WRITER: Rochelle Valverde

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

Lawrence City Commission to consider agreement to power city buildings with wind energy

City leaders will soon consider an agreement that would allow nearly all of the energy that powers city buildings to come from renewable sources. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider entering into a 20-year agreement with Evergy Energy, formerly Westar Energy, for 8 megawatts of renewable energy annually. The energy would be generated from the Ponderosa Wind Farm in Beaver ...

Lawrence City Commission to discuss changes to controversial sidewalk repair program

City leaders will soon discuss some new ideas for sidewalk repair, including the creation of a sidewalk insurance program and a potential city takeover of maintenance responsibilities. The Lawrence City Commission requested to reconsider the city’s sidewalk maintenance program earlier this year, and the commission will discuss the potential changes as part of its work session Tuesday. Some residents have ...

Lawrence businesses say customers are mostly following mask rules

As more local businesses reopen after COVID-19-related shutdowns, some are doing so with a new sign on their door telling all customers they must wear a facial covering. And business owners who spoke with the Journal-World last week said most of their customers are fine with that. In fact, one business owner can count the number of people who objected on one hand. Kelly Corcoran, owner of the downtown record ...

$3.75M federal grant will help City of Lawrence purchase its first zero-emission buses

Lawrence transit officials say a federal grant to purchase the city’s first fully electric buses is a step in the right direction for the city’s sustainability goals and for eventually converting the city’s fleet of diesel buses. The Federal Transit Administration has awarded the city a $3.75 million federal grant to purchase zero- or low-emission buses. Transit and Parking Manager Adam Weigel said the ...

Judge postpones sentencing for Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel; request to serve sentence at home still undecided

Lawrence developer and four-time convicted felon Thomas Fritzel’s request to serve his prison sentences at his multimillion-dollar home will not be decided this month as once planned. Fritzel, who was convicted of the felonies in two federal cases, requested in April to serve his prison sentences for both cases in home confinement because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The motions, filed in U.S. District Court, ...

City leaders approve land permit for Douglas County jail expansion, say vote is 'not an endorsement'

Though city leaders voted to approve plans and permits associated with the county's expansion of its jail, some commissioners said they were not endorsing the project. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Courtney Shipley opposed, to the institutional development plan and special use permit for the expansion of the Douglas County Jail, 3601 E. 25th St. The ...

Lawrence City Commission supportive of new downtown layout, but open to other options

City leaders expressed support for a new layout for downtown that limits parking in an effort to give businesses more space to safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic, but wanted the city to remain open to other alternatives. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission got its first look at the temporary layout proposed for downtown Lawrence that decreases the space allocated for ...

In wake of protests, Lawrence mayor asks 2 city boards to work on racial equity projects

In the wake of a protest against police brutality that filled the streets of downtown Lawrence, the mayor has asked two city boards to start working on projects related to racial equity. Thousands of people marched down Massachusetts Street on Sunday evening to protest police killings of black people and systemic racism in the United States, as the Journal-World previously reported. At the Lawrence City ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider allocating $446,000 in federal coronavirus relief to homeless shelter

Story updated at 5:40 p.m. Monday City leaders will soon consider providing close to $450,000 of federal coronavirus relief funds to the local homeless shelter, enabling the construction of an isolation ward and other building improvements to help the shelter respond to the pandemic. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider providing a $446,184 grant — allocated to the city ...

To respond to COVID-19, proposed downtown layout would have less space for cars, more for pedestrians and outdoor dining

If downtown businesses are going to safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic, cars are going to have to give people more room. At least that’s the premise of a temporary layout proposed for downtown Lawrence, which downtown leaders and city officials hope to see put in place soon. Downtown Lawrence Inc., the architecture and design firm Gould Evans and other local partners helped create the proposal, ...

$4.8M of summer road maintenance projects set to begin soon throughout Lawrence

Work is set to get underway soon on $4.8 million worth of summer road projects in Lawrence, including some that will affect areas near downtown and the University of Kansas campus. The first projects in the city's annual street maintenance program, which includes curb and gutter maintenance and milling, patching and overlay of various streets around the city, will begin Monday. Other projects will start later ...

Lawrence City Band summer concert series canceled because of pandemic

The Lawrence City Band concerts that usually take place every summer in South Park have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The city band has played its weekly summer concert series since the early days of the city, and band leaders said it was a hard decision to cancel the concerts. Marion Roberts, chairman of the band’s board of directors and associate conductor, said the health of the band ...

Planning commission defers decisions on proposed south Lawrence shopping center

Planning commissioners have deferred their decision on various zoning and other changes that would allow for a new shopping center and apartment complex just south of the South Lawrence Trafficway. As part of its meeting Wednesday evening, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Commission voted unanimously to defer five items related to the KTen Crossing mixed-use retail, office and residential ...

East Ninth community art projects adjust amid pandemic restrictions; deadline extended until fall

The long-running East Ninth Street projects had been planning the unveiling of its 19 community art projects for Lawrence’s May Final Friday art walk event, but the coronavirus has delayed those plans. The artistic installations and performances that comprise the Rebuilding East Ninth Together project are community-based, with many calling for public participation and gatherings. Project Facilitator Mandy ...

With Lawrence parks and rec buildings closed, fitness instructors provide free online workouts

With City of Lawrence recreation centers closed, some fitness instructors took their workouts online, giving residents the chance to try everything from yoga to taekwondo from their living rooms. More than 30 workouts have been posted on the city’s YouTube channel for anyone to access, nestled among decidedly more stationary recordings of city meetings. Assistant Director of Recreation Lee Ice said the ...

Keeping Lawrence outdoor pools and rec centers closed 'first of many difficult decisions,' leaders say

Updated at 12:54 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 As businesses across the city begin to open their doors, the City of Lawrence recreation centers and outdoor pools will remain closed to public. Those facilities are allowed to open with restrictions under state health guidelines, but as city leaders keep a wary eye on the budget, the calculus of when to reopen is more complicated. The city has released a reopening plan ...

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

City of Lawrence releases plan to reopen City Hall and other buildings to the public

City leaders, staff and the public will soon be able to return to City Hall under the city’s new reopening plan, though not without added precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The City of Lawrence released its reopening plan earlier this week, and on Friday it revised dates on the plan to align with modifications that Gov. Laura Kelly made to the statewide reopening plan. Under the city’s plan, ...

League of Women Voters car parade will 'cruise for voters,' share info about mail-in ballots

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts of the local League of Women Voters to inform voters and increase turnout will take a new form, and perhaps greater urgency. Under normal circumstances, the League of Women Voters of Lawrence/Douglas County registers voters at the farmers markets in downtown and North Lawrence, at both high schools, and at events such as the city’s Earth Day Celebration and Art in ...

Lawrence outdoor pool to remain closed this summer

The Lawrence outdoor pool will remain closed for the summer under the city’s phased reopening plan for parks and recreation facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the city’s plan, the Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Kentucky St., and the South Park wading pool will remain closed this summer. Community pools could technically be allowed to open under phase three of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s ...

Lawrence wins census response competition with Manhattan; Manhattan mayor must wear KU jersey

In a friendly competition involving the U.S. Census between the cities of Lawrence and Manhattan, Lawrence has come out on top. Last month, Lawrence Mayor Jennifer Ananda accepted a challenge from the mayor of Manhattan for the two cities to compete for the highest self-response rate — meaning that residents responded either online, by mail or by phone — to the 2020 Census for each city. It was agreed that ...