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LJWorld.com weblogs Lawrence in the News

Downtown Lawrence is goal in Norman, Okla.

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¢ Becoming more like Lawrence's downtown was cited as a goal recent mayoral forum in Norman, Okla., according to the [Norman Transcript][1]."f you've been to Lawrence, Kansas, it's a lovely place. It's a university community. It's a vital downtown, lots of great stores and shops ... a walkable, lovely city," (Mayoral candidate Cindy) Rosenthal said. "Fort Collins, Colo., is doing a terrific job at managing stormwater."¢ Songwriter Annie Stela cited Lawrence as a place she enjoys being during an interview with [Harp Magazine][2].I kind of romanticize and dramatize stuff from my own life and watching people walk on the street, or being in a small town like Lawrence, Kan. or Norman, Okla. That was so great for me on tour, because it allowed me to step out of myself and watch other people. I hate to say it, but as a songwriter I can be relatively self-absorbed, so it's nice to get outside of yourself and watch these people and these little slices of life. [1]: http://www.normantranscript.com/localnews/local_story_034004527?keyword=secondarystory [2]: http://www.harpmagazine.com/articles/detail.cfm?article_id=5076

Comments

50YearResident 7 years, 10 months ago

Let us help out, send 50 "Homeless People" to Norman, Okla.

Newell_Post 7 years, 10 months ago

I know there all kinds of political and property rights issues having to do with downtown Lawrence. But articles such as this show that we are doing some things right. Despite its problems, downtown is a good place, on balance.

If you want to see a bad example of what happens in the absence of active protection of a downtown, try visiting downtown Knoxville, TN, a college town not unlike Lawrence. I lived there for 5 years and its downtown was dead, dead, dead. Suburban malls and expensive parking had completely decimated all retail in that downtown. When I worked there (a few years ago) it was so bad that I could not find anywhere in downtown to buy aspirin, envelopes, or Scotch Tape. You could file a lawsuit or eat lunch, but could not buy Scotch Tape in downtown Knoxville.

It may seem odd, but one of the things Lawrence has done right is to provide good, cheap metered parking in those lots behind Mass. Street. Knoxville allowed one parking company to buy up and monopolize 100% of the surface lots and garages. Like all monopolies, they jacked up the prices to the point that working in downtown was very expensive and shopping was untenable. The result? Migration of 100% of retail to the suburban malls and a ghost town on Gay Street. (Knoxville's main street.)

roger_o_thornhill 7 years, 10 months ago

Should have gone to the Sun Sphere Wig Outlet.

Newell_Post 7 years, 10 months ago

Even the Sun Sphere was closed when I lived there! Everybody had moved to either West Town Mall or Pigeon Forge to be near Dollywood!

ThomasJefferson 7 years, 10 months ago

The reason downtown Lawrence is still vibrant is that more than two decades ago the enlightened citizens of Lawrence made a decision to make downtown the primary commerical district. That is why they proposals for downtown malls and a cornfield mall have been blocked. If we had allowed a big downtown mall (look at Manhattan) or a cornfield mall (look at Topeka), downtown Lawrence would be dead.

Sandra Willis 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey, a downtown mall was allowed ... at the corner of 6th and New Hampshire ... it should have been a good thing, but closed after a few years - was taken up by a Hotel (the Marriot) and Sunflower's (the local Cable company) offices.

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

Be careful what you ask for Norman, you may just get it!

Rickyonealku 7 years, 10 months ago

My daughter is a freshman at KU....she just loves it and I love visiting Lawrence, Kansas....a Lot

Ricky Weber Norman, Oklahoma.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 10 months ago

Bodan, The riverfront mall would have been a good idea, if anyone had shopped there. Many people in Lawrence don't like shopping in a mall like atmosphere, so it failed. It just wasn't as much fun as downtown is.

jennifermarti 7 years, 10 months ago

If they really want to be like Lawrence maybe we could ship all the begging homeless bums dowtown over to Norman and see what they think then. Then and only then would dowtown be what it's supposed to be to the community. A SAFE place to shop and eat.

Sunflower_Jen 7 years, 10 months ago

Pilgrim - to what are you referring by saying Professor Rosenthal is "Living up to the title 'Okie'".

Mkh 7 years, 10 months ago

If they get a Starbuck's, Gap, Eddie Bauer and A&F they can not only be just like Lawrence, but every other downtown in America.

KS 7 years, 10 months ago

The River Front Mall went bust because you had to pay to park in that garage. Free parking and it would have gone over better.

Newell_Post 7 years, 10 months ago

I am old enough to remember rolling into Lawrence over the old bridge, past the grain elevators and the flour mill, and past the run down old gas station at 6th & Mass. (Was it a Skelly? Can't remember which brand.) That was before the angled parking and the planters.

The current "streetscape" in downtown is really pretty nice, all things considered. Knoxville had plenty of bums too, but with the added ambiance of 100% abandoned storefronts.

The homeless advocates may scream at this, but the main reasons for the bums in Knoxville were shelters where they could get two hots and a cot in exchange for a prayer or two. During the day, they were turned out to roam the streets. In the smaller towns nearby with no missions, few bums.

Mike Blur 7 years, 10 months ago

While you all are hatin' on downtown, take a second to click on that Annie Stela link above. She's definitely work clicking a link for.

Mark Jakubauskas 7 years, 10 months ago

Norman has everything against it, nothing in its favor, and it's never going to be like Lawrence. Aside from the fact it's in Oklahoma and Norman's your basic dump of a town, there's extensive commercial development west of town, no destination(s) in the downtown, no office space, and really, no reason to ever venture into the Norman downtown. There's not one iota of progressive thinking in the town, no cultural or artistic appeal, and this is a town that HAD NO BOOKSTORE until Border moved in! The homeless ? Even the Okie homeless don't bother to hang out in the Norman downtown.

davisnin 7 years, 10 months ago

A bum asking for a quarter is not a life threatening situation. Downtown is SAFE. Oak Park Mall is far more dangerous than our downtown.

Sunflower_Jen 7 years, 10 months ago

Pilgrim - I am not asking what an Okie is. I am asking what it is about Professor Rosenthal's statement that makes you say she is living up to what an Okie is. I don't find any grammatical errors in her statement, etc.

jayhawks71 7 years, 10 months ago

Boy some people need to get out of small town America once in their lives. If you think a homeless person asking for spare change is "dangerous" and "threatening" you have lived a sheltered life... I bet these are the same people who buy into the "but by the grace of God..." blah blah, yet ridicule homeless people. Hypocrites I and II; the books left out of the Bible.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

Another reason the Riverfront Mall went to hell is that it was a dumping ground for numerous "outlet", "factory seconds" and other stores that carried crap that wouldn't sell anywhere else. You cannot blame the failure on the fact that so many people love "beautiful downtown Lawrence", if there had been a real effort to secure a first rate development where the old paper mill and grain elevators once stood, it would be in business today. Downtown Lawrence is a waste to me. It is full of bars, overpriced , joe-college stores, and little else. And all the parking is metered. Wal-Mart and Target do not have parking meters. Neither does Sears, Pennys, Office Depot, Aldi, or any other merchants on South Iown. The TRUE retail center of town, regrdless of what the chamber says.

Bladerunner 7 years, 10 months ago

I sincerely doubt the mall went bust over the .50 cent parking fee. Not when it cost a quarter to park downtown.

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