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More city construction projects, and the age-old growth debate


Last time on this blog, we discussed how the city budget has a list of major projects the city hopes to build in 2009. In fact, I equated it to a Christmas list, and said the coolest new gadget on the list may be a $500,000 traffic light synchronization project on Sixth Street. But everyone knows you can't just have one item on your list. Here's a look at what other major capital improvement projects City Manager David Corliss is recommending as part of the 2009 budget:¢ $1.3 million to add ADA accessible features to the Carnegie Library building at Ninth and Vermont so it can be used for office space and parks and recreation uses. ¢ $1 million to add fill dirt on an 87-acre tract of ground near the East Hills Business Park. City and county leaders hope the improvements will make the property more attractive to businesses looking to locate in Lawrence. ¢ $450,000 to repave 23rd Street from Iowa to Louisiana. ¢ $300,000 to help the school district relocate the Lawrence Tennis Center from its current location near Lawrence High to a spot closer to Centennial School. Originally, the cost was estimated at $1 million but has been reduced after having further conversations with the school district. ¢ $200,000 to help developers pay for an extension of George Williams Way north of Sixth Street. That last item may spark the age-old debate of whether growth really does pay for itself. I won't tell you which side of that fence to stand on, but here is another set of numbers to throw into the equation.In the 2009 capital improvement budget, private developers are scheduled to pay for $10.1 million of streets and traffic lights - through special assessment imposed by the city. The city at large is expected to pay for $3.6 million in street improvements, although city leaders hope it will be higher if voters approve a new sales tax. Of course, streets aren't the only piece of infrastructure needed for growth. Water and sewer service is needed as well. On that front, the city is planning to spend $23.9 million in 2009, with almost all of it being paid by ratepayers at large. But figuring out how much of those costs are attributed to growth and how much are related to replacing old infrastructure can get tricky. But I'm sure you posters can figure it out. To get you started, [here's the complete list of projects][1], and [loads of background information.][2] [1]: http://www.lawrenceks.org/study_sessions/2008/07-14-08/07-14-08h/cmo_2009_capital_improvement_budget_pages.html [2]: http://www.lawrenceks.org/study_sessions/2008/07-14-08/07-14-08h/cmo_2009_to_2014_cip_projects_with_scores.pdf


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