Letters to the Editor

Letter: Local retail

August 4, 2014


To the editor:

Let’s support our existing retailers and their employees instead of cutting into their economic growth.

Too much of anything stimulates economic displacement, which is unfriendly to business and unfriendly to taxpayers. An initial $1.4 million in sales tax, growing to $2 million by 2020 is nothing but rosy speculation.

Additional retail stores would be entering Lawrence, equating to less trips elsewhere. Downsized stores are not exciting and offer fewer choices. Voice of experience.

No taxpayer subsidization of the development. Maybe, maybe not. Additional sales taxes might be part of the deal. These sales taxes go directly to the developers/property owners NOT to our local cookie jars, which is a substantial subsidy. The cost of new infrastructure and maintaining the infrastructure are definitely tax dollar subsidies.

Several retailers have already agreed to locate at Southpoint. Where are the signed leases?

Lawrence does not need a not necessary retail project to create new economic growth, more jobs and new tax dollar revenue. Spending infrastructure tax dollars on a 5- to 10-year project creating new safe bike/pedestrian paths and rehabilitating old sidewalks would do all of that and more. These jobs would most likely pay better wages. This could benefit thousands of taxpayers every day with improved market values should owners decide to sell.

Why not invest OUR tax dollars into OUR own good health very close to home. A better bang for our tax dollars without bringing on economic displacement.

Supporting our existing retailers instead of cutting into their economic growth is fiscally responsible.


Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 9 months ago

Don't let the facts get in your way Richard, the project is not asking for any of the tax breaks you are saying they would get. Many in Lawrence leave the area because it does not meant their needs. There is one real furniture store and pretty much just two store that provide quality clothing (JCP and Kohls). I don't know anyone that does their shopping (except food) in the area. And being as Mass St is pretty much local eateries and bars no one will be taking money from them.

And your thought that all these bike paths would inject money into the economy is just a hope and. Dream too, that would only happen if the crews hired where locals, if they weren't then our money would just be going to out of town people and not help locally at all.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 9 months ago

What about the downtown book stores, the Toy Store, the Yarn Barn, the Antique Mall, clothes stores, shoe stores, jewelry stores, things for the home? Even a barber shop or two.

It is high time that the myth of downtown being restaurants and bars was dispelled.


Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 9 months ago

Those are all very small speciality store, you are not going to furnish your home with thing from those stores, you may pick up a few pieces to put in it at best. What clothes stores down there are you going to go school shopping in? And the only shoe store left down there is Francis's and they only carry a small number of shoes, and if your a women looking for shoes your left with about 10 pair to pick from. Mass St is a novelty item not something that can be used everyday, it doesn't meet the needs of the city.

Rick Masters 3 years, 9 months ago

I was just having this exact conversation with my buddies over a couple cold ones at Shark's Surf Shop! We were asking ourselves when Sunflower quit selling bikes and became a nightclub...it's really sad. Remember when Goldmaker's quit selling jewelry and started selling yards of Jagermeister and the Antique Mall cut off its own nose to only sell beers and brats? Weaver's definitely has the highest price on keg rentals but they throw in the ice for free, so that's good of them. And when did Third Planet start selling all that...oh, wait, bad example, but still... Now who's up for Happy Hour at Hobb's or Dusty Bookshelf? (I was thrown out of Bloom for getting too wasted so that's not an option.)

Nancy Hamilton 3 years, 9 months ago

The reason one shops at specialty stores is so that one doesn't have to play "who wore it best" every time Banana Republic has a sale. Yes, it would be nice to have a Nordstrom or an Ikea, but that isn't going to happen any time soon. In the mean time, I get the most compliments on unique items I purchased at Eccentricity, Nomads, Brown's, and Third Planet.

Thomas Luxem 3 years, 9 months ago

I buy my clothes, shoes, housewares in Downtown Lawrence because they have choices you can't find in a big box store.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

"Many in Lawrence leave the area because it does not meat their needs." Are we sure?

Long term employment does inject $$$$$$$ into the economy. City Hall implied several years to complete a network of safe shared use pathways that travel/connect east to the west etc etc etc. Encouraging a healthy life style is smart use of tax dollars. Safe travel for all is a necessary evil.

I am convinced that no new tax dollars are necessary because it is all in how existing revenue is allocated.

Bicycles and walkers do not need nor want a $250,000,000 traffic way but some drivers do. The traffic way will bring on more air pollution whereas cycling and walking paths will not necessarily add to the local air pollution.

More eateries and bars will be taking money from existing eateries and bars. Lawrence is not home to unlimited retail $$$$$$$ is the point. Lawrence is surrounded by retail centers very close by that provide enormous choices and great sales. Lawrence cannot replace that so why keep thinking such nonsense.

"the project is not asking for any of the tax breaks" - the final deal has not been cut. Remember some local folks have ask for tax privileges after the fact….

Cille King 3 years, 9 months ago

We see a lot of Shawnee and Johnson County car tags downtown on Friday and Saturday evenings. They come for our great downtown. They would not be going that distance for another strip mall that they have in their own towns.

Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 9 months ago

So you are claiming that the bars downtown are a great draw for visitors? No retail is open in the evenings. That's why I never go downtown, I'm past the bar scene age, What Lawrence doesn't need is to be is another Aggieville.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes, our downtown is attractive to visitors. Unfortunately, that is not enough to sustain downtown businesses. It's too sporadic and seasonal. Tourist venues do not serve the Lawrence population very well. Malls (cringe) have the more necessary needs for the typical family - suitable clothes for work and school, kitchen items, cleaning supplies, ...

Lawrence should decide what the downtown should be. Combining an Aggieville with more general shopping does not work. The downtown was much more attractive to families years ago. The reputation is still there, but not the attraction for locals. The events sponsored by the Downtown Association are fun, but why would anyone want to shop while watching the entertainment?

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