LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk
Gun/tactical supply store opening in West Lawrence, city to consider buying street light system, request to close portion of N.H. street until March
Yes, I conduct tactical maneuvers from time to time. They primarily involve late-night, covert raids on my home's thermostat. It is the only way to combat my wife's iron fist policy that the heater doesn't come on until ice cubes come out of the faucet.
But others conduct more serious tactical exercises, or at least want to be prepared to do so, and they soon will have a store in Lawrence to get their gear. S&S Tactical is opening for business at 4910 Wakarusa Court, in the retail/office area behind the car wash northwest of the Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive intersection.
The shop is aiming to become a full-service firearms retailer and it plans to carry a variety of personal protection accessories, said co-owner Sean Serrao. The store will sell items including body armor, holsters, chest protectors, pepper spray, Tasers, and a little bit of survival gear, Serrao told me.
The store also hopes to cater to hunters and firearms enthusiasts. Gun and ammunition sales will be a big part of the business. The store expects to carry brands including Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Glock, Remington, Bushmaster, Tactical Machining and others.
"We moved here from Orlando and just saw a need in the market," Serrao said. "Lawrence is kind of a very empty market for firearms sales and tactical gear."
A store specializing in firearms hasn't taken root in Lawrence for quite awhile, although there are at least three pawn shops that sell firearms.
Serrao said the demand for body armor and other gear also is on the rise across the country, so he thinks there will be a market for it in this area.
"You kind of have that whole survivalist movement that has exploded the market for tactical gear," Serrao said.
Plus, Serrao figures the store will do good business with area hunters looking for another local option to purchase ammunition.
The store, which has about 1,500 square feet of retail space and about 2,500 square feet of warehouse space, partially opened at the beginning of the month. But the federal shutdown has caused a delay in the store getting its federal retail firearms license. I checked in today, and the store is hoping to be fully opened and licensed by Nov. 2. In the meantime, the store has limited hours — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — and is selling only its non-firearms inventory.
In other news and notes around town:
• As much as a little heating bill distresses my wife, imagine what she would do if she had to pay the city's electric bill to run all the streetlights. The city spends about $600,000 a year on street lights, and the rates from Westar Energy are expected to increase.
That has City Auditor Michael Eglinski renewing a call that the city seriously consider purchasing the street light system from Westar. Buying the approximately 3,500 street lights would eliminate the maintenance and management fee the city pays. The city, obviously, would still pay for the electricity to power the lights.
When Eglinski made a similar recommendation in 2009, the idea didn't take hold with the city manager's office. An analysis indicted the savings might not be great once the city created its own system for maintaining the street lights.
But now City Manager David Corliss says he's ready to look at the issue again. Two things have changed: Rates and technology. A review of the city's bills shows that the city's average cost per light has increased 24 percent since 2008, Eglinski has determined. Plus, a plan being considered by the Kansas Corporation Commission likely would increase street light costs by another 10 percent.
On the technology front, the feasibility of using LED bulbs in street lamps has improved, Eglinski concludes in his new report. By owning the system, the city would be in a better position to convert the system to the more efficient bulbs.
Several cities in the Kansas City area — Lenexa, Overland Park, Mission, Fairway and Leawood — have purchased their street light systems in recent years. But all those purchases were made from Kansas City Power & Light. It is not clear whether Westar has any interest in selling the system. City commissioners will be asked to weigh in on the subject at their Tuesday evening meeting.
• Commissioners also will be asked to consider partially closing a major downtown street for several months. Developers of the hotel project at Ninth and New Hampshire streets want to close the northbound lane of New Hampshire from Ninth to the Arts Center until March.
Crews recently have had both lanes of the street closed while they relocated a storm sewer. That work is finishing, but contractors are asking that the northbound lane remain closed for a crane on the site to have more room to operate. The contractor is willing to move the crane and reopen the northbound lane periodically for major events, such as the Old Fashioned Christmas Parade that draws thousands to downtown.
Based on the plans I've seen, it also looks like the closing of the northbound lane would not extend south of the mid-block crosswalk that leads to the Arts Center. That means access to the city's parking garage in the 900 block of New Hampshire would remain open.
Area neighbors and businesses have been notified of the request, and have been asked to provide their input at Tuesday's meeting.