Archive for Friday, April 22, 2016

Lawrence Historic Resources board delays vote on East Ninth design, told plan is a ‘slap in the face’ to history

This contributed rendering imagines the final design of the East Ninth Street Project, which includes large rocks, a stormwater management system with native grasses, and integrated art installations that combine unique lighting and recorded sounds.

This contributed rendering imagines the final design of the East Ninth Street Project, which includes large rocks, a stormwater management system with native grasses, and integrated art installations that combine unique lighting and recorded sounds.

April 22, 2016


The city’s historic resources board interrupted the recent back-to-back-to-back votes of support for a concept design for the East Ninth Project.

The Historic Resources Commission on Thursday postponed a decision on the design after hearing from a half-dozen people who were against it, one of whom, Phil Collison, said the reconstruction and reimagining of the corridor was a “slap in the face to the history of East Lawrence” and “an attempt to disconnect that history from the neighborhood.”

John Naramore, who owns property along East Ninth Street, said the design was “changing it totally,” and his son, also named John Naramore, said the “original streetscape will be lost forever.”

A stormwater management plan is illustrated in this rendering from an East Ninth concept design document dated March 25, 2016

A stormwater management plan is illustrated in this rendering from an East Ninth concept design document dated March 25, 2016

Broadly, those who voiced opposition said the design, if implemented, would harm the street’s historic integrity by changing its landscape, visual relationships and current use as a truck route and place of business. Specifically, they had concerns with the introduction of native grasses and a shared-use path and the elimination of tree wells and some parking.

A couple of commissioners themselves had concerns about what plants would be appropriate for the street and what would be done with historic bricks harvested during construction.

East Lawrence resident Josh Davis told commissioners the majority of East Lawrence is in favor of the project. While they were hearing opposition, he said, those with concerns were vocal, but few.

“Tonight, a lot of people showed up to address issues,” Davis said. “I just don’t want to say that represents the neighborhood. A lot of people have looked at it as a whole and found benefit.”

On the street

What’s the most historic area in Lawrence?

Downtown. I have the bridal shop, so I’m in one of the most historic buildings here.

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But KT Walsh, another East Lawrence resident, said the neighborhood was “very split,” “torn apart” and “struggling.”

The commission was being asked Thursday to send a letter of support for the project to the City Commission. Instead, commissioners directed city staff to compile a list of historic, defining features along East Ninth Street that the commission should address. They’ll talk about those issues at their May meeting, and then decide whether to support the project.

Lynne Braddock Zollner, the city’s historic resources administrator, said she’d hoped the historian hired to work on the East Ninth Project would’ve provided such a list. The architectural historian, Dennis Domer, was not present at the meeting Thursday.

The Historic Resources Commission is the last body to review the design before it goes to the City Commission, which has to approve it before work on a more extensive, technical design can begin.

On March 30, the East Ninth Citizens Advisory Committee voted 12-2, with one abstention, in favor of the design. That triggered two more votes of approval, one from the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association on April 11 and another from the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission on April 13. The city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee also sent a letter of support for the design.

Proposed landscaping along Ninth Street from New Hampshire to Rhode Island streets is shown in this rendering from an East Ninth concept design document dated March 25, 2016.

Proposed landscaping along Ninth Street from New Hampshire to Rhode Island streets is shown in this rendering from an East Ninth concept design document dated March 25, 2016.

Most recent estimates put the project cost at just over $3,500,000. The current design includes two driving lanes for most of the six-block corridor, along with sidewalks on each side and an 8-foot shared-use path for both pedestrians and bicyclists. There’s also parallel parking on the south side of Ninth Street.

Three art installations have been proposed so far: poles putting off low-level light on gathering spaces; speakers playing a variety of sounds, including some picked up from New York Elementary School; and a large rock formation that would act as a sitting area.

Zollner said the East Ninth Project design was tentatively scheduled to go before the City Commission on May 24. The Historic Resources Commission meets again May 19.

“When it goes to the City Commission — you are the last commission to officially see it — they will be asked to commit millions to this project,” Walsh said. “And we all know that once the dollars start getting committed, it’s hard to slow things down, and it’s hard to tweak them.”


Kurt Kummer 2 years, 1 month ago

This would be a very interesting thing to learn more about: What parts of East Lawrence history are being ignored? What things in the plan should be deleted? Which parts of the plan are worth keeping? What do the neighbors think? And most importantly why are these issues only coming to light now? Weren't there neighborhood outreach sessions and community meetings held to flesh out the plan over the past several years?

Tim Foley 2 years, 1 month ago

I seem to have lost track of what this whole project was all about to begin with. When it was originally brought up over 20 years ago it was proposed as a Santa Fe type art scene. Now it's turned into a parkway and public art project that will be off the beaten path. I think we can find something better to to spend 3+ million on.

Tony Holladay 2 years, 1 month ago

What do the neighbors think?

Please don't put a public gathering area in my yard even though it's on a city right of way.

Please don't flood our neighbor hood with annoying sounds.

Please don't take away over half of our parking.

Please keep it simple and don't go overboard with things that you think would improve our neighborhood.

Please listen to us....

Bob Forer 2 years, 1 month ago

It is their neighborhood. They have an absolute right of self-determination.

Brett McCabe 2 years ago

That is Absolutely wrong.

The ELNA likes to act like a Gang - don't step on our turf. Well, we all pay taxes for the whole city, and I'll be happy to walk down your block anytime I please.

Neighborhoods have a voice, an important voice, and the residents in the area have had multiple opportunities to express themselves. They've been heard, they've been listened to and, frankly, they've been coddled far more than they deserve.

This is a city - not a neighborhood. While you deserve to be heard, you also need to recognize the value of the bigger and greater good. If you want to live in a place where nothing ever changes, then go to a smaller rural community where......nothing ever changes. Recent studies show that rural communities are shriveling as we speak, so you'll be able to get housing cheap, you'll never have anything interesting happen and you'll never have to whine again about preserving history because you will be living it. You can watch the grass grow, the paint dry and the city crumble. It'll be historic!

Bob Forer 2 years, 1 month ago

Nice to see some folks in East Lawrence actually fighting for their neighborhood.

Kurt Kummer 2 years, 1 month ago

Wow, interesting comments. Did the City never ask for public input on this project? After 20 years of planning did the City never ask for neighbors ideas about what should or shouldn't happen?

Bob Forer 2 years, 1 month ago

This is basically the brainchild of the developers to expand their empire. I can't blame those who live there and are upset about the project.

Brett McCabe 2 years ago

Developers? This was initiated through a gran from the Arts Center.

Chris Ogle 2 years ago

The Arts Center was involved. Does anyone know the dollar amount of that grant?

Tony Peterson 2 years ago

That was the first spin. One of the board members of the Arts Center then and now just "happens" to be Tony Krisnich who will benefit handsomely by it because it'll be a corridor paid by the public to his development project at 9th and Pennsylvania.

This entire project has smelled worse than "Rock Chalk Park" from the very beginning. .

Paul Beyer 2 years, 1 month ago

The fact that they live there doesn't mean they have a say in any development.. After all, what matters is what the developers want, after all they own the city commission, so they will get what they want.

Zoe Flowers 2 years, 1 month ago

Property taxes/values have already started going up in anticipation. Pretty soon East Lawrence people will have trouble paying their property taxes thanks to this project.

Bob Smith 2 years, 1 month ago

Not to mention that the design is as ugly as a mud fence.

Paul Beyer 2 years, 1 month ago

Glad I don't have your attitude and I'm don't drink tea.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 1 month ago

Stacy, It's easy to say if you do not live in east Lawrence. Older neighborhoods face many challenges, partly because it is felt that they are not valued. What do you think of the proposal for Kasold?

Chris Lempa 2 years, 1 month ago

Clarification: The East Lawrence Neighborhood Association letter mentioned in the article above was barely approved, 7-6 with one abstention. The neighborhood is divided.

Linda Kucza 2 years, 1 month ago

Also, does anyone, besides me, remember a totally different plan being presented for this exact same piece of ground? (New York Site Council meeting) Not even saying if I like one or the just all becomes very confusing. I can understand some people feeling sorta disenfranchised over a lot of these things.

Joshua Davis 2 years, 1 month ago

LJWorld comments don't usually get to me, but the combination of this headline and seemingly definitive comments from people who have never been to a single meeting on this issue have me a bit frustrated today. There have been 30 plus meetings related to this project including a dozen East Ninth Citizen Advisory Committee meetings. The East Lawrence Neighborhood Association alone has had at least four meetings that included this topic with presentations and comments. The insinuation that there hasn't been community participation is absurd. While everyone might not like the outcome, there have been plenty of chances to participate, and many residents have.

ELNA voted to support the current phase 1 project plan. That support was sent to City Commission while including a balanced list of pros/cons/questions. To the point that this was a split vote, yes it was. I never said otherwise and actually mentioned that exact vote at the HRC meeting. My point was that the number of people for or against the plan at any one meeting does not necessarily represent the overall sentiment. HRC had a majority of speakers against, and that must have made the writer feel this hyperbolic headline was appropriate. At the two most recent ELNA meetings, the majority of those attending were in support of the current plan, as evidenced by straw polls taken at both.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 1 month ago

This article surprised me, too. This project has been discussed and reported many times. And, quoting an expression from one objector ("...slap in the face..") in a headline is very misleading, more sensational than objective reporting.

It's up to the Historic Resource Commission to put the comments in perspective. There was a lot of work put into this project. The comments mentioned should have happened long ago and brought up again for the city commission. The pertinent comments for the Historic Resources Commission should reference the history of the area.

Resistance to change is not the same as historic preservation. The HRC's review should be based on whether or not the area's history is affected. Other comments are more appropriate for the city commission to sort out. That does not mean those comments are not valid - gentrification, traffic, view, character, ... Just that the HRC is concerned about history.

Tony Holladay 2 years, 1 month ago

To clarify or add a little more to my statement. My sister lives along the 9th street corridor. She actually just moved today. She has been to a meeting or two but with her schedule it was impossible for her be more involved.

I'll actually be moving into her house within a month or two. I just recently looked at the updated plans a few weeks ago. While I do like many of the ideas for the 9th St. Corridor there are a few that I don't like and I voiced my opinion above. I may have been a little unfair about the please listen to us statement. But after talking with a few of my future neighbors in my immediate area it kinda sounded like their voices were kinda of going unheard or possibly ignored.

I have been invited to a meeting but was unable to attend do to work. I would like to be more involved in the future if at all possible to represent my sisters property and the house and neighborhood that I will be calling home.

Joshua Davis 2 years ago


Welcome to the neighborhood. Looking forwarding to meeting you. Pretty sure we will be neighbors one block away from either other. Would love to have you involved in meetings on this project but also neighborhood in general.

Josh - 9th/NY

David Holroyd 2 years, 1 month ago

The street is part of the entire network of city streets. It makes no difference about input because east Lawrence residents, some, have a mindset it it THEIR street. Likewise a few residents/ owners in Oread act as if every house in that neighborhood belongs to them and want to dictate what, when, where. The city has a gutless commission that will not realize the good for the city. Roundabout at 19th and barker, UGLY hardly representative of a 1920s neighborhood. Old thyme lights on 12th street leading toward the hotel, ugly and really not much in the way of providing light. Installed and now weeds and crapped out sidewalks amongst the. Bob Smith is right: UGLY

A fancy path on 9th, leading to the sewer plant, how romantic!

Build it and get the city checkbook out to maintain the mess!

Carol Bowen 2 years, 1 month ago

David, the street is part of the entire network of streets and "their" street. Both are true.

Randall Uhrich 2 years, 1 month ago

The nature of the neighborhood changed forever when it lost iconic Lawrence Pipe and Steel in the 1970's or 1980's. That's the nature of East 9th that I remember.

David Holroyd 2 years ago

Ms Bowen, face Lawrence is trashyand that street is not "theirs" .if a street is "theirs" then my neighbors and I want meters on "our" street and we keep the money, how about that honey? Show me the money. I hope you are rich if you plan to keep living in Lawrence.

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