Archive for Tuesday, May 24, 2016

City Commission undecided about East Ninth Project, votes to discuss it in coming weeks

A resting area has been proposed near the Turnhalle Building, at Ninth and Rhode Island streets, as part of the East Ninth project. This rendering, which looks east from the intersection, shows simple seating walls and native grasses.

A resting area has been proposed near the Turnhalle Building, at Ninth and Rhode Island streets, as part of the East Ninth project. This rendering, which looks east from the intersection, shows simple seating walls and native grasses.

May 24, 2016, 4:39 p.m. Updated May 24, 2016, 11:52 p.m.

Advertisement

After nearly four hours of hearing what Lawrence residents thought about the project to change East Ninth Street into an arts corridor, the City Commission — with not enough votes to move its design forward — voted to study it further in coming weeks.

Forty-one Lawrence business owners, artists and other residents spoke about the multimillion-dollar project Tuesday night, and dozens more onlookers filled the ground floor of City Hall. The meeting room and overflow area remained full until commissioners voted at 11 p.m. to hold a study session about the project. Sometime in coming weeks, they’ll go through its specifics, including funding and how much work should be done to the street.

“I’m at a point where I’d ask to move the concept design forward and go to phase two,” Mayor Mike Amyx said at the beginning of commission deliberations. “We can still help direct the scope of the project. We can do that if we move to phase two. It’s a great concept to work from.”

Commissioner Matthew Herbert issued his support of the project, saying the project’s goals aligned with what East Lawrence laid out in its revitalization plan in 2000.

“This isn’t us versus them,” Herbert said. “The neighborhood revitalization plan calls for this, and it called for this 16 years ago.”

But Commissioners Stuart Boley and Lisa Larsen said they had concerns about the design and weren’t ready to vote. Vice Mayor Leslie Soden, who has been critical of the project in the past, remained mostly silent. She said only that the funding wasn’t available and she wouldn’t vote to raise taxes for it.

Boley said he wasn’t sure the entire six-block corridor needed reconstructing. Larsen expressed worry about parking, an issue reiterated by those opposing the project Tuesday.

“I think it needs compromise,” Larsen said. “That’s what I would like to see: more compromise.”

East Ninth comments (Lawrence City Commission, 05-24-16)

The budget was also brought into question.

Porter Arneill, director of arts and culture for the city, said the project, first estimated to cost approximately $2.7 million and more recently $3.5 million, would be between $3.6 million and $3.7 million, accounting for funds for phase two — the technical designs.

In a draft of Lawrence’s five-year capital improvement plan, City Manager Tom Markus listed the project as going unfunded in 2017. The move prompted a response from the Lawrence Arts Center, which was awarded a $500,000 grant for the project in 2014.

More from Tuesday's City Commission meeting

Commissioners told to expedite decisions on new police headquarters

Markus said at a budget work session Tuesday that if commissioners were to move the project forward, they should identify what to take away from the capital plan in order to fund it.

“If you decide to issue the funding, that would mean we’d have to go into the CIP and pull it out in other items we’ve recommended for funding,” Markus said. “I did not include it in the CIP; that’s on me. That was my decision.”

Thirteen of those who spoke about the project at Tuesday's meeting opposed it. They had concerns about parking and its expense, among other things.

The remaining speakers, 28 people, said it would transform the street for the better.

“I think the city of Lawrence needs to figure out what kind of city of Lawrence it wants to be,” said project designer Josh Shelton, of el dorado inc. “Clearly, this is a pivotal moment. We wanted to zoom out and set forth something that is visionary.”

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-used path for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Parallel parking would be available in places on both sides of Ninth Street.

Components for the project include light displays, sound signals, native grasses used for stormwater management and large rocks arranged to create intimate gathering areas. The full concept design is outlined in an 81-page report.

East Ninth tweets from Lawrence City Commission (5-24-16)

Comments

Chris Ogle 1 year, 6 months ago

Our city commission made the right decision on this matter. In my opinion, we (the city) need to focus on our 2017 budget first...... Can we afford the project at this point? If not, then wait until we can afford it.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Weak leadership. No vision. No conviction. Small thinking.

Kevin Kelly 1 year, 6 months ago

We can skip the new entrance to the Central District the city is building to make KU happy and you can have that money. Don't want the intersection anyway. Too bad there wasn't a discussion about 19th St and the money being spent.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

I say it is a done deal no matter what appearances are out there. The current street condition is not preventing visitors and residents from accessing new development or old developments. Lipstick is not necessary.

Having said that I say the project is more likely a $6 million tax dollar project.

How about simply doing a rehab to 9th street and the sidewalks,do low maintenance landscape to the street and bingo we have a street that will impress anyone. Don't need extravagance to shed light on our art community just respect. Now we're probably at about 2 million tax dollars. Landscaping in the key to beautification.

Next lay out $4 million tax dollars rehabilitating east lawrence streets and sidewalks which will do wonders for all that walk anywhere. A person does not need a disability to realize that those walks need a lot of attention so says personal experience. In fact often we choose the streets over the sidewalk.

City Hall has ignored enforcing sidewalk maintenance guidelines for some 30 years at least therefore city hall should accept responsibility for repairing all of the sidewalks in older Lawrence neighborhoods. Yes I know it is difficult to make slumlords maintain their properties
of which there are many HOWEVER now it is time fix the sidewalks so feel free to spend my tax dollars doing so..... thank you.

I contend that the Lawrence Arts Center should spend their $150,000 inside the building to further develop the wonderful dance program.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

Next lay out $4 million tax dollars rehabilitating east lawrence streets and sidewalks which will do wonders for all that walk anywhere. A person does not need a disability to realize that those walks need a lot of attention so says personal experience. In fact often we choose the streets over the sidewalk.

City Hall has ignored enforcing sidewalk maintenance guidelines for some 30 years at least therefore city hall should accept responsibility for repairing all of the sidewalks in older Lawrence neighborhoods. Yes I know it is difficult to make slumlords maintain their properties of which there are many HOWEVER now it is time fix the sidewalks so feel free to spend my tax dollars doing so..... thank you.

BTW: Social Responsibility IS NOT Socialism‬

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/8/729356/-

Andy Adams 1 year, 6 months ago

..."Larsen expressed worry about parking, an issue reiterated by those opposing the project Tuesday" and how did she vote when they agreed to give away HOW many parking spaces on Mass for bicycle racks.....she's ridiculous.

As Brett said "Weak leadership. No vision. No conviction. Small thinking."

I don't believe our current budget can support this project but they should at least green light it as Amyx suggested.

Carol Bowen 1 year, 6 months ago

"I don't believe our current budget can support this project but they should at least green light it as Amyx suggested"

Well said. Having a plan for the area can be implemented gradually as funding becomes available. The budget is so tight this year, the street will be in queue with other streets for repair.

Kristine Bailey 1 year, 6 months ago

I would like to know much money goes to el dorado inc. Hopefully it is coming out of the grant. Put in nice street lights, like the have on the "path" from KU to downtown. Repave the side walks and put in some planters while you are pouring cement and call it done.

Jan Brocker 1 year, 6 months ago

That's too easy for this town because it makes too much sense.

Tony Peterson 1 year, 6 months ago

Expand the range of the downtown sculpture competitions to include 9th Street and put a sculpture on a corner at each intersection. Fix the sidewalks, repave the street, add some new lights, planters, and sculpture and voila. Have yourself an attractive arts corridor for about $3 million less.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 6 months ago

Why does Lawrence need an expensive corridor connecting developer Tony K's properties to downtown? Everyone can walk, bike, or drive from Massachusetts to Delaware Streets now without spending one thin dime of tax money.

Tony Peterson 1 year, 6 months ago

Anne Patterson brought up a really good point last night. Right now it's just an isolated drawing without any plans or details for how it's going to feather and transition into the north/south streets.

It makes me a bit uneasy whenever the City starts talking about approving a project of this scale just based on a concept and THEN worrying about working out all the logistical details after the fact.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't see how this project can move forward until the final plan is on the table, the tax $$$$$ are on the table,more public comment is on the table then time to digest all of the above.

Then perhaps let it set for two weeks. Haste makes waste when tax dollars are involved.

Never any money for the walkable community or simple sidewalk repair yet suddenly millions show up for this project and others preceding this one. How can that be?

Kevin Kelly 1 year, 6 months ago

Look how much information is available on the proposed bust depot, NONE. They had no problem pledging millions to that KU hole.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm not sure the interpretation of the ELA plan put forth my Comm Herbert was necessarily correct. And not one ELA person was allowed to confirm Comm Herberts intrepretation as correct.

Perhaps some involved in designing the plan should be allowed equal time.....publicly.

IF Comm Herbert actually took time to consume the entire document that is commendable whether he put forth the correct interpretation or not.

Tony Peterson 1 year, 6 months ago

He was making assumptions. One example he used was that the landscaping constituted a "pocket park" as called for in the plan. Street landscaping and pocket parks are two different things. The area north of the Watkins Museum is a pocket park.

David Holroyd 1 year, 6 months ago

Why isn't the guitar case shown for the homeless chick playing the guita, the case for spare changer? And what's with the older couple, the woman on the outside...I always was taught the man walked on the outside, the woman the other. Is that little kid getting to break off branches like people do already downtown?

Dog? Where is the dog and the dog''s owner without a poop bag?

Such deception the photo.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

loading...