Explore Lawrence’s downtown visitors center could be welcoming tourists by May

photo by: Dylan Lysen

Explore Lawrence plans in May to move its visitor center to 812 Massachusetts St., pictured here in a file photo from October 2018. It is currently located at the Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St.

A remodel of the former Juice Stop at 812 Massachusetts St. should begin this week, transforming the downtown space into Lawrence’s new visitors center.

Steve Clark and Jane Huesemann, both with Clark Huesemann architectural firm, gave an update on the 890-square-foot space during a recent Explore Lawrence board meeting.

The floor design includes a welcome station, lounge area, kiosk, a small retail area, plus a meeting room.

Modernizing the restroom to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be the biggest expense of the renovation, Clark said.

Clark estimated that the project could be completed and the center opened by May, though there could be variables in the time frame.

The visitors center has been in the historic Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St., in North Lawrence; however, Explore Lawrence wanted to be closer to the heart of the city.

The center will offer information to visitors about the City of Lawrence and its local entertainment, food and activities.

Dalton Paley is the landlord of the building at 812 Massachusetts St. and he will begin the early stages of removing the flooring and walls in preparation for the remodel, Huesemann said in a phone interview Monday. The final cost of the renovation has not been presented to the Explore Lawrence board by the contractor for the project, Christopher Berry Construction, LLC, of Lawrence. As tenants, Explore Lawrence is paying for the improvements, Huesemann said. Explore Lawrence will be renting and paying utilities in the new location, something it didn’t have to do at the city-owned depot.

Michael Davidson, executive director of Explore Lawrence, previously told the Journal-World that the center had budgeted about $40,000 a year for the costs. Explore Lawrence’s funding largely comes from the city’s transient guest tax, which is collected from guests at local hotels and designated to promote tourism.

How the city will repurpose the space in the vacated depot was being discussed, Roger Steinbrock, marketing supervisor for the City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, had previously told the Journal-World.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the contractor for the project.

Related story

Oct. 22, 2018 — Explore Lawrence to move visitor center downtown; will leave historic North Lawrence depot


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