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Lawrence City Commission to review simplified version of East Ninth Street Project

A westward view shows Ninth Street as it stretches toward downtown Lawrence.

A westward view shows Ninth Street as it stretches toward downtown Lawrence.

March 13, 2017

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The City Commission will review a simplified — and less expensive — version of the East Ninth Street Project at its work session Tuesday.

The original plan for the street reconstruction and public art project was estimated to cost $3.5 million, but after that version of the project failed to get the votes necessary to go forward, city staff were directed to scale it down.

The project that the commission will review Tuesday foregoes the public art element for a traditional street design. For the simplified proposal, the cost estimate for reconstruction of Ninth Street from Delaware Street to New Hampshire Street is $1.8 million.

The project is not currently funded in the 2017-2021 capital improvement plan, and the commission would have to reallocate funding at a future meeting if the project were to proceed.

Commissioner Matthew Herbert said that will need to be done soon.

“Our primary function as a governing body is public infrastructure and public safety,” Herbert said. “And at some point, large chunks of Ninth Street are going to have to be redone, and, based on the condition of a lot of it, that point is going to be very soon.”

The street reconstruction for the simplified project would include new curb and gutter, storm sewer and sidewalks on both sides of the street, including the restoration of brick sidewalks. Installation of decorative streetlights on both sides of Ninth Street would add $200,000, bringing the total to about $ 2 million.

The previously proposed concept design for the project received a mixed response from the public. During the commission’s budget discussions in July, only Commissioners Mike Amyx and Herbert indicated they would have advanced the design without modifications.

In addition to street and sidewalk improvements, the original concept design for the project included a stormwater management system with native grass and integrated seating and public art installations. The 81-page concept design took about a year and half to establish and was due to be funded in part by a $500,000 ArtPlace America grant awarded to the Lawrence Arts Center.

Herbert said that he hoped incorporating public art into the East Ninth Street project is still an option. He said that foregoing the $500,000 grant would be a “missed opportunity,” and that his goal for Tuesday’s work session is to see how much of that opportunity can be salvaged.

“We have a really good opportunity here with this national grant to take an infrastructure project and do something very uniquely Lawrence with it,” Herbert said. “And do so using money that didn’t come from Lawrence taxpayers, and that’s not an opportunity that comes up very often.”

Request for comments from other commissioners on the new proposal were not immediately returned Friday.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

Comments

David Holroyd 6 months, 1 week ago

How's about some extra thousand or two to level out the street on the 1200 block of Lousiana where the buses have demolished the surface with the empty buses each and every hour and each and every day.

And maybe some left over asphalt from a city project to put new asphalt down in the alley behind Ohio and Louisiana , the 1200 block. Please..Maybe then the occupants of the houses on Ohio and Louisiana won't mind parking behind their respective property.

The city no doubt believes in fact that the entire Oread area is a ghetto and only good for collecting property taxes from. but how's about someone from the commission and city get off their behinds and look at the alleys. Look at the trees covering street lights.

The focus is always on spending money on something new and not fixing the old..

These candidates for the commission might fare well to do something FOR the public instead of taking FROM the public and spending money on pet projects.

Bob Summers 6 months, 1 week ago

As long as the "simplified version" benefits the tired, the homeless and the hungry, I'm all for taxpayer money being frittered away on this art project.

Richard Renner 6 months, 1 week ago

Bob, perhaps you missed the point in the article that said the art work would be paid for by the Art Place Grant and not the taxpayers.

David Holroyd 6 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Summers, this commission likes fritters, apple and peach and public art. How's about a row of statues commemorating the popular commissioners. One former Mayor at best. Where is he now?

Will the mediation bout with the city over the Fritzel endeavors go to court? Where is the latest news on that issue.

Hungry in Lawrence? Hard to fathom that with free food at fairgrounds, free lunch at LINK, free breakfast at the methodist church , free food at the Lutheran Church center on 19th for hungry students, free backpacks of food for middle school kids to take home after school to munch on.

Hungry you say?

At last WHAT ABOUT the Food Bank that Mr. Farmer started? Surely they have food as well, unless it was eaten up when he was there. Did folks really party at the place?

Bob Summers 6 months, 1 week ago

Critical thinking Liberals say there is no food in the deserts. There must be arrangements made for the hungry in the food deserts.

Art on ninth street should help moving food where it is needed most.

Farmer, the leader of the Liberal pride, did what he knew best for the hungry.

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