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Archive for Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Future site of Lawrence police headquarters down to final four

June 3, 2014

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There is now a final four when it comes to choosing the home for a potential $30 million headquarters facility for the Lawrence Police Department.

Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting agreed to post details about four potential sites on the city's website to begin getting public feedback prior to what could be a citywide election in November to fund the headquarters building.

"I'm interested in moving ahead on this quickly because I really do want to have this on the November ballot," said City Commissioner Bob Schumm.

The four sites are:

• About 15 acres of city-owned land in VenturePark, the new industrial park that formerly was Farmland Industries. The property is along Kansas Highway 10 on the eastern edge of the city, near the Douglas County Jail.

• About 29 acres of city-owned property at Overland and Wakarusa drives. The property is essentially behind the Walmart on Sixth Street. The site is near Free State High School, and once was considered to house a city recreation center.

• About 47 acres of property on the east side of McDonald Drive, north of the USD 497 administrative building. The property is near the West Lawrence interchange of the Kansas Turnpike. It's currently listed for $3.2 million, more than double what the city has budgeted for land acquisition. But the site also is much larger than the 15 acres needed for the project. City officials have said they would look at the possibility of selling off parcels of the property to recoup some of their costs.

• Up to 50 acres of property located along West 31st Street between Ousdahl Road and Louisiana Street. The property has some floodplain concerns, but would be adjacent to the new South Lawrence Trafficway.

"I think that is a good list for us," City Manager David Corliss said. "That really gives us something to look at in all four corners of the community."

Commissioners agreed to hire Lawrence-based Treanor Architects to perform further study on each of the sites. A report is expected back to the commission on July 15.

Commissioners did not indicate a front-runner, but did express the most interest in the McDonald Drive site and the property in VenturePark. Police Chief Tarik Khatib said if the price were not an issue, he believed the McDonald Drive site offered a lot of advantages.

"You really have central access to the city," Khatib said. "I picture it like a body. That location is the head, Iowa Street is the spine, and all the other streets are the nerves."

But commissioners said price likely will be an issue.

"I'm not for one site or the other at this point," City Commissioner Mike Dever said. "But I do want to have the money to do what I want. I don't want to invest a lot of money in infrastructure and land and not be able to do what we need to with the building."

Comments

Richard Heckler 6 months, 3 weeks ago

DON'T buy land. Use city owned land = making use of existing resources that taxpayers own.

Chris Bohling 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The Venture Park location makes the most sense to me.

Beth Ennis 6 months, 3 weeks ago

all of the sites are on the edge of the city. I personally think it should be located in a more central part of town. From this article, I don't know why they need 15 acres of land for the police department. It sounds extravagant to me. I would like to know a lot more about this.

Paula Kissinger 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You would need to know how many personnel, offices, vehicles, and other necessary equipment the PD utilizes to realize why it is essential to house it all in the same location, if that is the choice.

Paula Kissinger 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Personally, I favor a central location with substations. That makes the most sense to me.

Clark Coan 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Why is a new building needed at all? I hope they have a sunset clause on the new tax. LPD is still getting funding from previous sales taxes passed by voters but without sunset clauses.

Jon Woodward 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If memory serves me correctly, when the county justice center was built nearly 20 years ago, it was designed and constructed to accommodate the addition of two more stories. Have our tax and spend commissioners even attempted to reach an agreement with the County to develop a county wide law enforcement building rather than just build, build, build and spend, spend, spend on more frills for the city employees?

Richard Heckler 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Does the LPD plan to vacate the location on 11th Street?

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