Lawrence community continues to offer feedback on Ninth Street Corridor project

Susan Tate, CEO of the Lawrence Arts Center, pins up a note on a map of Ninth Street at Thursday night's public art workshop.

For the second time this week, the Ninth Street Corridor Project’s design team hosted a public workshop for community members to offer their two cents on the unfolding project.

Thursday night, about 75 people gathered in New York Elementary School to discuss the role of public art in the renovation project, which plans to transform a seven-block stretch of Ninth Street reaching from the Warehouse Arts District near Delaware Street west to Massachusetts Street.

Once again, the crowd was split into three rotating groups, given a large map and assigned to write either connections, talents or myths regarding the stretch of Ninth Street. The purpose of the exercise was to give the design team ideas about how to mix public art and functionality along the corridor in a way that remains true to the East Lawrence neighborhood.

Resident Dayna Carleton took her time carefully writing several local talents on notecards and connecting them to Ninth Street with a push pin and bit of red string. On one of her note cards, she scrawled the name of a neighbor with “spider expert” underneath.

“There are all these hidden treasures in East Lawrence,” she said. “People don’t realize there are all these incredible resources.”

Design team member Tristan Surtees stood quietly back for a portion of the evening, watching the groups interact and share their stories, talents and connections.

Surtees said each bit of information shared with him and the rest of the team brings them one step closer to fully imagining the project.

“The experience we’ve had so far and the warmth with which we’ve been welcomed is exactly what we require,” he said to the crowd early in the meeting.

Not only have the public workshops given Carleton an opportunity to share what’s important to her, she said, but it’s also been an enjoyable experience and she plans to attend more of the meetings.

“It has been fun,” she said. “Whether or not our input is used, I had a good time.”

Josh Shelton, also of the design team, said it still isn’t clear what the final product will look like. Rather, the team is still in the process of collecting information.

“It’s a discovery based project. And I think they’re trying to tease things out,” he said. “That’s the wonderful thing about artists is they work differently from engineers or architects. It’s an intuitive process.”

The next public art workshop will be April 20 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.