New Native Plant Garden in Brook Creek Park

Brook Creek Neighborhood Association, Grassland Heritage Foundation (GHF), and Kaw Valley Native Plant Coalition representatives worked together to install a new perennial native plant garden in Brook Creek Park. BCNA Board member and GHF Presi‐ dent Andrea Repinsky coordinated with city parks staff to select a location for the garden at the west side of the Brook Creek Park gazebo, where the gar‐ den will be visible from Brook Street. Native plants were grown by KVNPC coordinator Courtney Mas‐ terson and obtained from the GHF native plant sale. Some prairie plants grow slowly as very deep roots develop, so look for more growth and more flowers next year. These deep roots help native plants survive dry conditions and prevent soil erosion while providing wildlife habitat. Plants in the garden include butterfly milkweed, upright coneflower, Bush’s poppy mallow, New England aster, Missouri evening primrose, and prairie dropseed grass.

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Brook Creek Neighborhood Traffic Calming Requests on November Agenda

Due to neighbor requests, BCNA sent met with David Woosley, the traffic engineer, to develop a plan for traffic calming for several areas.  The proposed changes are on the agenda for the November Traffic Safety Commission meeting.  If you are in favor or against any of these changes please come to the meeting and voice your opinion.

November 7, 2016 Agenda

7:00 PM – City Commission Room, City Hall

 

Consider request to establish NO RIGHT TURN 7-9AM 3-6PM MON- FRI for westbound traffic on 15th Street at Elmwood Street, Summit Street, Prospect Avenue, Prairie Avenue, Brook Street and Maple Lane.

Staff Report:

1. Part-time turn restrictions have been used at several locations including 23rd Street between Louisiana Street and Massachusetts Street, and, on Tennessee Street at 23rd Street

6. Part-time turn restrictions have the potential to solve a cut- through traffic problem without using more expensive traffic calming devices. .

Consider request to establish NO LEFT TURN 7-9AM 3-6PM MON- FRI for southbound traffic on Haskell Avenue at 12th Street and 13th Street.

Staff Report:

  1. Part-time turn restrictions have been used at several locations including 23rd Street between Louisiana Street and Massachusetts Street, and, on Tennessee Street at 23rd Street
  2. Part-time turn restrictions have the potential to solve a cut- through traffic problem without using more expensive traffic calming devices.

Consider request to establish a 20MPH SPEED LIMIT on East Glenn Drive between Harper Street and Maple Lane.

Staff Report:

  1. East Glenn Drive is classified as a “local” street, paved approximately 26 feet wide, and, a speed limit of 30mph, as established by State Law.
  2. State Law permits a city to decrease a speed limit within an urban district, on the basis of a traffic investigation, but, not to less than 20mph.
  3. Traffic data collected on East Glenn Drive found the 85th percentile speed of traffic to be approximately 34.2mph.
  4. East Glenn Drive does not have sidewalks on either side of the street, therefore, all pedestrians, including children walking to school, must walk in the street.

 

View Full Agenda Here

City manager responds to BCNA

Tom Markus, Lawrence city manager, attended the October BCNA meeting and answered residents questions.  He checked into some of these questions and emailed back responses.

The following is the issue and answer from the varying city departments.

  1. At the end of 12th and Prospect the road surface is both rough and very narrow which causes traffic flow problems.

[Mike Perkins] Streets in the neighborhood are narrow with limited pavement structure and open drainage, it will take a new road design and reconstruction to improve the width of the roadway and improve low volume traffic flow.  The Street Division has made several pavement patches in the area and will complete patching in the area this fall as a stop gap until contract pavement improvements can be made.

  1. Ditch maintenance throughout the neighborhood needs to be monitored for continuous maintenance.

[Matt Bond] Although the City is responsible for keeping the road side ditches clear if they become silted in, the adjacent property owner is responsible for basic mowing and upkeep.  This is similar to property owners maintaining the right of way adjacent to their house without ditches.  Typically the cleanout of the ditches requires all of the neighbors along the ditch agreeing to a cleanout.  Ponding water in front of one house more than likely requires that the entire ditch be regraded in front of multiple homes.  This means that grass that has been established is removed and ditch side slopes change.  So simply regarding the ditch to drain isn’t as simple as it seems.

  1. Brook Creek Park:  Are pesticides or herbicides being used? 

[Ernie Shaw] No… this is a park that is on the IPM program that does not have pesticides/herbicides used –Pesticide free park.

  1. Are herbicides being used in the cemetery especially in front of the headstones? 

[Ernie Shaw] Yes – Cemeteries are not in IPM program – chemical trimming around headstones has been done for the past 10 years, this is more cost effective than employing a trim crew during the mowing season.

  1. A neighbor at 1412 Prairie Ave has complained of erosion problems on and adjacent to her property. 

This was address with the neighbor and landlord of property.

 

  1. We should rock armor the bottom of Brook Creek so that it does not create stagnant pools which are major mosquito attractors.

[Ernie Shaw]Rip Raping the ditch has been discussed in the past with PW Storm Water Division but has not been a priority. [Matt Bond] Armoring the channel bottom of Brook Creek will not eliminate the so called stagnant pools.  It is more than likely this will cause even more pockets of standing water.  If the channel begins to incise or head cut (the channel bottom begins to drop) then grade control structures will be constructed.  The addition of rock along this relatively flat channel will also cause cavitation of the adjoining stream banks and cause additional erosion issues. 

  1. In Boroughs and Cemetery it appears that the parks crews cut the area planted with wildflowers and sapling trees to soon so as to kill off the wild flowers and the trees.  PR was accused of mismanaging the maintenance of these areas.

[Mark Hecker] The issue that Michael is talking about happened 13-15 years ago when the Burroughs Creek restoration project took place. The areas were seeded to native grass, wildflowers and tree samplings were installed as the project was completed. Over the first year or two the area became very weedy with undesirable species.   And Yes, a well-meaning City crew mowed the area (it was not Parks & Rec) which eliminated most of the original tree saplings and some of the desirable grass and flower species.

Our current management is to mow this area seasonally, and try to control the noxious weeds where possible.  The main thing that needs to be considered is the high water flow though this area during large rain events. Traditional native grass plantings will not hold up to this level of soil moisture and water movement. If desired, and with the assistance of Matt Bond, we could try to reestablish some of the tree sampling outside of the main channel.

  1. Facebook page for Parks and Rec needs to be updated for good advance notice for upcoming events and classes.

[Ernie Shaw]  Not really sure what they are wanting or how we can do more with present staff.  We post upcoming activities and programs with multiple posts every day (usually 5-7 times a day on Facebook). We maximize the 24-hour cycle to best reach the greatest number of people, targeting the peak times of when people are on Facebook.  We also post program status on days when there is inclement weather, which is usually a few hours before the program when decisions are made to cancel.  Going forward, once we get the new calendar feature on the web, we can publicize it, providing people a full list of programs.

 

  1.     Another concern that was raised at the Brook Creek NA was from a gentleman who complained about garbage cans and our inability to keep them out of the front yard.  I believe this issue has been raised before.  What if any policy currently exists and have we considered this in the past?

[Scott McCullough]There is a letter that Code Enforcement leaves on the trash cart itself or within the front door of a property when a complaint is submitted and a violation is confirmed.  We have versions of the letter for different trash pickup days.  This soft approach is usually successful in correcting the occasional violator.  If a habitual violator is present, then we would submit a complaint through the court.

BCNA Parks and Rec Master Plan Subcommittee Meeting

There will be a BCNA Parks and Rec Master Plan subcommittee meeting on September 13th, 7 pm at the East Lawrence Rec Center.  All neighbors are welcome to attend.

Following the April meeting where Mark Hecker (P&R Assistant Direct) spoke to BCNA about Parks and Rec concerns directly related to our neighborhood, the decision was made to craft a master parks plan for the neighborhood.  This will ensure the city has the same expectations as neighbors do about various parks concerns.  All issues addressed in the letter (see PDF below) that was sent to parks and rec will be addressed.  One of the biggest items on the agenda will be discussing the woods area to the north of Brook Creek park.  Michael Almon, secretary, compiled a history of this area that is attached below.

The subcommittee will craft several proposals that will then be brought to a neighborhood meeting for a vote.

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BCNA letter to Parks and Rec

The Nature Area_historical origins

BCNA Coordinator Position

BCNA Coordinator Position
We are moving toward a formal contract in our Coordinator position, and are opening it up to an application process. Please review the job description and expectations listed below. The position pays 10/hr and generally requires about 30 hours a month. All are welcome to apply. Questions and resumes can be submitted to Rena Figures at thegreensoaper@yahoo.com. Submissions accepted until position filled, with a start date of Sept 1st.

BCNA COORDINATOR JOB DESCRIPTION
Summary: The Brook Creek Neighborhood Association (BCNA) Coordinator is responsible for completing, or coordinating the completion of, the following tasks, some of which may be completed by BCNA officers, directors, and other volunteers: coordinating and attending regular meetings, planning for yearly events, reviewing news and alerting organization, maintaining BCNA inbox and responding to emails, coordinating newsletter, and other various tasks delegated from board. Decisions about the Coordinator position are made by BCNA Board, and the President supervises the planning and completion of tasks. The coordinator is expected to work about 30 hours per month at a pay rate of $10 per hour. Coordinator position contracts are completed for no longer than 12 months, from September 1 to August 31. Annual evaluations will be conducted in June. If needed, the position will be advertised in July, with a coordinator to be selected to begin on Sept. 1.

Expectations: The Coordinator maintains professional demeanor and appearance while representing BCNA. The Coordinator has excellent organizational, writing, editing, verbal and interpersonal skills. The Coordinator has proficiency with, and access to, Word, Excel, and Publisher software. The Coordinator will take initiative, contribute ideas, and keep officers/board informed of Coordinator’s activities. The Coordinator will schedule time efficiently, and work through objectives to meet goals and deadlines on time.

Special Meeting: Bylaws change discussion

A special meeting has been scheduled for December 3rd at 7pm at the East Lawrence Rec Center.

During this meeting there will be open discussion about several possible changes to the bylaws.  A copy of the current bylaws and a draft of the proposed changes is posted below. Please note that this draft is not complete. They’re only offered as a starting point for discussion at the meeting The purpose of the meeting will be to craft a version of the bylaws that allow for a Board, plus a few other tweaks. If we come up with something that looks like it will benefit BCNA, maybe people will vote to ratify the changes. If not, then we may keep the bylaws as they are– but there is interest in at least exploring the Board option.  There is further explanation of the thoughts behind the proposed changes in a memo at the start of the draft.

Current BCNA Bylaws

BCNA bylaws draft Nov 2014