address

April 1, 2014


Mike Dever

Mike Dever

Lawrence is about to move from an era of building infrastructure to a period of attracting new jobs and businesses, Lawrence’s outgoing mayor predicted Tuesday as part of the State of the City Address.

Mayor Mike Dever touted a host of infrastructure projects underway — ranging from the Rock Chalk Park sports complex to the $130 million South Lawrence Trafficway — that will spur growth in the future.

“As a commission, we’ve worked to build the infrastructure needed to take Lawrence to the next level in terms of economic development opportunities, and now it is time to deliver,” Dever said.

Dever ended his one-year term as mayor Tuesday but will remain on the board as a commissioner for another year. As expected, commissioners unanimously elected Commissioner Mike Amyx to serve a one-year term as mayor. Amyx, who is a downtown barber shop owner, has served five terms as mayor, dating back to 1985.

Commissioner Jeremy Farmer also was unanimously elected as vice-mayor. If tradition holds, Farmer will be in line to serve as mayor in April 2015.

The transition, however, was not without considerable noise. A young child pulled a fire alarm in City Hall shortly after the meeting began, and it rang for approximately a half hour. But since there was no fire present, the meeting continued.

During the State of the City address, Dever highlighted several projects that have moved forward under his tenure. They included:

• Approval of Rock Chalk Park, which will include a new city recreation center and private track and field, softball and soccer facilities that will be used by Kansas University when completed in September.

“Multiple challenges were solved with the creation of Rock Chalk Park, and our growing partnership with the University of Kansas was further strengthened,” said Dever, who was one of the chief proponents of the project.

• The opening of the Lawrence Community Shelter in a larger location on the eastern edge of the city. The location has removed the homeless shelter from downtown and has given the organization more room to focus on programs to help people out of homelessness, Dever said.

• Approval of a new, citywide curbside recycling program that will begin service in October.

• The opening of a new multilevel parking garage in the 700 block of Vermont Street, which was built as part of the Lawrence Public Library’s expansion project. The library project is still underway and is expected to be completed this summer.

• The beginning of construction work on the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway, which Dever said will greatly improve east-west traffic flow in the city and will help Lawrence land more economic development prospects.

• Continued infrastructure work on Lawrence Venture Park, which is the more than 200-acre industrial park on the site of the former Farmland Industries fertilizer plant in eastern Lawrence. Roadwork is expected to be completed this summer, and community officials have begun marketing the park to potential businesses.

Dever said all of the projects recently undertaken have been designed to make Lawrence more attractive to both residents and businesses.

“Let’s finish the job by growing existing businesses, and bringing companies and jobs to Lawrence,” Dever said. “Building our tax base will result in more jobs, more homes sold in Lawrence and more investment in our community overall.”


Brett McCabe 4 years ago

Lawrence is located in the most backwater state in America. There was a time when our community was the oasis of progressive thought in a conservative state. But in the hard-right politics of the last few years, we've allowed Lawrence to devolve from a progressive, intellectually stimulating and growing community into a suburban-minded cookie-cutting community.

City commission after city commission after city commission has failed to deliver on the potential of this community. Instead of making this a vibrant city, we've strip-malled ourselves into believing that we are "keeping up" while we are, in fact, falling way behind.

KU has failed just as much by becoming stagnant, complacent and lethargic. In terms of a flagship, KU is more of a dingy.

This community has enormous potential. We can become the greatest small city in the Midwest. But first we need to disengage from the approaches of the past and understand that you grow from within. It's time for a pedestrian-friendly, fun, funky and vibrant community to emerge. It won't do so if we keep doing what we are doing.

Elections are April 15. It's time for a full flush.

Greg DiVilbiss 4 years ago

Ok, Brett you have slammed the status do YOU propose to change it other than a full flush...

How do you prevent suburbia from arriving in a bedroom community?

What can KU do to be more than a dingy...It seems to me that with the new science buildings, the new engineering buildings, the National recognition as a Cancer Center...KU is doing alright.

Mark Rainey 4 years ago

They sure do not seem to be short on financing.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Expanding the tax base is double talk for expanding our tax bills.

Taxes are increased by way of increasing the cost of any or all services provided by city government to fuel expansion that simply is not paying for itself. If expansion was paying for itself there would no need to increase taxes because of all of the "imaginary sources of new revenue would be covering the cost" which is not happening.

Inflating the value of our homes is one sure way to increase taxes…… cuz most would smile and believe it is real. Each time our property values are increased so are our taxes.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

If residential real estate growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would NOT be subject to so many fee and tax increases But with increased numbers of residential real estate you have increased demand on services.

Historically the funding of revenues generated by residential real estate does not pay for the services they require from a municipality. After 30 years of expanding the tax base one would be expecting tax refunds instead of tax increases.

Lawrence,Kansas CANNOT afford all types of corporate "tax abatements" no after how these are disguised. For 20 years or more this community has been handing tax abatement schemes like drunken sailors. That folks is a ton of tax dollars never making to our tax dollar cookie jars.

How can a tax base ever pay back by handing tax abatement schemes like there is no tomorrow. This Free Lunch Economic Policy must stop.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

How can residential real estate growth which does NOT pay for itself and is not financially positive due to the fact that with increased numbers of residential real estate you have increased demand on services continue to be tolerated? Historically the funding of revenues generated by residential real estate does not pay for the services they require from a municipality.

In addition how can Lawrence,Kansas afford all types of corporate "tax abatements" no matter how these are disguised accompanied by esidential real estate growth which does NOT pay for itself and is not financially positive due to the fact that with increased numbers of residential real estate you have increased demand on services?

Where is the generous return on taxpayer dollars after considering the many millions upon millions of tax dollars which never make it back into OUR tax dollar cookie jars?

Food for thought.

America is Over Stored

Next Decade Has Bleak Growth Prospects

Mike Ford 4 years ago

Mr. Dever can recall the e mail I sent him about his insensitive comments towards indigenous peoples with the SLT a year or so ago and completely make this speech sound like every other Kansas politician in the last 150 years. Forget the people and their pave the planet mindset comes first.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.