With help from artists and a church, East Lawrence gets some new bus stop benches

photo by: Elvyn Jones

Lawrence artist Mona Cliff sits on a newly installed bus stop bench at the intersection of 11th and Delaware streets on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. It was Cliff's idea to have benches commissioned for the site.

Thanks to some help from a church and two local artists, those waiting for buses at Muncipal Stadium in East Lawrence now have a place to sit.

On Saturday, Lawrence Transit celebrated the installation of two benches at the southwest and northeast corners of 11th and Delaware streets. Transit director Adam Weigel said the benches at the Municipal Stadium intersection were among seven that the city is placing along Lawrence Transit routes thanks to a $10,000 donation from Velocity Church.

The inspiration for the benches at the site came from Lawrence artist Mona Cliff, who selected another local artist to craft them: Jamakee Blackburn, who she said “does beautiful woodwork pieces.”

Cliff first started thinking about the bus benches last year, when she was already eyeing the neighborhood for an arts project and happened to be driving past Municipal Stadium.

“I was thinking of painting a mural and planting some trees,” she said. “But when I drove by the bus stop, I saw someone sitting on the grass, waiting for a bus.”

Thinking benches at the site were a greater need, Cliff shared her idea with the city and East Lawrence stakeholders. KT Walsh, vice president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association, said the idea was well-received, but it took the Velocity Church donation to jump-start the project.

The Rev. Justin Jenkins, of Velocity Church, said the congregation was pleased to help with a project that increased the comfort of riders relying on public transit for rides to work, school, shopping and other critical destinations.

Like the two benches that were installed near the stadium, the remaining benches will be installed on concrete slabs, Weigel said. Most will be along eastern Lawrence transit routes, including one bus stop at 20th and Haskell and another near the Lawrence Community Shelter and the Douglas County Jail on East 25th Street, he said.

Related story

July 13, 2020 — Resident builds bench for bus stop; official says city working on issue


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