WRITER: Rochelle Valverde

After two years, all apartments in HERE complex are now open

Two years after opening its doors, the HERE apartment complex can finally lease all of its units. When it opened in August 2016, the seven-floor, 624-bedroom apartment and retail complex at 1111 Indiana St. was not permitted to lease 75 of its bedrooms because of a parking shortage in its underground garage. The second phase of the complex’s parking addition was recently completed, allowing all units to be ...

As fire and medical response times slow, city leaders discuss adding another station

The time it takes fire and medical personnel to arrive at an emergency has been increasing, with responses to medical calls measuring well more than nine minutes. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical response times have generally been getting slower over the past decade, with some response times not meeting department benchmarks, according to the department’s 2018 accreditation report, which department ...

Lawrence City Commission adopts 2019 budget, will consider new budgeting program for next year

Lawrence city commissioners gave final approval to a budget and indicated they are interested in implementing a new budgeting program that aims to help the city better prioritize how it spends its money. The city’s 2019 budget, which the commission formally adopted Tuesday, holds the property tax rate flat, increases utility rates and provides millions of dollars for new projects. The $206.5 million budget ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider contract to renovate portion of Riverfront Plaza

A portion of the Riverfront Plaza building is set for a makeover, enabling the city of Lawrence to move some services into the former outlet mall. As part of its consent agenda Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider a contract to renovate a portion of the Riverfront Plaza’s third floor for city use. City staff is recommending a bid from Loyd Builders for the interior renovation of the space, in ...

City, Lawrence police union reach agreement on employment contracts

Story updated at 5:07 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13. After months of contract negotiations, the city and police union have come to an agreement on the police department’s employment contract. Due to the impasse, the Lawrence City Commission had been scheduled as part of its meeting Tuesday to make the final decision on the sticking points in the contract, including how much officers and detectives will receive in ...

Century-old tunnel under Lawrence neighborhood raises concerns

When Sarah Merriman and Donna Geisler bought their house at 812 Ohio St. last year, they had no idea that a more than century-old brick tunnel large enough for a person to walk through ran directly under the house. Neither did the city. A ravine once ran through Old West Lawrence to the Kansas River, but in 1911 the city built the 6-by-6 foot, arched brick drainage tunnel in its place and covered it with dirt. ...

Midco billing conversion coming soon; some internet, cable and phone customers to see price increase

About a year after Midco took over internet, cable and phone service, from WOW, the bills of Lawrence area customers will be updated to Midco plans and prices. Midco Vice President of Customer Experience Cory Limberg said the median change in cost for Lawrence area internet, cable and phone customers will be between $5 and $6 more per month. However, he said some customers could see a larger increase or a ...

Teacher pay proposals from union, district leaders differ by more than $1 million

Representatives of the Lawrence school district and teachers union left a contract negotiations meeting Thursday with more than $1 million separating their respective salary proposals. The most recent proposal from the Lawrence Education Association, the district’s teachers union, calls for a $1,600 increase to base pay for teachers. The district is proposing one of two options, either a $460 or $500 ...

Automated water meters would provide more data to Lawrence customers, allow for tiered rate plans

Water meters and billing in Lawrence are set to get a multimillion-dollar update, paving the way for changes to the city’s utility rate structure. The city’s 2019 proposed budget, which the Lawrence City Commission is scheduled to adopt next week, includes $4.45 million toward the installation of automated utility meters. That amount is in addition to $6.42 million allocated for the project as part of the ...

Lawrence City Commission gives final approval to library mural

As part of its consent agenda Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission approved the contract to add a mural to the exterior of the city’s library. Last month, commissioners voted to move forward with a proposal from artist group Womxn of Color to donate and install the mural on the ground-level concrete wall of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. Some commissioners were concerned about how exactly ...

Lawrence City Commission moves forward with 2019 budget, including utility rate increase

Lawrence city commissioners have voted unanimously to move forward with the city’s 2019 budget, which holds the property tax rate flat, increases utility rates and provides millions of dollars for new projects. The City Commission held a public hearing on the budget as part of its meeting Tuesday, and though commissioners noted that increasing utility rates can be hard on residents, they agreed that having ...

City's affordable housing effort faces rising construction costs

Those in the business of building and selling new homes in Lawrence are seeing a trend that may not bode well for the city’s affordable housing shortage. The average sale price of new homes in June was about $342,000, up about 30 percent from the same period last year, according to recently released data from the Lawrence Board of Realtors. That’s compared to an increase of about 6 percent for existing ...

Despite mediation, city and police department still at odds over pay; City Commission to make final decision

After dozens of hours of mediated negotiations, city and police union representatives still can not agree on how much of a pay increase officers and detectives should receive. Because of the impasse, the Lawrence City Commission will have the final say on the remaining sticking points of the police department’s employment contract, which includes raises and other compensation issues. The commission will ...

Firefighters battle 3 fires Friday afternoon in Lawrence

Story updated at 5:50 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, 2018: Firefighters battled three fires that broke out within the span of about an hour on Friday afternoon in Lawrence, according to radio traffic. The first fire reported occurred at about 1 p.m. at 1022 Alabama St., and the second about 20 minutes thereafter in the 1400 block of Prairie Avenue. The third broke out at around 2 p.m. in a two-story house near Ninth ...

Lawrence City Commission to hold public hearing on 2019 budget

City of Lawrence leaders will soon take the next step in shaping the city’s 2019 budget, which, as currently proposed, would hold the property tax rate flat, increase utility rates and provide millions for new projects. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will hold a public hearing on the budget. As proposed, the $206.5 million budget includes about $69 million in capital improvement ...

U.S. Senate approves bill that would maintain Amtrak route that runs through Lawrence

Millions of dollars could be on the way to help maintain the Amtrak train route that serves Lawrence. Because of maintenance needs, Amtrak is considering changes to the approximately 2,300-mile Southwest Chief passenger route, including discontinuing a portion of the route and replacing it with bus service. A bill passed this week by the U.S. Senate would provide $50 million for track maintenance and other ...

Developer gives up on 5-story downtown condo project, considers smaller mixed-use building

A local developer has withdrawn his plans to build a five-story mixed-use condominium building in downtown Lawrence. The developer of the Vermont Place project, Bob Schumm, said he decided to abandon the project as proposed because not enough people were interested in purchasing a condo. The condos were to comprise three floors of the building, but Schumm, who is also a former city commissioner, said he now ...

New Explore Lawrence sales director says Lawrence can be 'top destination' for conventions

As more hotels go up in Lawrence, local tourism leaders think the city has the potential to attract more conventions and other meetings. The city’s convention and visitors bureau, Explore Lawrence, recently hired a new director of sales, Kendra Schultz, to promote the city as a premier destination for meetings, conventions and leisure travel. Schultz said she thinks Lawrence can be a “top destination” ...

Community remembers Fire Chief Bradford at funeral service

At the funeral service for local Fire Chief Mark Bradford, Chaplain Paul Taylor told those gathered that he wanted to speak to both the professional and personal sides of Bradford. Bradford, 58, died Thursday in Shawnee County, according to the funeral program. Standing near Bradford’s flag-draped casket, Taylor told attendees Tuesday at the Lied Center that Bradford had two aspects, the fire chief and the ...

Changes coming to some city-KU bus routes, including more evening routes

Those hoping to catch a bus during the evening hours in Lawrence will soon have some additional options. The city of Lawrence coordinates its bus service with the University of Kansas, and seven routes that include campus stops will soon run later into the evening, according to a city news release. The changes extend bus service on six routes until 10 p.m. during the academic year and provide a late-night ...