12th & Haskell to Become Homes and Business

Over the years, the Brook Creek Neighborhood has successfully preserved the character of our neighborhood. We stopped a strip mall proposal on 15th St. between Haskell and the old tracks. We eliminated five square blocks of high density apartment zoning. We blocked the County Jail from building in Brook Creek Park. We expect the Salvation Army to develop family housing instead of a drop‐in center.

What may be our most important victory yet is the closing of the illegal, polluting junkyard at 12th & Haskell. They green washed themselves with a “recycling” name, but they were an industrial salvage yard next to single‐family homes, with disturbing noise on each day of operation. Spilled auto fluids polluted the groundwater in the flood plain of Burroughs Creek and Brook Creek. Machinery exhaust from the center polluted the air. Six auto fires put the neighbors’ properties at risk. Due to soil tests, Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment had the junkyard owner remove loads of contaminated soil from the site.

Even though the City eventually cited the junkyard with various code violations, the illegal activity continued for 6 years until neighbors got the City Commission to send the case to the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Neighborhood representatives effectively presented the facts of the case and the impacts to the neighborhood to the City by neighborhood representatives, and the junkyard owner decided to move to a more suitable location.

The Brook Creek neighbors who fought this battle kept pressure on the City to make sure heavy industrial use never happens on that site again. After reviewing plans with the innovative local construction company, Struct/Restruct, we approved their plans to plot nine homes along 12th Street, and to locate their business in the corner building and yard. The development plan includes perimeter trees, removing truck traffic from 12th St., protection of a remarkable bur oak tree, and a sidewalk. Land along the creek will become City park land, on which we expect an extension of the Burroughs Creek Trail.

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Public meetings to be held to discuss new playground at Edgewood Park

(Lawrence, Kan.) – Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, along with Leadership Lawrence will hold two public meetings to discuss the installation of a replacement playground in Edgewood Park, located at Maple Lane and Miller Drive. The meeting is open to the public.

The first meeting will be 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19. Discussion will focus on the location of the playground and the features desired as part of the structure. A follow-up meeting will be held 6-7 p.m.  Tuesday, March 4, to discuss final concept designs. Both meetings will be held, in the meeting room at East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.

The new playground is the result of a $20,000 Let’s Play! City Construction Matching Grant from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and the national non-profit KaBOOM!. Lawrence was one of 25 Playful City USA communities to receive a Let’s Play City Construction Grant among the 243 communities that earned Playful City USA status in 2013. In order to receive the grant, the project is a community-build project, which is aimed at involving the community throughout the project. The meetings will be facilitated by representatives of the city, as well as graduates of Leadership Lawrence, a program of the Chamber of Commerce.

Prepared by: Roger Steinbrock, (785) 832-3458