WRITER: Rochelle Valverde

Local artists create postcards and posters of Lawrence parks and green spaces

Creators of a new art project want to help people appreciate the beauty of Lawrence parks and green spaces — and even bring a bit of that beauty indoors. The Lawrence Public Library partnered with several organizations — Lawrence Magazine, the Kansas Land Trust and the Douglas County Community Foundation — to create postcards and posters for the Lawrence Parks & Green Spaces Art Project. The artwork ...

3-month project to improve safety at troubled intersection of South Lawrence Trafficway

Work will begin soon on a project to address safety issues and congestion on a troubled intersection of the South Lawrence Trafficway. Starting Monday, the first phase of improvements to the intersection where the trafficway meets 27th Street and Wakarusa Drive will begin, according to an announcement from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The improvements include a new turn lane, an extension of an ...

Leaders of Lawrence homeless shelter say capacity remains limited in effort to stop virus spread

Leaders at the local homeless shelter say that although they are once again accepting new residents, the pandemic continues to limit the shelter’s ability to house the homeless. The Lawrence Community Shelter, 3655 E. 25th St., stopped accepting new residents in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and instead shifted its focus to finding housing for those who were experiencing homelessness, as the ...

Section of Massachusetts Street occupied by protesters will stay closed ‘at least’ through Wednesday; mayor voices support for protesters

Story updated at 6:01 p.m. Tuesday: As a protest that is occupying a block of Massachusetts Street continues into its fourth day, the City of Lawrence says it will keep the road closed "at least" through Wednesday. Protesters have been occupying a portion of Massachusetts Street that runs through South Park since Saturday after a graphic banner depicting a lynching and an anonymous letter criticizing the Black ...

Amid pandemic, city and police union to propose extension of police union contract with 'minor changes'

City officials and representatives of the city’s police union say they have decided to forgo the typical contract negotiation process because of the coronavirus pandemic, opting instead to put forward what both groups say is an extension of the current contract with only minimal changes. The city’s employment agreement with the Lawrence Police Officers Association covers wages, benefits and working ...

Lawrence Public Library reopens, but visits are limited and face masks required

The Lawrence Public Library has reopened in a limited capacity, but library leaders say a return to normal operating is still far away. The library’s meeting areas, study tables and reading corners are gone, and there are limits on the number of visitors and how long they can stay. Executive Director Brad Allen said the library, at 707 Vermont St., is not ready to return to a place for people to read and ...

City to begin roadwork for temporary downtown layout to respond to coronavirus

Roadwork will soon begin to temporarily reconfigure the layout of downtown Lawrence to allow more space for outdoor commerce due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, city staff will begin work on Massachusetts Street for the recently approved reconfiguration plan, which will cause some traffic closures while the work is in progress, according to a city news release. The work, which will continue on Tuesday ...

Following appeal, city planners again say East Lawrence bar cannot reopen

City planners have reaffirmed their decision that a longtime family-run tavern in East Lawrence can't reopen because it let a special allowance lapse. Planners determined in March that the former Charlie’s East Side Grill & Bar, 900 Pennsylvania St., had forfeited the grandfathered tavern use that had allowed it to operate despite zoning that disallowed such use. Members of the Del Campo family, who own ...

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

City seeking more input on strategic plan and spending priorities amid pandemic and racial justice issues

The City of Lawrence is reopening community feedback on the city’s strategic plan to see how racial justice movements and the COVID-19 pandemic have affected community priorities. The Lawrence City Commission will use the feedback to inform its strategic plan, which helps guide the commission’s budget decisions. The city already collected feedback from residents in February and March, but states in a news ...

City of Lawrence receives more than $8 million in CARES Act grants, including $7 million to support bus service

Updated at 3:56 p.m. The City of Lawrence has received more than $8 million in federal relief to help respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, most of which will go to help the city’s bus service continue normal operations. The city’s transit service, which it coordinates with the University of Kansas service, depends heavily on sales tax collections. Sales tax revenue has already ...

Community Police Review Board members say board is just a ‘rubber stamp’ for police, call for more review powers

Lawrence's Community Police Review Board is calling for a review of its structure and powers given that the board has yet to review any complaints against police since it was created nearly two years ago. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to establish a work group to review the board’s structure and recommend changes to the City Commission. Specifically, the work group will review ...

Planning Commission recommends against south Lawrence shopping center and apartment complex

The local planning board is recommending against various land use changes needed for a long-debated shopping center proposed for just south of the South Lawrence Trafficway. As part of its meeting Monday, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the denial of various planning and zoning changes that would allow for the KTen Crossing shopping center and ...

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

City leaders take voluntary pay reductions to help offset revenue shortfalls from coronavirus pandemic

As the City of Lawrence anticipates revenue losses related to the coronavirus pandemic, some local leaders are voluntarily giving up a portion of their salaries to help the city’s bottom line. But they don’t expect those contributions to be antidotes, and they're still preparing for the need to make significant budget cuts. At their most recent meeting, Lawrence city commissioners voted unanimously to ...

Former utility worker with digestive disease sues City of Lawrence for alleged discrimination; city says he was fired for just cause

A former utility worker is suing the City of Lawrence for allegedly discriminating against him because of his disability, but the city says that he was fired for legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons and that awarding him damages would be "unjust enrichment." The plaintiff, Deandre Simmons, was a utility operator with the city for about 18 months, from August 2016 through February 2018, according to court ...

City leaders approve spending plan for $1.5M in federal CDBG/Home funds, restoring some funding to neighborhood associations

City leaders have approved a plan for spending more than $1.5 million in federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnerships programs, including restoring some of the funding previously cut from neighborhood associations. As part of its meeting this week, the Lawrence City Commission voted unanimously to approve the 2020 spending plan, which allocates $1.53 million for ...

City leaders approve code changes to allow for new downtown Lawrence layout; parking details still up for discussion

City leaders have voted to approve code changes that would allow downtown businesses to expand their operations into what are currently angled parking spots, but exactly what that downtown layout will look like and how much parking will be retained is not yet decided. Late Tuesday, during a meeting that stretched into early Wednesday morning, the Lawrence City Commission voted 3-2, with commissioners Lisa ...

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

Lawrence City Commission approves changes to no-camping ordinance, making some exceptions for homeless people

Updated at 4:46 p.m. Wednesday City leaders have approved changes to the city’s no-camping rules to be more accommodating to homeless people when local shelters are full. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission voted 4-1, with Mayor Jennifer Ananda opposed, to add an exemption to the city ordinance that currently makes it illegal to camp on public right-of-way. The exemption, aimed at ...

Protesters disrupt City Commission meeting to demand release of murder defendant Rontarus Washington Jr.

For about an hour, a group of protesters Tuesday made expletive-laden demands for Lawrence city commissioners to release a black man who has been in the Douglas County Jail awaiting a murder trial for five years. Protesters flowed into City Hall chambers demanding that the commission defund the Lawrence Police Department and that city leaders use their connections to county offices handling the case to address ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider updated downtown layout to respond to coronavirus

City leaders will soon decide whether to approve a temporary layout for downtown that limits parking in an effort to give businesses more space to safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission could approve the temporary layout as proposed, approve a modified version of the layout, direct staff to explore more options, or make no changes, according ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider spending plan for $1.5M in federal CDBG/Home funds

City leaders will soon consider a plan for how to spend more than $1.5 million in federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnerships programs. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider the 2020 spending plan, which would allocate $1.53 million for various community and social service organizations. Recipients would include the Lawrence ...