Neighborhood leader and community board member Courtney Shipley files for City Commission; primary election now required

photo by: contributed photo

Courtney Shipley

Neighborhood leader and community board member Courtney Shipley has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.

Her entry into the race as the seventh candidate to file for three seats will trigger an August primary election.

Shipley, who is chair of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, said that there are long-term plans in the works that require careful implementation, but that most immediately she would like to work with other commissioners to stop the city’s sidewalk maintenance policy.

“We need to address the sidewalks without forcing homeowners into personal debt and without raising taxes,” Shipley said.

The city adopted a policy last year to administer its sidewalk repair ordinance, which has been in place for decades but not strongly enforced. The city requires property owners to repair hazardous sidewalks adjacent to their properties, and certain homeowners could qualify for financial assistance from the city.

Shipley said other cities have successfully adopted sidewalk repair programs, such as a program that allows residents the option of making a small monthly payment toward sidewalk repairs or taking responsibility for sidewalks adjacent to their property themselves. She said people care about sidewalk infrastructure in Lawrence, and she thinks such a program could work.

Shipley is no stranger to City Hall. In addition to chairing the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, she serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals, Transient Guest Tax Grant Program Advisory Board, Lawrence Preservation Alliance and The Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery.

Shipley said the commission would work on a number of important decisions in the next few years that have big consequences, including the Downtown Master Plan and the new comprehensive plan, Plan 2040. She said once those plans get adopted, a lot of work and research must be done to implement them well. In addition, she said the city needed to ensure it is using the new affordable housing funds effectively and efficiently.

Shipley, 40, moved to Lawrence as a child, and has been a Lawrence resident for 29 years. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures and currently works as a property manager.

The seats of commissioners Stuart Boley, Leslie Soden and Matthew Herbert are up for reelection this year. Soden has announced that she will not be running.

Shipley is the seventh candidate to file for the 2019 City Commission election, joining veteran and nonprofit board member Dustin Stumblingbear, attorney and nonprofit board member Brad Finkeldei, Kansas Army National Guard officer and planning commissioner Rob Sands, neighborhood leader and city board member Ken Easthouse, social advocate and community board member Joey Hentzler, and retired auditor and community volunteer Boley.

City ordinance requires a primary when the number of candidates is more than two times the number of open seats. The filing deadline for the election is noon on June 3, and the primary election will be Aug. 6.


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