WRITER: Rochelle Valverde

City's $1.5M in CARES funding to support utility bill assistance, air-cleaning systems, child care and other programs

The City of Lawrence has been awarded about $1.5 million in federal coronavirus relief grants, helping to fund a utility bill assistance program, electronic air-cleaning systems, a campsite for homeless people and child care for working parents. The federal funding is part of the nearly $25 million that Douglas County received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES. The $1.47 ...

KDOT recommends open-access highway for SLT expansion over option with tolled express lanes

The Kansas Department of Transportation and others studying the potential options for the expansion of the South Lawrence Trafficway are recommending an open-access highway as opposed to a partially tolled expressway option. As part of the study, KDOT and the Federal Highway Administration evaluated several alternatives for the expansion and have determined that an open-access highway best meets the purpose ...

Following study, changes to Lawrence stoplight timings aim to improve traffic flow on main corridors

Upcoming changes to traffic signals along some of the city’s main corridors will aim to decrease the time motorists spend sitting behind red lights and improve traffic flow throughout the city. Olsson, an engineering and design firm hired by the city, is making adjustments to the timing and function of traffic signals following an approximately yearlong study of traffic patterns. The changes will be made to ...

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured Thursday, July 7, 2016.

To help create affordable housing downtown, some city leaders support redeveloping city parking lots

Some Lawrence city commissioners say that in order to create affordable housing options downtown, the city might have to repurpose some of its parking lots and other properties. The idea of redeveloping the city's downtown properties — which include a few buildings and 17 parking lots — was one of several options discussed during a meeting of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board last week that included ...

Lawrence Police Department employee tests positive for COVID-19; interim police chief in quarantine

Story updated at 7:27 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18: A Lawrence Police Department employee who recently attended a gathering with the interim police chief has tested positive for COVID-19, requiring the interim chief to quarantine. The Journal-World learned of the situation through an email Interim Police Chief Anthony Brixius sent to Lawrence Police Department staff that was provided to the newspaper. City spokesman ...

Lawrence City Commission approves ordinance to make violating pandemic health orders a municipal offense

City leaders have voted to approve an ordinance that gives Lawrence police more power to enforce local health orders put in place to deter the spread of COVID-19. As part of a special meeting Thursday, the Lawrence City Commission voted 4-1, with Mayor Jennifer Ananda opposing, to approve an ordinance that makes endangering the public health, safety, or welfare against municipal code. The ordinance uses ...

City leaders express interest in creating ordinance that would make disregarding health orders a municipal offense

In the wake of multiple large house parties over the weekend, Lawrence city leaders say they are interested in considering an ordinance that would make it a municipal offense to violate local health orders put in place to deter the spread of COVID-19. After a debate during the Lawrence City Commission meeting Tuesday, a majority of the commissioners said they were interested in at least considering such an ...

City leaders considering ordinance to make violating pandemic health orders a municipal offense

In the wake of multiple large house parties over the weekend, Lawrence city leaders say they are interested in considering an ordinance that would make it a municipal offense to violate local health orders put in place to deter the spread of COVID-19. After a debate during the Lawrence City Commission meeting Tuesday, a majority of the commissioners said they were interested in at least considering such an ...

Lawrence City Commission finalizes ordinance that provides protections for undocumented immigrants, requires notification of certain ICE activity

City leaders have finalized a nondiscrimination ordinance regarding undocumented immigrants, including the addition of two provisions meant to create transparency regarding how police interact with those populations. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance on second reading with two additions. The additions require public notification when the ...

City leaders ask for more details on how proposed $29 million field operations headquarters would save city money

City leaders would like to know more specifics about how a proposal to build a $29 million field operations headquarters in eastern Lawrence would create operational efficiencies, thereby saving the city money. As part of the Lawrence City Commission's meeting on Tuesday, city staff and the design team for the project presented the master plan for the field operations campus, which the city plans to build on ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider additions to ordinance that provides protections for undocumented immigrants

City leaders will soon discuss additional provisions of a nondiscrimination ordinance meant to create transparency regarding how the police interact with undocumented immigrants. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider adopting the ordinance on second reading following some changes the commission directed city staff to make in July. At that time, the commission approved the ...

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured Thursday, July 7, 2016.

City seeks residents' views on systemic racism as part of reconsideration of police force's role, budget

The City of Lawrence will soon be starting a conversation about systemic racism to help inform potentially fundamental changes in policing and other city functions — with the city’s multimillion-dollar police budget in the balance. Following local and national protests this year over police killings of Black people and systemic racism, Mayor Jennifer Ananda in June called for the city to consider about a ...

Lawrence City Commission to review proposed master plan for $29 million field operations headquarters

More details will soon be shared about the city’s plans to build a $29 million field operations headquarters in eastern Lawrence. As part of the Lawrence City Commission meeting Tuesday, city staff and the design team for the project will present the master plan for the field operations campus, which the city plans to build on the site of the former Farmland nitrogen fertilizer plant in eastern Lawrence. The ...

City seeking feedback on bus route redesign to prepare for design of long-awaited bus transfer hub

The City of Lawrence is moving forward with plans to build a new bus-transfer hub, starting with a yearlong process to determine how bus routes should be restructured. The city has previously allocated $4.5 million for the project, but the project was delayed because of years of debate about where to build the Multimodal Transfer Facility. The process to restructure the city’s bus routes will include a ...

City leaders increase occupancy limits for temporary cold-weather shelters

Temporary shelters for homeless people can now house up to 40 occupants as long as the building has adequate space to do so. As part of its consent agenda Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission approved new occupancy limits for temporary shelters that typically house homeless people during the winter months. The new occupancy limits are tied to square footage of the building, and they replace the previous rules ...

City leaders approve funding for pedestrian crossings in two residential areas

The City of Lawrence will be adding two new pedestrian crossings for high-traffic streets that run through residential neighborhoods. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission voted unanimously to approve an additional $33,800 in funding to cover the project, which came in above estimates, according to a city staff memo to the commission. One crossing will be built at the intersection of ...

Public health officials say plan is in the works to enforce new order regarding alcohol service at bars, restaurants

Local public health officials say they are creating a plan to step up enforcement of health orders put in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, including a recent order that prohibits businesses from serving alcohol after 9 p.m. As part of its work session Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission received a report and presentation from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health regarding local COVID-19 ...

Local effort works to recognize segregation in Lawrence, years-long struggle for first integrated swimming pool

One of the stark markers of segregation in Lawrence was that white children swam in a private pool with a snack bar and lifeguards while Black children often resorted to the muddy Kansas River. And in the case of 12-year-old Wray Jones, ended up drowning in its waters. The river can hide its undercurrent, and on a summer afternoon in 1955, Wray, taking a break from fishing along the riverbank, was swimming ...

COVID-19 pandemic has not led to an increase in evictions in Douglas County, but many could be at risk in months to come

Though unemployment rates remain stubbornly high, both state and federal actions to respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic appear to be heading off any increase in the number of evictions in Lawrence, at least for now. As the Journal-World recently reported, Douglas County’s unemployment rate dipped ever so slightly in July, but the number of unemployed people in the county was still up ...

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Lawrence City Commission to receive report on local COVID-19 situation, including update on demographics and reopening goals

City leaders will soon get a look at details regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Douglas County and efforts to address it. As part of its work session Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will receive a report and presentation from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health regarding COVID-19, including demographic data on local cases, an update on reopening goals and positive test rate distribution by ...