Bakery planned at 19th and Barker; KU moving ahead on intergenerational neighborhood; city handing out grants

I don’t know about you, but I would rather eat bread than do laundry, which explains why an increasing number of my pants have broken elastic waistbands and have to be stored in a garden shed downwind from the house.

But if you are like me in this regard, there is good news. A longtime East Lawrence laundromat is being replaced with a bakery that will specialize in homemade breads. As I mentioned last week, I had gotten wind of a rumor that East Lawrence was going to get a new bakery, and now I’ve confirmed that it is going into the former laundromat building at East 19th Street and Barker Avenue.

A Lawrence resident who makes his living as a pastry chef in Kansas City will open the establishment with his brother later this year.

“We want to be a neighborhood bakery and cafe that makes great artisan bread and great coffee,” said Taylor Petrehn, who currently is a pastry chef for Kansas City’s Parisi Coffee.

The new establishment will be called 1900 Barker Bakery and Cafe. If you are not familiar with the location, it is the bungalow-style laundromat at the southeast corner of 19th and Barker. (A question to ponder over four or five loaves of sourdough, cheese and stout: Does an intersection with a roundabout still have corners?)

Petrehn said he plans to bake a variety of breads daily, but he expects them to have some common characteristics: a sourdough-method of leavening, lots of whole grains, and “substantial” crusts that are perhaps a bit darker and more caramelized that many traditional breads.

He also plans one other curveball for the bread industry. Instead of focusing his baking on the early-morning hours, he plans to do his baking during the day, so the loaves are fresh out of the oven in the afternoon.

“We want people to stop by and get fresh bread for dinner, rather than buying bread that has been sitting around all day,” Petrehn said.

Petrehn, who lives in the Barker neighborhood, said his brother, Reagan Petrehn, will be in charge of the coffee side of the business. Reagan has won an award in a regional barista competition, Petrehn said, and he currently is in China as part of a coffee-related project.

Petrehn said the shop also will have some pastries, such as croissants and chocolate chip cookies, but he said the focus very much will be on breads.

Although I’m excited about another bread option, the new business does spell the end for a bit of a Lawrence institution. The building at 1900 Barker has served as a laundromat for at least the last 60 years, Petrehn said, according to records he has researched from the city. The building has had some interesting history, including a time when a newborn child was abandoned there by her mother. I wrote about that piece of history back in early 2013.

As for when the bakery will open, Petrehn said he doesn’t have an exact date. He’s wrapping up obligations with Parisi Coffee, and renovation work on the building is just now getting underway. But he said the new business will be up and running by the end of 2014.

“We have a lot of work to do on the building,” Petrehn said. “But being in the neighborhood is going to be great.”

In other news and notes from around town:

• Speaking of neighborhoods, there has been talk off and on of an effort by the private sector and the university to build something called an “intergenerational neighborhood.” Part of the idea is to attract more retirees to Lawrence, but the neighborhood would be built on the premise that today’s retirees don’t want to be entirely surrounded by other retirees. They want to be in a neighborhood of mixed ages and family types.

At one point, there was some discussion about property south and east of the Rock Chalk Park sports complex being used to house the intergenerational neighborhood. Then news on the project became a bit quiet. Well, it is not because the idea has disappeared like a loaf of sourdough and a pound of butter. Rather, it simply has been because Kansas University officials have been dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s.

The university last last week officially issued a request for qualifications to partner with KU on an “Intergenerational Living Laboratory.” What that means is that any experienced development group is encouraged to submit a proposal on building an intergenerational neighborhood in Lawrence.

As far as what KU would bring to the partnership, it appears to be programming, classes and other unique experiences available to residents of the neighborhood. There also may be the use of the KU brand name, which could be important from a developer’s standpoint.

More specifically, the university states in the request for qualifications that it “intends to provide support for the residence by offering programs or opportunities for KU students, staff and faculty of various KU departments, schools and disciplines, including but not limited to: nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, architecture, sustainability, design and planning, preventative and public health, psychology and sociology to engage in hands on training, research and education at the residence and in collaboration with staff and residents of the facility for appropriate fees.”

From what I’ve gathered, the university is interested in the project, in part, because it thinks these intergenerational neighborhoods are going to be a big deal as the American population grows older. Being able to do research in such a neighborhood in its own backyard should lead to multiple opportunities for research grants and other collaborations.

Now, determining exactly what part of KU’s backyard this will be located in, will be interesting. As I mentioned, the area around Rock Chalk Park already has been proposed. We’ll see if ideas for other parts of the city also come forward. Developers have until June 6 to submit their concepts. No word on when KU officials expect to make a decision on whether to proceed with a partnership.

• This is the time of year where the city of Lawrence hands out thousands of dollars worth of grants to local social service agencies, housing organizations and neighborhood associations. The money comes via the federal government through the Community Development Block Grant program and housing assistance program commonly known as HOME funds. Click here to see a full list of those groups recommended to receive funding.

Many of the associations and agencies that are scheduled to receive funding in 2014 are the same groups as in past years. But there are some exceptions.

A notable one is that the Oread Neighborhood Association is not scheduled to receive any money to support its neighborhood coordinator position and programming. In the past, the city has used a portion of the approximately $700,000 in federal CDBG funds it receives to provide funding to five neighborhood associations that serve areas of predominately low-to-middle income residents. The neighborhoods are Brook Creek, East Lawrence, North Lawrence, Pinckney and Oread. All the neighborhoods other than Oread are receiving funding this year, with several of them receiving some nice increases compared with 2013. The amounts range from a low of about $4,800 for North Lawrence to about $7,900 for East Lawrence.

Oread submitted an application for about $12,500 in funding, but the city-appointed advisory board overseeing the applications is recommending no funding for the neighborhood association.

The memo to city commissioners doesn’t explain why the group’s funding application was denied, but I noted in its application that the association in its 2012-2013 budget listed about $8,100 of unspent CDBG funds that it previously had been awarded.

The issue of neighborhood associations in Oread, which is the neighborhood primarily north and east of KU’s main campus, has been a contentious one recently. Several years ago, there was wholesale change in leadership with the Oread Neighborhood Association. Several landlords were elected to the officer positions on the board, much to the chagrin of several residents who lived in the neighborhood and had served on the board. The landlords, however, noted that most of the property in Oread is rental-based, so having landlords lead the association has some logic to it. But several residents formed an alternative neighborhood association called the Oread Residents Association. It is not receiving any city funding in 2014 either.

Currently, the Oread Neighborhood Association is led by president Serina Hearn, who is a local landlord who has had some run-ins with City Hall.

• Neighborhood associations aren’t the only group seeking money through the CDBG program. The money is also used to build things, and the city in recent years has been submitting its own applications to build projects. After taking a year off, the city once again is seeking grant money for a sidewalk gap program. The program aims to fill in sidewalk gaps in a variety of neighborhoods. The city advisory board is recommending that the city’s Public Works Department receive $85,900 in CDBG funds for a sidewalk gap program.

The department has identified a list of 12 locations it will consider for work: 16th Street, north side Rhode Island to Barker; Winona Street, both sides from Barker west to existing sidewalk; Naismith Drive, east side from Campus Court to 23rd Street; Crescent Street, south side near Naismith Drive; 27th Street, north side from Arkansas to Naismith bridge; Ridge Court, west side from 25th to 27th streets; 26th Street, south side near Ridge Court; 19th Terrace north side between Naismith and Ousdahl; west side of 900 block of Arkansas; west side of 600 block of Michigan; wheelchair ramp at southeast corner of Ninth and Iowa.

Whether the city will be able to do work in all the locations, however, isn’t yet clear. The recommended funding amount is about $35,000 less than what the department had requested.

Sidewalk and pedestrian issues will be an interesting issue to watch in coming months. I’m hearing word that there may even be a proposal to raise property taxes in the 2015 budget to allow for more work on sidewalk issues. As I get more information on that, I’ll pass it along.

City commissioners at their 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday will consider approving the CDBG and HOME funding amounts.

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