Letter to the editor: Don’t dump depot

To the editor:

The eXplore Lawrence board of directors should consider a satellite information center in downtown Lawrence (or another Lawrence location) or even strategically placed kiosks instead of shuttering services at the Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence.

The current location of the Lawrence Visitor Center provides an attractive gateway to the downtown; ample, free parking; continued preservation of a historic North Lawrence landmark and artifacts; and affordable indoor and outdoor rental space for weddings, receptions, showers, reunions, classes and celebrations of life. The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department professionally maintains the exterior landscaping, provides interior cleaning, schedules all events, and staffs after-hour events. The center services realtors’ requests for client information, KU employee requests for prospective employee materials, AirBnB host requests for visitor materials and conference requests for welcome bags.

For those preferring a personalized, meaningful experience, knowledgeable community and student volunteers along with staff at the Visitor Center assist walk-ins and call-ins with driving directions to dining options, self-guided tour brochures, hiking and biking maps and viewing the free 25-minute docudrama “Lawrence: Free State Fortress.” They also enable prospective venue renters to tour the space.

The BOD should expand experiential offerings at the depot, including: re-establishing local tours and senior group adventures to generate revenue, and school field trips to instill history; revitalizing volunteer recruitment to foster stewardship; and updating the exhibits.

“Don’t Dump the Depot” should be the rallying cry for our next community campaign.

Jackie (Tuttle) Kennedy,

Baldwin City


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