A group of east-side residents, city and business representatives gathered at New York Elementary School on Wednesday night to discuss street design and urban landscaping for the Ninth Street Corridor Project.
The meeting, which was open to the public, was the first of three public art workshops throughout April allowing Lawrence residents to offer their input to the project's design team. The Ninth Street Corridor Project is meant to renovate and beautify a seven-block stretch of Ninth Street from the Warehouse Arts District near Delaware Street west to Massachusetts Street. The project's public art workshops are ways for the project's leaders to engage the community as they begin to create a design and plan for the work to be done.
"We want to find what makes this place unique and then how we integrate that into the functional components," the design team's Robin Ganser told the 75 people in attendance.
During the meeting the crowd was split into three groups, each assigned a different portion of Ninth Street, and asked to discuss two questions about their stretch: "What's happening now?" and "What could happen?" Design team members then floated between groups, taking notes and pinpointing specific areas along the street.
East Lawrence resident KT Walsh said she and other east-side residents are keeping a close eye as the project unfolds.
Walsh spoke up early in the meeting in an attempt to remind the group that East Lawrence residents are as invested in the project as city staff and local businesses.
"We are partners, we live here, we work here, and we deserve that respect," she said. "It's important that we recognize the rich history of East Lawrence and the modest but historic housing of its working people."
As the project moves forward, the design team will continue to look to the community for feedback and guidance, said design team member Tristan Surtees.
"This process is about collecting as much information as possible. For us it's invaluable," Surtees said. "We're usually dependent on the generosity of people sharing their time, opinions and knowledge."
The next public art workshop will be Thursday at New York Elementary School from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
A full schedule and more information can be found at lawrenceks.org/9th-street-corridor-project.