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What would you like to see added to downtown Lawrence?

Response Percent Votes
More free parking
47% 496
A grocery store
36% 379
New spaces for businesses
8% 87
Other — tell us in the comments!
7% 83
Total 1045


Joe Blackford II 6 years, 1 month ago

N B A F . . . . . that would give Lawrence the exposure of another T V miniseries. Nobody knows where Manhattan is . . . well maybe after the germs escape. 2018 will be here soon enough. Thank You Dr. Bruce Ivins & the K S U usamriid Colonels (Jaax, Jaax & Franz; licensed to enable 5 Americans to be killed in the only successful U S bio-terrorist plot).

"The Committee's jurisdiction over these issues could have been asserted throughout the 110th Congress, but especially in the wake of the F B I's determination that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by an American scientist at an elite American biodefense laboratory."

Sheryl Wiggins 6 years, 1 month ago

good one Thuja--I was going to say a Lawrence original in the Masonic Temple building but I like you idea better.

Bailey Perkins 6 years, 1 month ago

More parking, less rowdy restaurants and other venues and a few more shops. Adding a Wyldewood Cellars was a huge step and greatly appreciated. No longer forced to drive home for their wine! :-)

GUMnNUTS 6 years, 1 month ago

The products from Wyldewood Cellars should not be allowed to use the term wine. I refer to it as _ _ !!!!!!!! It tastes like prison wine made from orange juice and white bread.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

The corner of ninth and Vermont should be worth about $15 million dollars to any developer. Plus pick up the cost in lost revenue to business operators immediately surrounding the lot.

Taxpayers should settle for no less and with approval from those who operate a business on the west side of Mass Street.

The concept introduced Tuesday night is interesting. What I never understand is why no one ever reveals who the so called interested tenants are? Who wants to put in a grocery store?

First Management should provide parking for their tenants such that Hobbs Taylor did.

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

we need the new homeless shelter downtown, it's where they want/need to be and where they will end up anyway. as for other development we push historic downtown Lawrence and its charm but we want to overdevelop it and take the character of our city away.

pinecreek 6 years, 1 month ago

Wanted: Merchants that are more commuter-friendly: open after 5.30 and more hours/days on weekends. Part of the problem with the 'local' merchants keeping retail dollars is that they behave as if we are in 1971 and not in 2011. When 22% of your workforce commutes to other communities, having hours out of their reach means that their dollars are out of reach.

zaxback 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree! Everytime I am downtown eating dinner and strolling Mass with the wife and kid at 6:30 or so on a week night, with people walking amongst us, up and down the street, I can't help but to wonder how many dollars the downtown merchants are giving up by closing earlier. They are closing before the prime time to be downtown even begins!

Ricky_Vaughn 6 years, 1 month ago

And people wonder why Walmart does so well....

hawkfan_05 6 years, 1 month ago

Don't be dumb. You are saying you want small unique shops to leave and big box stores come in. Downtown stays open till 8pm 4 nights a week. AND NOBODY SHOPS!!!!! Why do you think the big stores that do stay open are leaving? CUS NOBODY SHOPS AFTER 6!! Get your head out of your A**.

Jake Hess 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree. But like hawkfan5 says, many, many shops are open until at least 7, if not 8. Those businesses not open later than say, 5 or 6 would do well to listen to the community that wants to shop there after work. Maybe they are looking for strong sales at the wrong time of day and can't afford to keep the store open late? An unfortunate business model for them. But the ones keeping their hours late during restaurant rush hours probably see more walk-ins in the evening. They need to compete more strongly with the south Iowa business corridor by advertising store hours visibly and running more sales and price discounts.

hawkfan_05 6 years, 1 month ago

If later hours is what eveyone is wanting, then why are the stores with later hours the ones going out of business? See the problem is ppl always want what they can't have. Ppl want a place to walk around in after dinner, not shop and spend money. ppl do the same thing at lunch downtown, they burn time in stores until their date/meeting/lunch. Which is fine, but EXPECTING a business to be open for your walking around is absurd. ppl have lost the reason for being downtown, it was "to shop" & now it is to eat. All that is fine, but don't be mad because you cannot shop @ 10pm. You can't shop at Target after 10, you can't shop at ANY mall @ 10pm. Where did this attitude come from...oh yeah...the hell that is WAL-MART.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 1 month ago

Small business owners cannot afford to stay open in the evenings to entertain trollers. The sales are less than the cost of the employees. If we want unique shops downtown, we have to realize that they are small but interesting businesses.

timeforachange 6 years, 1 month ago

Pinecreek I couldn't agree more! Why do I shop south Iowa? Because they cater to my 'I've got a job' schedule. If I want to shop downtown I've only got Sat. and Sun.'s. Mon. thru Friday I can't get off work in time to shop downtown. The downtown merchants have to stop treating their businesses like hobbies, and start catering to the working class.

hawkfan_05 6 years, 1 month ago

You cannot have small downtown nice quite unique private culture shopping in Downtown, and have late night hours. Don't be dumb.

notanota 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes you can. Instead of opening at 8, they could open at 10 or 11 and stay open a few hours longer.

timeforachange 6 years, 1 month ago

And to all you "I hate Doug Compton' idiots, name one eye-sore he's built in this town. You can't! He's a good developer. And if you would get over your petty jealousy you would thank him for making Lawrence a better community!

Bassetlover 6 years, 1 month ago

My comment landed in the wrong place. I meant AMEN to what timeforachange said. Doug Compton rocks!

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes. The longer it goes boarded up, the more likely it will suddenly catch on fire. Where are the historical preservationists now? Why aren't they up in arms over this. I've been in that building and it's awesome, or was awesome. You could fix up the basement easily for renting for weddings, meetings, etc. The upper levels could be a series of small shops and cafes. All they needed at one time would have been an elevator, some way for the disabled to enter, and some construction to have a better flow through. Why doesn't he at least try to sell it to someone who will do something with it?

George_Braziller 6 years, 1 month ago

It's Doug Compton and he gets to do what he wants because he is never held accountable to meet the same standards expected of others. It's just a big Monopoly game to him. He has to have some listed as a "financial loss" on his taxes to offset his other ventures.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Couldn't he pour some money into it, then rent it for less than most of his rents, and still be able to count it as a loss?

Ricky_Vaughn 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah like the way he swindled someone into letting him use the PUBLIC parking garage for private use. Yeah, that Doug Compton's a real stand-up guy!

CHKNLTL 6 years, 1 month ago

Saddlebrook Townhomes at 6th & Folks still has a sign that says "Now Leasing Spring 2006"! That is SO lame. And yes, those places are drab, dull, and lifeless. Blah! It should just become a retirement home next to the Medical Plaza. They could call it "Saddle Broke Down Homes".

Kookamooka 6 years, 1 month ago

He hasn't built any eyesores but by not renting the Masonic Lodge (which he could have done times over had he made the rent realistic) he's created blight. Which, in my opinion, is almost worse.

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

Why did the Lawrence Journal world design their building to have the loading dock and trash on the Mass. side?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

I've seen other communities create a walking mall in it's downtown. Eliminate cars on Mass. from 6th to 11th. Allow cross traffic on those streets. Stores could then have extended sidewalk sales as well as extended eating areas. A gentle stroll down Mass would become a welcome getaway by itself. Of course, additional parking would be needed on Vermont and N.H. Those streets could become destinations for stores and shoppers that do not want the experience of Mass Street.

ralphralph 6 years, 1 month ago

Parsons did that ... made their main downtown street a pedestrian mall ... it was beautiful, and a nice, peaceful place for a walk, as it was almost totally uncluttered by customers and such. They finally had the good fortune to have a tornado wipe it out, so they could re-open to traffic and see their downtown reborn. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. It wasn't. I'm not sure I understand why it didn't work, but it just didn't. It won't work in Lawrence, either. You do, though, need to keep the parking lots on the back-sides of the blocks, or at least somewhere within a couple blocks of the destination area.

educatedintheusa 6 years, 1 month ago

Closing off portions of Mass. would allow for not only the positive attributes you mention, but would also enhance pedestrian safety. For example, children may be able to walk with their parents without being physically attached to them.

coderob 6 years, 1 month ago

I love the idea of getting rid of cars, but we need a better bus and bike system to make it work, and we would seriously need to look at how that would impact people's shopping habits.

It would be really exciting for Lawrence to get funding for a more intuitive gridded bus system though, one where the 6th street bus covers all of 6th, and the Iowa bus covers all of Iowa as opposed to the current spoke and grid way of having a bus run from Walmart to Lawrence Ave to Louisiana to Mass and back. Or even doing rapid buses where the driver can control the stop lights.

whats_going_on 6 years, 1 month ago

I like this, they did the same thing in Knoxville, TN and its a beautiful little area

hawkfan_05 6 years, 1 month ago

Local Lawrence ppl are not shopping downtown because of parking. You cannot have parking right in front of the store for everyone. somebody MUST walk. Thus is you eliminate the up-front parking for all, then the feeling to walk is ok.

CHKNLTL 6 years, 1 month ago

the downtown has a pretty good setup for walking...there are crosswalks at corners and in the middle of the blocks, low speed limit, the parking up front is most beneficial to the retirees in this town (who have a lot of money they want to spend for leisure), ordinances requiring downtown business to use signage that is promotional to foot traffic, lots of awnings, very creative window displays. It has always reminded me of a theme park, but with convenient up close parking.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps there's an KU art student looking for a subject for their final project!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

autie, it wasn't the shirt we were worried about.

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

Sam's Club/Lowe's/Hooter's mega-mall.

ralphralph 6 years, 1 month ago

Third billing for the orange hot pants? Really?

kugrl2012 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree with The Hooters. So many more jobs especially for college students. They would make a lot of money.

number3of5 6 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence has plenty of buildings both downtown and otherwise. Many sit empty, revamp them. Then use building dollars to repair the streets.

parrothead8 6 years, 1 month ago

That would be awesome. I would love to see a Royals minor league team relocate here.

Royals 6 years, 1 month ago

I would love that. No more driving 50 miles to watch a AAAA minor league team.

pizzapete 6 years, 1 month ago

Interesting points. There certainly are some dead spots downtown. The Masonic Temple and the building with the empty lot and parking lot (employees only) at 11th and Mass. also come to mind.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 1 month ago

J/W did consider building away from the downtown area. They could not find property with city services available.

Speculation has pushed the property values downtown way out of a reasonable range. Some of those shops have floor joists on bare ground.

PennyBrite 6 years, 1 month ago

La Parilla -- the way IT USED TO BE. When you could sit in a booth and have a conversation with your date.........not with the people sitting so close to you on either side at other tables.

pizzapete 6 years, 1 month ago

I used to go a few times a month, but have only been back but once since the remodel. They ruined a good thing in my opinion.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 6 years, 1 month ago

They put in a bar which comes out into the dining room so they lost some table space. The seating is now arranged like Zen Zero's. There's a little two seater behind a partition that we've been lucky enough to get twice now. I'm not wild about the remodel either but the food is still the same.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Building owners who are willing to break even to bring in locally owned businesses.

ralphralph 6 years, 1 month ago

Why would they do that? You can break even by staying home and putting your money in a savings account. There has to be a reason to subject oneself to the liability-exposure, regulatory headaches, etc., of owning a building ... traditionally, that reason is profit.

notanota 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, socialism is the government ownership of the means of production and/or some goods and services. It is not private business owners being altruistic. Please do crack open a history book and/or dictionary every once in a while instead of hurling a word like "socialism" out there in the hopes of creating a visceral response without knowing the definition.

Unless... Are you actually advocating that the city buy up neglected downtown properties and start renting them to local businesses at cost in order to rev up the local economy? Hmm, you might be onto something there. It's certainly a better idea than TIF.

nanimwe 6 years, 1 month ago

How out of touch with economic reality are you? Obviously you've never rented anything you owned to someone only to have their venture fold, leaving you with the continued monthly mortgage and taxes.

sissezz 6 years, 1 month ago

i like the idea of a gym...... with a nice little juice bar

educatedintheusa 6 years, 1 month ago

The plan as presented has excellent merits. A bird's eye view of the downtown area suggests the need for vertical growth in parking. The growth in parking would allow for the addition of the much needed missing basic retail - namely a grocery store and a pharmacy.

ralphralph 6 years, 1 month ago

I would think that if you are going to grow "retail" then you need to have affordable living units within walking distance for the employees.

nanimwe 6 years, 1 month ago

Sure they could. You would just have a lot of college students having to explain "erroneous" credit card charges to their parents.

ksriver2010 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, rough crowd.

I would like to see some art studios, or, even better, some design studios.

While I do not like Old Town in Wichita, the influx of design agencies and non-retail businesses wanting "cool factor" has been good. In fact, they are running out the bars and such.

townie79 6 years, 1 month ago

how about a newsstand/coffee/fountain drink spot? you know a spot that you can run in grab a newspaper/magazine and your favorite beverage and head out the door. sorta like a Kwik shop w/out the gas!

or in the summertime how about Tad's tropical snow movin downtown??

Jake Hess 6 years, 1 month ago

Townie79 you said it. Maybe a NY-style shop where you can buy a sandwhich or salad, a few grocery items, a coffee, and something to read. Cheese Shop came somewhat close to that, but their insanely limited hours drove customers away and resulted in the collapse of their business.

LogicMan 6 years, 1 month ago

More guy-stuff stores, for both the hairless plains apes and us undocumented aliens.

Bingoj1 6 years, 1 month ago

I would like to see a true Coney Island place. As for the homeless shelter, why not consider the Borders building? From what's been in the paper, they may either fold or close stores if they can't pay their suppliers.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 1 month ago

There already is a shooting range downtown; 11th and Vermont.

lounger 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh yes, and clubs/bars that have good/diverse music and not Im cooler than you bands that suck!!!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

A total ban on internal combustion lawn-care machines. Anything less would be dumb and irresponsible!!!

TheShaman 6 years, 1 month ago

I would love to see some DECENT ethnic food downtown. I'll admit that I've only lived here a little over a year and have only tried three Mass St. establishments that could be considered "ethnic", but all three left a LOT to be desired.

A Vietnamese joint that cooks the beef BEFORE it's put into the pho broth, so you end up with tough leathery meat? The blandest latin food I've ever tasted plus the nerve to upcharge me $1.25 for sour cream on my fajitas? Greasy, tasteless, and nearly inedible Greek?

I don't know if the clientele for "ethnic" exists in Lawrence, but what I wouldn't give for some GOOD and diverse options downtown. I'd love an Ethiopian place.

MyName 6 years, 1 month ago

They tried an Ethiopian restaurant and it went out of business. The new restaurants that have lasted more than a few years have been burger joints mostly (both are good though). I agree about The Orient, but Zen Zero and Indian Palace are both good. I haven't tried any of the sushi places downtown though, so no comment really.

What can you say though, it's a college town so burgers/pizza and italian restaurants are going to be the best draws.

Ricky_Vaughn 6 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't take a dump at India Palace...

JustNoticed 6 years, 1 month ago

Good to know I won't run into your ignorant behind there. Thanks!

Terry Sexton 6 years, 1 month ago

Can you say 'pretentious?' Go ahead & move to Soho, ya pseudo-hipster you.

riverdrifter 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm still pulling for the combination bar/bank/baitshop. That's all you need.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 1 month ago

this town needs a good big & tall store. Spencer's or Casual Male would be great.

Clark Coan 6 years, 1 month ago

Drugstore, fountains, public restrooms.

eotw33 6 years, 1 month ago

Medical Marijuana center! and yes, I realize its not legal here yet...

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

what about a nudie movie theater and a couple of strip joints? it would fit right in with the fat panhandlers/street performers.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

Der Wienerschnitzel!

a gun and knife club with live music

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

actual convention center for conventions of 2K or 3K conventioneers.

if we had a minor league baseball club, let's name it here: the Lawrence ---

the Lawrence --Blob--? The Lawrence Moonbats?

a real thinker: Sam's Club/Lowe's/Hooter's mega-mall.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

And ... up batting for the Lawrence Moonbats with his long hair, standing at the plate in his sandals, is wintergreen spraigh.
swing ... and a miss!
it's a hard loss for the Moonbats to the Columbia Clowns. tough loss indeed.
there's tears in mudville tonight.

RKLOG 6 years, 1 month ago

A grocery store!! Something locally owned.

CHKNLTL 6 years, 1 month ago

the Merc used to be closer to downtown....where were you to make them stay?

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

A grocery store will NEVER make it in downtown Lawrence. There used to be an A&P in the boarded up building next to Allen Press, then there was a naturist organic grocer recently at "the Casbah" building that's now a foo-foo hamburger joint. Of course there was Wild Oats in the old Strong's Office Systems building - my point is, forget about a grocery store. As for some home improvement store, there is not a big enough place to put one, and the traffic counts on Mass are dismal compared to 23rd, 6th, Iowa, and 31st. The rents are too high as well for a grocery, home improvement store or Walmart type store.

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

I didn't realize what naturist meant. Change that to "natural."

farmgal 6 years, 1 month ago

thuja says: "a Doug Compton-free Zone"

thanks for a good early morning laugh!!

it looks like compton is going into the "cattle" business out SE of town. should make a good tax shelter for him while he sits on those 2 pieces of land, waiting to develop them. tore out all that nearly new, really nice barbed wire fence and has put in expensive 16' sections of cattle panels for fencing. crazy--hope he recycled all that torn out barbed wire and it didn't just go to the dump. i've noticed developers really seem to be extremely wasteful, i guess because they can afford to be...

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

i'd like a dimestore with a lunch counter like we used to have downdown. do you remember how great it was sitting there and never knowing who would be lunching with you that day and what strange and great conversations you would end up in?

Terry Sexton 6 years, 1 month ago

Raney's Drugstores. Best lunch counters ever. Excellent burgers, Hot Beef Sandwiches. Pork tenderloins. Fountain drinks. Fries. Sodas & Sundaes. Naugahyde booths. Open somethin' like that downtown & I'm there.

kansanbygrace 6 years, 1 month ago

MacHeath, you do a minor disservice to the memory of Bill. Remember the sign on the inside of the front door? "Do not tell anyone about the Lion. We have no time for strangers." Shhhhhh.

gurisu 6 years, 1 month ago

I would love a Hot Topic downtown! That would pretty much complete downtown's appeal to some age groups!

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

and a port a potty, oh, wait, they have those now at 9th and New Hampshire.

garyr 6 years, 1 month ago

Street Preacher, with a megaphone, standing on a milk crate, Bible in hand.

pooter 6 years, 1 month ago

A theme park containing a few Westboro Baptist Church protesters and a water cannon.


gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 1 month ago

Combined gun store and adult entertainment center

littlexav 6 years, 1 month ago

whatever happened to Abe-and-Jake's? Is it still in business? If so, tear it down and start from scratch.Greate site, horrible building.

CHKNLTL 6 years, 1 month ago

It was listed in LJW for $1.3 million last week. If someone who will run it won't buy them out, I'm sure some developer from around here will scoop up that lot, too.

Aiko 6 years, 1 month ago

A place one could go to watch Bum Fights.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

Beatnik, I was one of those you must've rubbed elbows with at Jenning's and Woolworth's.

wow, what I wouldn't give for a real donut shop downtown that serves simple coffee, simple like jenning's!

you go in and order "coffee" not frappa/cappa/latte/chinoesque! you get real fresh donuts. you sit at a 1950's style table, and the bathroom has no frills!

there's newspapers, lots of people talking, and windows that look out onto Mass street.

and then at woolworth's you never knew which two or three pies were serving that day, but they all were good!

Mac, you got it buddy. beer can hat. maybe we need a little store, in the 8-hundred block west side of mass that just sells beer can hats and indian statues.

Kookamooka 6 years, 1 month ago

Stuff for kids and families to do. A destination park inspired by the CIty Museum in St. Louis. Later hours so I can shop downtown. We've got so many imaginative residents in this town. . Vote for artists for city commission! Encourage them to run! Maybe they can bring back one of my favorite city events....Dada Day.

Jimo 6 years, 1 month ago

People do realize that "free" parking is parking whose expense to you is hidden? LOL

The single change in mindset that would benefit the economy the greatest would be for people to abandon the irrational belief that absent pay-as-you-go or receiving an itemized bill that any material thing can ever be "free." The best you can hope for is to shift the cost to someone else (which is unlikely).

Jay Keffer 6 years, 1 month ago

A guaranteed homerun - Trader Joe's. They simply work. Good quality food, decent prices (not Merc or Whole Foods markups), stuff you can't find anywhere else, and 3-Buck Chuck!

Put one in the soon-to-be-vacant Borders. It will be a magnet, drawing the usual and unusual crowd into downtown. And they have 3-Buck Chuck!

Never seen one that was not busy, and I have seen a few across this great land of ours. Case of 3-Buck chuck for $39.14 (your tax mileage will vary). And they carry Blue Fin Pinot Noir for $4 a bottle. Try to find a decent Pinot for anywhere near that price.

Plus, they all wear Hawaiian shirts while selling 3-Buck Chuck!

Seriously, want to revive downtown - that is the one business that could do it. Of all the choices out there, I can't think of any other business that could do it on their own. Except IKEA. That would be cool. But they don't sell 3-Buck Chuck!

coderob 6 years, 1 month ago

I love the idea of getting rid of cars, but we need a better bus and bike system to make it work, and we would seriously need to look at how that would impact people's shopping habits.

It would be really exciting for Lawrence to get funding for a more intuitive gridded bus system though, one where the 6th street bus covers all of 6th, and the Iowa bus covers all of Iowa as opposed to the current spoke and grid way of having a bus run from Walmart to Lawrence Ave to Louisiana to Mass and back. Or even doing rapid buses where the driver can control the stop lights.

true_patriot 6 years, 1 month ago

OTHER - more little pockets of green space, including one for showing the community outdoor movie nights in the summer, now that the new project by the parking garage eliminated that spot.

These pockets of green space have been shown to improve the overall draw and value of a downtown area. They are a hard sell because some folks look at it as losing out on a certain amount of $ per square foot that's not being developed. It requires being able to look at what is best for the downtown area as a whole rather than maximizing profit on a specific square foot of land to plan wisely for the future.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 1 month ago

I hope downtown doesn't become more of an aggeyville.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 1 month ago

A giant roundabout and a combination gun range and gentlemen's club.

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