Archive for Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lawrence community offers feedback on Ninth Street Corridor Project

April 8, 2015


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

None by Conrad Swanson

None by Conrad Swanson

None by Conrad Swanson


David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

Can't wait for the exciting replication of work in Calgary. This is the same Tristan correct.

Known for fire hydrants sprouting copper water drinking fountains.

The dogs will love the new water fountain. Make cerain that the art walk has a special dog lane.

Adam Weigel 3 years, 1 month ago

As an East Lawrence resident and a member of the ELNA, I was embarrassed by KT's comments last night.

To other angry members of East Lawrence, it's important to remember the following:

1.The design team is offering many opportunities to voice your opinion, including last night and tonight.

  1. You are not the designer. Express your opinions, but don't be naive enough to think you can choose exactly what the bench in front of your house might look like.

  2. Listen to how the design team responds to your concerns. When you say, "I don't want bright lights/loud noise/entertainment district outside my house," the design team acknowledges that, validates your fears, writes it down, and considers it in their plans. And yet people still express fear over this. How about we give them a chance to hear our ideas and make a design before we scream for them to stay out of our neighborhood?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 1 month ago

This is true. When they remodeled the Mass street Dillons, they met with the surrounding neighborhoods and listening to their concerns. That's why you can only drive in on the eastside and not out. They made a few other design changes. Not all the neighbors were happy, but then, you really should think twice before buying a house near an established business.

Talk to the designers about your concerns and you might find they listen. I know some are worried that their home values would go up and they would have to pay more taxes. I think the city should do something to grandfather them in. If they sell the house, then the next person will have a valuation that reflects the improvements, but, maybe not the present land owners. Many times people are excited when their property value goes up, but when you don't have a lot of money, a higher property value is not a good thing.

Miko Harper 3 years, 1 month ago

At the Dillon's on Massachusetts they inadvertently caused more people to park on their streets due to the too compacted design of the parking lot. First time in the lot and my wife's car was backed into and the people just drove off because the spots are so close together. Now we both refuse to park in the lot and choose to park on NH or 17th Terr or 18th St instead. Easier to get out and go south that way too as opposed to exiting south on to Mass.

The one way idea was kind of useless as well because at least once per visit I see people ignoring the "do not enter" signs and exiting to NH anyways.

Wayne Kerr 3 years, 1 month ago

I agree with you about the Dillon's store. It was nice of the store to bend over backward to appease the neighbors, but the lot is so small I've only parked in it once even though I go to that store probably two or three times a week. I'm not sure the "compromise" was a good one, but I'm sure glad they updated the store, it's a huge improvement over the old one.

Miko Harper 3 years, 1 month ago

Indeed, the store itself is a wonderful improvement.

Wayne Kerr 3 years, 1 month ago

OK, so I'm just throwing this out there as a question, I'm not really opposed to the arts corridor one way or the other. Why is 9th street the only street being considered for this upgrade? It seems to me this "art district" is only going to benefit a couple of developers who have taken that area over. It's as if they've said to the city, build us a parking garage, give us tax abatements, give us our own tax district, and one last thing, give us some art and aesthetic improvements to make our investment look more presentable. It would be great if the new hotels and apartments in that area were helping to pay for these upgrades and improvements to their properties, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

So, that being said, if our goal is to have an "arts district" why don't we consider Vermont Street, New Hampshire Street, or even Massachusetts Street? I'd love to see an "arts district" starting at the turnpike in East Lawrence where out of town visitors get their first impression of our city. Imagine driving from I70 and seeing art and other improvements all the way from the turnpike, past the library, and down Vermont Street. Or it could start at the turnpike and continue down 6th and New Hampshire to the courthouse? I know the new loft apartments are supposed to be artist centric, but do they really need their own street, too? Again, I'm not really opposed to the idea, I'm just questioning why this is the only street being considered.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 1 month ago

It has to do with the end of ninth street where they turned some old warehouses into artist studios. I think they are trying to put these abandoned buildings into use rather than tearing them down, and ninth street is already a major side street (that's sounds weird when I say that outloud).

David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

Tearing down? Cider tax credits for Cider ? How much? Was there a building permit fee shortage?

That's just a couple questions to answer why they were not torn down :)

Sally Piller 3 years, 1 month ago

The benefit will go to everybody who travels that street (which is a dilapidated mess.) The idea didn't come from the developers, it came from the grant writers at LAC who saw an opportunity to do something beautiful and creative to both improve the streetscape connecting two lively arts areas and win a grant to help pay for it. Seems pretty clear cut to me. Not a conspiracy created by developers.

Wayne Kerr 3 years, 1 month ago

Just another thought. Why don't we make the "art district" loop around our downtown? It could start informally at the Lawrence Arts Center or our new library where people could get a small map pointing out places of interest and other information on the artists and their work. It could be a loop people could walk going down New Hampshire or Vermont and crossing over at 6th Street and looping back at 11th Street and ending back at the Lawrence Art Center or Lawrence Library. Obviously Massachusetts Street would be prominently on display as a central point of the district, too. We'd basically just enhance or enlarge the scope of the art one sees on Mass. street now to include the two surrounding streets into the "district". It just makes more sense to me to keep visitors in our "commercial" district than to encourage them to walk around among new hotels and apartment buildings.

Sally Piller 3 years, 1 month ago

Because those roads don't need improving. 9th Street definitely does. Either way it will happen. You can leave it up to the developers to renovate the street or do it this way, where the neighborhood has input and it's done by experienced and successful designers.

David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

Ask Mr Tristan about incorporating the sewer plant into the project with fountains of sewage like the Bellago in Las Vegas with a Petula Clark sing "downtown" , the rustics dancing and frolicking in the arts district.

I can only image the charm from 9 th street will be equated with the "old tyme" lamps on the 12th street walkway from south park to the boutique hotel known for it"s own entertainment district, The Cave!

The lamps are so attractive in the summer with the weeds at the base. If only they were edible the area would be more sustainable.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

I like the Kerr concept of an art district. We need to be careful how the concept is paid for based on what?

"We are partners, we live here, we work here, and we deserve that respect"


That statement could and should represent any neighborhood the city government has decided it wants to "improve". It could be YOUR neighborhood.

Why would anyone want city government to artificially increase the assessed value which really does not represent market value? It would increase YOUR taxes. Who wants to pay more taxes to live in their home? Yes it is a legitimate concern to any homeowner.... I would think.

This neighborhood is setting up some fiscally responsible standards that could apply to all neighborhoods. This neighborhood has been open to mixed use development for 25 years that I know of. Yes they have some history of working with developers.

Developers should not be the guidelines for new growth or new economic growth for they may cost taxpayers too much money thus economic growth takes a back seat.

If the project is done hastily,without substance and without creativity this project may in fact decrease residential market values. Market value is never known until a property is sold ---- until such time is is speculation as a tool to increase taxes.

David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

Where is the outcry over the sewer plant? The city gets the engineers to prop up the estimate then the bids look good. But only two bids ? It should be rebid. This new commission needs to take a closer look at a proposed 50 milion dollar plant, but this fuss over 9 th street is small in comparison for what is about to happen. You think the property values and taxes are out of whack? Wait till the new sewer rates and water bill, recycling fee. Storm water and sanitation charges bite you on the butt! It won't be a dog nipping at your heels, it could very well be the new commission which will be held responsible, even though this sewer plant is getting shoved up us before Corliss leaves.

Re bid the plant or better yet question why it is needed NOW.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.