North Lawrence Survey

Heads up, North Lawrence!

NLIA is starting a survey project this month and we really want the input of every neighbor in North Lawrence.

The online survey will be posted here on our page, shared with the North Lawrence groups, and it will be posted on our website.

We will have folks walking the neighborhood starting this weekend 7/16 to talk to neighbors about the survey.

Please let your neighbors who are not online know that these folks really are volunteers from NLIA.

If you or a neighbor would like to receive a paper copy of the survey to return in person rather than fill out the survey online, please email our survey address or call the number listed below.

With the information from the survey we will be working to make North Lawrence an even better place to live as well as work to strengthen our position with the City of Lawrence.

CALL: 785 260 0486 to leave a voicemail.

EMAIL: nliafeedback at gmail dot com to request a form

Please spread the word! Thanks.

July 2022 Meeting Minutes

Proposed park redesign

Officers present: Ted, Alison

Neighbors present: 7 Guests: 2

Ted called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm

Brian, from Landworks, an architect for the Lyons park spray pad project, spoke first. The city was here at a spring meeting to talk about the idea. He is here to give an update on the splash pad work. The idea has gone through a number of pubic processes, including a special use permit, and received comments, suggestions and improvements. They have a more detailed site design now, and he brought some visuals of the layout for us to look at. 

Lyons Park is slated for the spray park, a renovation of the playground, and a renovation/replacement of the picnic shelter on site. All of the mature trees are being taken into consideration during this process. 

Currently, the playground is going to move closer to the current parking area, rather than stay under the trees where it is now. It will be the front piece of this improvement. It is a year-round amenity. The spray park will move north to take advantage of the existing shade, and the mechanicals will be tucked back behind the shelter, but close enough to Lincoln Street to hook up to utility services. The renovated shelter will remain quite close to where it is today. The bathroom will remain where it is. 

There will be new sidewalks running on the north side of Lincoln Street starting at 7th and there will be a weaving walk that connects South to North to Lyon Street as well. 

They playground construction will start in fall of 2022. Blueprints for the spray park will be submitted by early fall for construction bids. Hopefully the feature will be constructed over winter 2022-23 and be open for summer 2023. 

Brian also brought a mockup of different features proposed for the spray park that includes designs reminiscent of flowers, cattails, rocks, etc. Each of these elements will offer different water experiences. The features are activated by a pedestal and go in a sequence for a number of minutes before turning off. 

This is a recirculating system where the water is filtered and treated before it comes back out of the holding tanks. The tanks are cleaned and sanitized and will be shut down for winter. There will also be naturalized (possibly limestone) seating around the spray park, like rocks, in the available shade. 

Mark said that there is a RFP coming out shortly for the playground, being given to different construction companies. They will submit designs, and we should be able to see the proposals if we invite them back to a future meeting. There is an idea to have the playground and the spray park similarly themed. 

A resident asked if the playground will be constructed before the spray park or if it would cause disruption of the spray park. Mark said that it depends on who responds to the RFP and who might be able to construct before the end of the year. There are no utilities needed to reconstruct the playground, but the supply chain for playground products is as limited as many other things are right now. 

A resident asked how far the shelter will be from the new amenities, concerned about families attending the playground and the spray park who might use use the shelter as well. Brian said that keeping the shelter where it is provides the advantages of people knowing where it is, and when it is replaced in 2024, that work won’t disturb the park amenities that they are installing in 2023.

A resident pointed out that if the shelter is further from the new/updated amenities, it will be easier to rent out for separate/private events. Another resident asked if there will be conflicts around renting the shelter during the spray park season. Brian did not think so. Mark said it will possibly be the most popular shelter in the city to rent for an event once the spray park is in operation.  

The parking lot entrance may receive and upgrade when the sidewalks are upgraded, and it will have bicycle parking installed. 

A resident asked if this is the same company that did the spray pad in Burroughs Creek. It is not. The hours there are 9am – 8:30pm and it opened on July 6th of this year.

Mark said a number of basketball courts will be re-surfaced this year. 

Ted said that Lyons park is a “regional” park, and John Taylor is a “neighborhood” park. These designations mean that funding comes from different budgets. 

We almost didn’t get the funding for the shelter renovation. It had a tree fall on it recently, so there is now a dent in the roof. It is over 50 years old. We will have our neighborhood potluck picnic in the shelter the second Monday in September, 5:30 pm. 

The proposed restrooms for John Taylor are coming in close to $130K now rather than $85K. NLIA will attempt to apply for funding or grants or some kind of help to get these constructed in 2023. 

A resident asked if they could just keep the current playground equipment. Mark said that it is aged out and is from the 1980s and is also no longer supported (square post equipment) by the manufacturer. They will give a 15% discount to remove their old equipment if they win the bid.

A resident asked if the playground parts can be recycled — the metal could, but the plastic parts are difficult to recycle. 

A resident noted that John Taylor Park (which is a neighborhood park) is used quite a bit and most folks who visit there wish there was a restroom nearby. Mark said that most neighborhood parks don’t have restrooms. John Taylor has a lot of volunteers for the garden and a lot of activities for which people drive from all over town to attend. 

A resident asked if the bathrooms in Ballard were in a position to be accessible to the public who use the park. They are not, and it would be a security issue because of the preschool. The public is not able to enter the building without escort. There is not a way to make the current restrooms accessible from the outside without access to the rest of the building. 

A resident asked about port-a-johns. The city said that these get vandalized, burnt down, and destroyed, much to the chagrin of the rental companies. 

A resident asked if spray parks are all the same. They are not! They are usually done based on where they are being installed, even though some of the features and elements will be the same. This spray park will run just about $400K ($170-$220 per square foot). It will be maintained by the city Aquatics division. 

Ted asked what the longevity of a spray park is. Most that are currently installed in the US are not any older than 15 years. The components don’t have a lot of wear and tear, and Brian said if the concrete is poured correctly, they can last for decades, as long as that 1980s play equipment, at least!

The spray park doesn’t require a fence, doesn’t require a life guard, and isn’t as much as a danger as, say, a wading pool. The city is responsible for maintenance, but there is no staffing issue the way there has been at the city pool. 

Ted asked about bringing tennis back to North Lawrence. There was some commentary about pickle ball noise vs tennis court noise and some speculation about where we could put new tennis courts in North Lawrence without removing existing basketball courts. 

Ted talked about the difference between necessities and accessories — street repairs vs parks, for example. Even when the city gets a windfall or extra money from sales taxes, that doesn’t mean there is extra money for accessories. (We are seeing this fight right now at city hall with the proposal to shut down Prairie Park! Come to the July 12 meeting to voice your opinion on this!) 

A resident said we NEED parks and recreation in our lives because it provides opportunities for the public to get outside safely and have access to recreational activities throughout the community. 

Kirsty is getting ready to start meeting neighbors and talking to them about our new SURVEY. The survey will be done in person and avaialbe online on our website and on Facebook. She asked how many households we have — we believe there are around 1300-1500 houses and 3200 residents now in North Lawrence. 

Ted said we were a slum-blighted neighborhood in 1996. IN the early 2000s, we were considered low-income. We moved to low-to-moderate in 2018, and we got disqualified from federal money that year because that number fell to 41% from 51%.

North Lawrence businesses supply the bulk of the donations for our Christmas fund. During the pandemic the amount that many businesses were able give actually increased, from $5500 in previous years to $6500! It’ll be interesting to see how fundraising goes in 2022. Since we no longer have federal funding, we are looking for ways to raise money for our operating costs (which are minimal) and for events like our picnic and chili supper. The city gave four other neighborhoods a few thousand during the pandemic, but North Lawrence didn’t get that. 

We ceased our newsletter and our postcards once we lost federal funding. Each run of the newsletter cost around $1000 before the pandemic. The postcard reminders about NLIA events cost around $500 per mailing. The chili supper usually generated $500 per year in free-will donations; the picnic generated only yearly membership revenue. Membership rose from $1 per year to $5 per year per person once we lost our federal funding. We do have the hamburger cookout during the garage sale that raises some money for NLIA. 

We are going to launch a neighborhood survey soon, available online and available on paper, going out to each household in North Lawrence. Responses will be gathered and information tallied into a report. That information will go to NLIA as well as the city commission and city planners. This is a chance for residents to talk about their current concerns and ideas for the future of the neighborhood. 

A neighbor talked about different fundraising ideas for the neighborhood, including small two-on-two basketball tournaments and craft shows with homemade goods. Ted has suggested having a car show at the depot. This may happen in fall of 2022. We also have a local artist, Stan Herd, with a studio in North Lawrence. Stan is interested in holding a local artist show and sale at the depot, some proceeds from which will benefit NLIA. Stan is also willing to re-do the design on the levee if we get enough volunteers to help him! 

Ted says the depot is underused since Explore Lawrence moved downtown; the building is locked up most of the time. He’d like to see the depot become a destination again. It’s confusing to visitors that it is no longer the visitor center! A resident asked if the plan to have a band play at the depot is still in the works. Ted says yes, it should be this fall, and parks and recreation is on board with the idea. 

Ted still wants a museum display about North Lawrence and Jefferson, KS in the depot that will draw visitors. The display would need to be staffed a few hours a day on a regular basis. The city owns and manages the building and the grounds (the railroad still owns the property).

Ted will hold a meeting in August, Monday, August 8th at 7pm, Peace Mennonite Church. (Alison may be out of town.) 

The potluck picnic will be Monday, September 12th at the Lyons park shelter, 5:30pm. 

We did the drawing and Ted adjourned the meeting at 8:33pm

View of proposed spray park design
Another view of proposed spray park design

Meeting minutes 6/13/22

Board Members present: Jeff, Alison, Ted

Community members present: 13

Ted called the meeting to order at 7pm

Our special guest today is Chief of Police Rich Lockhart

Ted thanked everyone for coming out in this heat, the hottest day of the year so far. 

Ted introduced our guest, Chief Rich Lockhart, and said we will keep an eye on him, in North Lawrence style. We will have a Q&A session with him after he speaks. 

Our guest introduced himself and talked about meeting Ted the first time and hearing about North Lawrence for the first time. Chief Lockhart said he was an officer in Kansas City, Missouri for about 26 years, and he enjoyed all the different neighborhoods there and visiting the community meetings there. He met people in these neighborhoods who were proud of their history and actively involved in their neighborhoods. He said that community policing is about meeting the people you work for in the neighborhoods. The Chief gave us a brief overview of his work and education history. His most recent posting was as the police chief in Warrensburg, MO which is a small college town of about 20K people and 8K students in central Missouri. They didn’t have strong neighborhood associations there, however. 

The Chief talked about a few folks who work in the police department in Lawrence, many of whom have diverse backgrounds and educations, and a number of whom are lifelong Lawrencians, some with family roots that go back decades. He said he was surprised that our police force has already done many of the trainings that are considered quite progressive throughout the country. His goal post-pandemic is to have the community get to know our 138 (current number; 155 would be fully staffed) police officers and what they do in the community. He described how fun being downtown was during the basketball celebrations were this spring, and how the interactions with the police force by the public were almost all positive. 

A resident asked about traffic enforcement. Chief said that they need to focus on problem areas, so send complaints to the department. The resident said the J turns downtown are a real problem.

A resident talked about speeding traffic on Locust going toward 9th street as well as on North 7th street. Usually it’s the same folks speeding 80mph, and it is often at odd hours, like early in the morning when people might be backing out of their driveways. 

A resident spoke about how large trucks on the truck routes usually don’t drive the speed limits. Locust street becomes 6 feet narrower from 8th to 9th street. The Chief asked what the speed limits on the truck routes (arterial streets) are. It is 30 mph. 

A resident talked about people speeding off of the bridge, turning east on Elm, and not slowing down until the speed hump early in the 300 block. They also said Walnut Street from 7th to 9th is a problem area. 

A resident asked about improvements related to Lyons Park, as there is no stop sign from 24/40 down 7th street, and people just speed rather than slow down to 30 mph when they cross under the I-70 bridge. They are worried about more people and children coming to the park but traffic still rushing by until they get to the tracks.

A resident also talked about the fact that there are no protective railings for pedestrians along North 2nd Street sidewalks south of the intersection. The resident suggested the Chief walk the area when traffic is moving to understand how traffic moves in relation to pedestrians and how fast people drive coming north off the bridge, trying to beat the light at Locust. 

Ted asked about the probability of getting neighborhood resource officers again. Trent McKinley, who is still on the force, was actually our first resource officer for NoLaw. We had two other afterwards, but currently we do not have one. Resource officers are more like liaisons between the community and the police department. They are invested in getting to know the people they serve, understand what is actually going on, work with the residents on common goals, and respond to the needs of the neighborhoods. 

In Kansas City, they had CAN centers, Community Action Network, staffed by people who worked with dedicated officers from the police department and operated in many neighborhoods. From these centers, the department could connect with people in the neighborhoods at times when they weren’t on call for a crisis. The Chief pointed out there would be differing needs in different neighborhoods throughout the city, so each action center would work on different issues. 

A resident asked if cars were ever positioned in North Lawrence overnight. The Chief said that the city is divided up into four quadrants, and there are 4-5 in each quadrant every day. We are in “D” quadrant. Officers are supposed to take calls in the area in which they are assigned. The Chief said that a large number of his officers started in 2020, so during the pandemic, they were trained NOT to get out of their cars. They are working on changing this and interfacing with residents now that pandemic restrictions are eased. They have created a new position for community engagement and diversity, and these officers will attend events. He says if we need a police car up here for any reason, let the department know. 

A resident said that their place of work hosted a coffee hour with police officers with staff before the pandemic started and the meeting was quite positive and productive. 

A resident asked what the best way is to give input regarding the police department. The Chief said the city commission meetings are a good way to get and give input. But also, you can use this email address: for praise, concerns and issues with members of the police department. City of Lawrence website: also has links for the police department. 

Ted said that a couple of chiefs ago, the police chief didn’t think that the police department should not do traffic. This chief though the city should have a traffic division. Ted has talked with the city commission about this idea, but so far, nothing has materialized. Ted meets with each commissioner individually once a month to talk over issues. 

Ted briefly highlighted the history of the Sandrats and the Bluebellies for the Chief. Earlier, Ted talked about how North Lawrence used to be Jefferson and was annexed by Lawrence in 1870 after being voted down a few years prior. 

The Chief offered to have an officer come to meetings whenever we wish to give us updates about what is going on with the department and the neighborhoods. 

Ted brought up two more agenda items for the meeting.

Neighborhood survey: Kirtsy and Jennifer have been working on an online as well as a paper/door-to-door survey for residents that will roll out online and throughout the neighborhood soon. Kirsty was the resident who surveyed people about the loss of the tennis courts. She got the idea to reach out to more neighbors with a survey to see what people are thinking about. The online survey will be posted on Facebook and on the NLIA WordPress site ( The point of doing the survey is to help the NLIA learn from residents what they like about the neighborhood and what are concerned about. This could help folks who don’t have time to come to the neighborhood meetings get more involved. 

Information gathered on the surveys will be de-identified and only used for the purposes of NLIA. None of the information will be sold to third parties. 

If you have a neighbor who is not online and wants a paper copy of the survey, you could print one for them and tell them how to get it back to NLIA, call Ted or email the coordinator with their information so we can contact them in person to get them a survey. 

NLIA lost its CBDG funding in 2017 because we were no longer 51% low-to-moderate income (we dropped to 41% because of people with higher incomes moving to the neighborhood). So we lost our funding for our mailings (postcards and newsletters), essential paperwork like registering as a non-profit with the state, and what was a small coordinator salary. A printing and bulk mailing of the newsletter twice a year usually ran $1000 per print/postage for a four-page newsletter. 

The postcards that we used to send out two or three times a year to notify residents about the picnic and the chili supper would run $300 per mailing. 

Currently we reserve a small amount of the money raised at the holidays to help cover the bare-bones of the operation costs of NLIA (with the blessings of these businesses). 

During the pandemic, we did not hold most of our usual fundraising activities that would directly cover some of the operating costs for NLIA. The Cabin Fever Chili Supper in February and the fall picnic in September are two events that we will start holding again this year. We will continue to hold our garage sale as well, in which Midland Care holds a fundraising cookout where the proceeds are split by Midland Care and NLIA. 

Band night: Dave, a trombone player for the New Horizons Band, spoke about the idea of holding a band night in North Lawrence. He talked about what they did before COVID — playing nursing homes in Lawrence, and joining in with Free State High School in concert. They got the band back together in March this year and had a short spring concert season. They played at Meadowlark, in Baldwin in the square, and Corpus Christi School. Dave also plays in the North Topeka band. 

The idea: Hold a concert, at a place in NoLaw that has chairs and a power supply. A resident asked if this could be at the Depot (yes, it could be). People could bring lawn chairs and blankets and there is a covered baggage area on the West end of the Depot that has power. 

New Horizons Band doesn’t meet during the summer, so they will reconvene in the fall after Labor Day. They rehearse at 4pm on Friday afternoons and perform at nursing homes during this time as well. 

The attendees were in favor of this idea, so we will work on having a fall performance of the New Horizons Band at the Union Depot. We will look at rain dates and other logistics, and think about what musical pieces we might like them to perform.

We did the drawing for the gift certificate. It’s great to have so many members here!

We WILL have a July meeting of NLIA on Monday, July 11th, 7pm, Peace Mennonite Church. 

Meeting minutes from 5/9

Board members present: Jeff, Ted, Alison

Community members present: 10

Ted opened the meeting at 7pm, first reporting that there will now be a delay on the installation of the spray park in Lyons Park due to a mixup with the concrete that was poured for the spray park off of Burroughs Trail. We were hoping that folks from Parks and Rec would visit with us tonight to tell us what the new schedule will be. 

Lisa Larsen, our vice-mayor, came to the meeting and she said that she could tell us about the delay with the sprinkle park. The contractor poured the concrete, and then realized they didn’t do the slope correctly (it was about an inch off) and turned themselves in to the city. They are now tearing out that slope and are re-doing it. So the time doing that will delay the build in North Lawrence. Construction in Lyons park is now delayed until fall. 

Folks from all over the city, including adjacent neighborhoods across the river and folks from West Lawrence, are interested in the park — and are calling Ted about it.

The Garage Sale will be Friday, May 20th and Saturday, May 21st. Midland Care will be holding their neighborhood cookout and fundraiser again at 319 Perry Street from 10am to 2pm. Garage sale shoppers can stop and get a great sit-down meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and chips (and veggie burgers this year!). Midland Care is a not-for-profit organization that serves our Senior community. Funds raised will benefit programming at Midland Care and operating costs of NLIA. It is always a great time. Future event plans will include games and live music. 

Ted asked if there is any further progress at the neighborhood or the city level regarding requests for tennis courts in North Lawrence. The due diligence on the neighborhood end has been done, however. 

Ted said he is trying to make the Union Pacific Depot into more of a destination. 

He spoke with TJ (The Tint Guy) recently about the small car show that his club holds each year out on Bob Billings Parkway at one of the police buildings. Ted suggested the Depot as a location for a similar show on a weekend afternoon. Parks and Rec liked this idea as well. The car club meeting is on the same day as the garage sales, and Ted encouraged the car club to come down to the cookout in their cool cars. 

Ted reported that he and Stan Herd, who has a studio in North Lawrence, had been planning to have an art show and sale at the Depot in spring of 2020, but COVID put those plans on hold. Stan has a full retrospective of his work warehoused in up here, decades of art, some of which not many people have seen. NLIA will have an art sale and show and invite other local artists to exhibit and sell as well. Stan will donate some of the proceeds to NLIA. Ted hopes that plans for this sale will manifest by Fall 2022, perhaps during the same weekend as Art in the Park. 

Both of these events would make the Depot more of a local destination, not just for private events. It took some doing for the Depot to be renovated (rather than moved across the river) and it has been under the purview of the city since Explore Lawrence moved across the river to 9th Street. It has been confusing to tourists to find that the visitor center is no longer there! Often people visit in campers and motor homes, but they can’t park those downtown to visit the new location. 

Ted is also working on a comprehensive history of North Lawrence, starting when North Lawrence was Jefferson, Kansas, and a part of Jefferson County. NL was Jefferson until 1870, when the second vote on annexation into Lawrence passed (the first one failed). There hasn’t been much history prior to 1870 publicly available. Ted hopes NLIA can borrow some artifacts from Watkins and have those on a rotating display, but the Jefferson township display will be permanent. 

So Ted is looking for more public ways to use the Depot for community events. 

Jeff talked about an old-time bicycle parade that used to use the roundabout at the Depot when they came into town. 

A resident asked if the city was involved in Explore Lawrence and the visitor center. They are not, though the city and county do support them. They were able to use the Depot free of charge, and now have to pay rent on their new space.

Ted talked about the Neighbor to Neighbor volunteer recognition event that happened at the Depot recently. This organization helps seniors in the community age in place. We hope to have a guest speaker from the organization at a meeting, perhaps this year. 

A resident asked if there was ever a concern about the Depot being purchased by a private company. Ted said no. Ted talked about the grain silo held by Ottawa Co-op, and a developer wondering if the silos there could be turned into apartments. Ottawa Co-op is now repairing the silo, has put a new scale in, and it will be back into use after the repairs are done, hopefully this summer. This grain silo was built in 1952 after the 1951 flood (the silos were metal before the flood). 

Ted asked a neighbor to tell our vice-mayor about the streets we have that need re-paved. Lisa said she can find out where the order is in the maintenance schedule. Lincoln Street, Seventh Street and Fifth Street were of great concern. Ted mentioned that we have been asking about four-way stop signs being installed on Seventh Street. The original road was built in the 1920s-30s, when 7th was the original highway into the city. There really hasn’t been an attempt to widen the road, though there is one block of curb and it the road is little bit wider near the park. Putting curbs and gutters in to most streets in North Lawrence would mean that many houses would have sidewalks just outside their front doors. The streets are just not wide enough to have up-to-date widths and curbs. 

The streets that became the Jefferson township were initially laid out back in the 1820s, when roads and carriages were tiny and cars didn’t exist. Elm and Locust were the only paved streets more than half a century ago.

A resident also mentioned calling the police department a few months back about speeds on Locust Street. Cars and motorcycles speed through there at well over 45 mph, early in the morning. The police department said they change shifts around 7 am and a car can’t be out there to catch speeders. The posted speed limit on Locust is 30 mph. 

A resident reported that the tow trucks still speed up and down 5th street, in spite of the stop signs. North of Lyon is especially bad. 

Ted reported that he plans to have the new police chief visit one of our meetings this year. Ted has met with him personally, and Ted says he does have goals that possibly involve using police department personnel for traffic management at certain times and events in the city. They are currently not involved in traffic management for events. 

A resident reported almost getting hit four different times downtown from people taking J-turns, which is now a $180 fine, but this isn’t being seen or enforced by anyone.

NLIA had worked out plans for traffic calming devices on Walnut Street. They were in planning for 2019 and to be paid for by grant money that we secured. The residents on Walnut signed off on them, but the project was denied by the newly-formed Traffic Safety group. The traffic engineer told Ted we could reapply the following year. 

We lost our Community Development federal funding around the same time, because as a neighborhood, we moved from 51% Low-to-moderate-income residents to 41%. So, we could not install these ourselves as we were accustomed to do in previous years with our own funding. Cost of speed bumps went from $3500 to $8000 under the previous city manager. 

Did you know that Lincoln Street is now considered a Boulevard? We didn’t get any of that money. 

A resident talked about the countdown timers on crosswalks and how they are not timed correctly to notify drivers that the light is about to change. The green light should change to yellow when the crosswalk counter hits zero. Many lights in town are no longer timed this way. 

Ted said that he’s been talking with Sarah at Bowersock and suggested a tour for North Lawrence residents of the power station on the south side of the river. These house generators that are dated back to the 1800s. The newer plant on the north side also bought vintage generators from a location back east. (They older models are well-known for reliability.) If residents would like to visit the Bowersock for this private tour, please get in touch with Ted. 

Ted talked about the original design to power downtown and the paper factory that used to be where the Marriott is now. There was a pole that ran underground and belts that ran around the pole to power businesses. 

Later on there were two steam engines that helped create power at the dam (one of them is no housed in McClouth for the steam engine show). 

Ted mentioned that NLIA tours of ICL also happen once or twice a year. They are one of our favorite visitors to the NLIA meeting every year. ICL produces food-grade phosphoric acid in a food safe, clean environment. ICL is a major contributor to our holiday fund. 

Ted asked if there are any other places in North Lawrence that residents might want to tour. 

Ted mentioned that our 2021 Christmas fund raised $6300, helped 10 North Lawrence families, gave $2000 to Ballard, and purchased $1000 in gift cards that were handed directly to residents, the elderly and working poor. 

Ted asked if anyone else had any business. 

Our guest from Parks and Recreation came in late and gave us an update on the sprinkle park. The design has been submitted to the site plan committee. The biggest challenge is what to do with the drainage, as that has to go into the ditches, not into a sewer complex. Because of this, they may move the components of the proposed improvement (that we saw last meeting) around a bit, so that the spray park is further north and the playground is closer to Lincoln. The entire system operates similarity to a backyard pool, with a holding tank, water being cleaned, chlorinated and recycled, and the entire thing affected strongly by heavy rains. The entire system will be drained and closed each winter. It may be in place by fall, but not for summer 2022. They will begin RFQs on the playground soon with a cap for $95K and they will bring proposals for the designs to a meeting. The basketball courts will be resurfaced soon as well, and there is a sidewalk in the site plan in either 2023 or 2024. 

A resident asked if the newer location of the spray park will be under any of the larger trees in the park, so in the shade. There are some ash trees that are currently affected by EAB that are slated to be taken out, but they will protect the big oak tree. 

Ted asked about other pests and invasive trees like the Calorie (Bradford) Pear and what the plans for those will be. Many of these are large, established trees, and many of them are located on North 2nd or by the Depot. They provide quite a bit of shade, but they are spread by wildlife, have weak wood, and the flowers don’t smell that great. There currently is no plan to remove the existing pear trees. 

The city has a master street tree plan that involves interplanting a variety of trees, at least 15 species, not one species planted all together the way some areas of this city have all pin oaks lining their streets, or all ash trees. 

Jeff asked if we are going to have any meetings this summer, since we didn’t meet earlier this year. Today is only our third meeting since the pandemic stopped us meeting. Normally we would not meet during the summer, but NLIA business is always happening, even when we don’t have in-person meetings. 

The next meeting of NLIA will be Monday, June 13th, 7 pm at Peace Mennonite Church. Ted will invite our new police chief to come speak. 

May 2022 Meeting

The May 2022 Meeting of NLIA will be in person, 7 pm, Monday, May 9th, Peace Mennonite Church. Snacks and water will be provided. Masks are encouraged.

We will have guests from the city to update us on park improvements and we will be talking about the neighborhood garage sale and cookout event on the weekend of May 21.

To get on the garage sale map online, email the NLIA coordinator with days, times, and location of your sale. Official Sale Days are Friday, May 20th and Saturday, May 21st.

April 11 meeting notes

Guests tonight are from Lawrence Transit, Kirsty from Midland Care (and NoLaw), architects working on the sprinkle park at Lyons

Board members present: Ted, Alison, Jeff

Attendees: 17

Ted called the meeting to order at 6:59 pm introducing the guests who are here to talk to us about park improvements and other issues. 

Ted said we want the tennis courts back in addition to having the pickleball courts. Kirsty has been interviewing residents on their thoughts on this. She said it was wonderful to talk with people in the neighborhood. She met some really cool folks! They have thoughtful and passionate ideas about the parks in NoLaw. She bought her house here because she could walk to the tennis courts. She has been a tennis professional her entire life. At first, there was one tennis court and one pickeball court, and that was a great mix, and representational of the unique neighborhood we have. Many folks wanted tennis court nets raised to regulation rates, and many people want a practice wall added. 

Folks do not want to lose the basketball courts but also are sad that tennis is not available any longer. One neighbor said without the basketball courts, he would not have made it through COVID. It helped a lot of kids get through the isolation. Kirsty talked with neighbors bout the basketball court use at John Taylor. Neighbors there said that the court are multipurpose. People teach kids how to ride bikes on the courts. People dance and do Tai Chi on the courts. Neighbors will sit and watch kickball and other games at the sports fields in the parks from their front yards. It was unanimous that folks want the parks to add sports and keep the parks diverse rather than take any sports away from the parks. 

Kirsty said that folks from Common Ground garden at John Taylor said that a restroom would really help them! Neighbors in the area are concerned that unhoused people might choose to squat in the restrooms, but other neighbors suggested that the restrooms be locked overnight the way they are in Lyons park. 

Kirsty said that 7th street seems like a “speedway” from the train tracks to highway 40. One idea was to add more 4-way stops and then have flags and other indicators at those stops, the way the city did when we got stop signs over the past few years at intersections that formerly didn’t have signs. 

Kirsty asked for feedback from attendees. Folks talked about time limits at the courts, common courtesy, parking issues, and where trees had been taken out recently. 

Ted agreed that we need Lyons to be a multi-sport park. We will be getting a new shelter at the park, and we will keep an eye on the parking issues there. 

Next the architects working on the spray park spoke. LandWorks Studio is heading up the project in concert with the city. The spray park has been in the city’s P&R plan for about five years. One is already under construction in East Lawrence on Burroughs Creek Trail. This will be the second project done and it will start in 2022. They are speaking to residents and sharing initial design processes and will be submitting plans to the city in about a week. The earliest a plan could be approved would be early August. The project will be open to public comment throughout the process. 

The firm has looked at Lyons park and figured out an ideal space for the spray park, close to the current picnic shelter (which will be upgraded or possibly angled differently in the park when it’s upgraded in 2024), the restroom (which will not change), and the playground (which will be upgraded this year). Spray parks are an aquatic recreation amenity that does not involve any standing water, unlike a wading pool. The water collects in drains and is captured, filtered, and re-used rather than used only once. The parks are more accessible and don’t require lifeguards or knowing how to swim. They have smooth, level, paved terrain, so are more accessible.

SE corner of the park near the playground to the east of the current parking area by the courts is the location, and the playground is also scheduled to be replaced within the next year, so the two will be designed in concert with one another. There is the correct type of access to water and sanitary sewer in that corner of the park. They plan to preserve the existing shade trees as well. 

The architects brought design boards with an overview of the spray park location and two concepts that they are looking at for the design in relation to the playground. The playground surface will change to pour and place rubber rather than wood chips. There will also be a new sidewalk put in on the north side of Lincoln Street. 

A resident asked if the porta-potty will remain by the pickleball courts. Mark H. said that it’s only there when the regular bathrooms are closed. The regular restrooms will open on April 15th. They are always locked overnight. 

A resident asked if there will be regular swings in the updated playground. There is a swing planned, but it looks kind of different from a regular old rubber swing. The resident asked if there will be baby swings. There will be different versions, replacing what we have. 

A resident asked if they have spoken to the business on the south side of Lincoln. They have not yet. Ted said that there are going to be new warehouses built on the south side of Lincoln soon, and they will also put sidewalks in. 

A resident asked about both summer and winter play. The spray park will only be open when restrooms and drinking fountains are turned on, so spring, summer, and some fall hours. The spray park will have daily hours when it is operational as well and operate on a timer. The features will turn on with a pedal or button, and have a programmed sequence. Parks and Rec is looking at what the optimum operating schedules for the spray parks will be. The playground equipment will be available 365 days a year. 

A resident asked if the project would be less expensive if the shelter stayed the same rather than getting renovated or moved. The shelter budget is coming out of a different line item, so it doesn’t impact the cost of the spray park. 

A resident asked about the budget and if there was money to make improvements to other parts of the parks, like the basketball courts. Mark said there are multiple projects and funding, which are separate, and that they are planning to resurface the basketball courts this year. The resident said that the baskets are too low. 

Residents were encouraged to look at the designs and weigh in on which ones they liked or didn’t like with blue or red dots on the designs. It looks like we won’t get our recreation center with a pool any time soon, but we like this idea! 

Mark said that the John Taylor Park restroom CIP/funding will be looked at for 2026. Mark spoke about some of the more updated designs for playgrounds in Lawrence and other shelter ideas, like the sails in Burcham Park. We do like to picnic in the rain… so we are pro roof. 

Ted featured the new North Lawrence tee shirt that is based on our new Welcome sign at the Depot. Sign Up did the sign, the city built the frame for it and illuminated it, and Happy Shirt printed the tee shirts. $12 for members, $15 for everyone else. 

Ted said that even though we usually do not meet in June, July, or August, we have some big changes happening in Lawrence, and we might want to invite the new Police Chief to visit. If we do have an extra meeting this summer, it will be in the Lawrence Journal World, on Facebook, and on our website. 

Ted reminded everyone that even though we were not face-to-face for the last 2 years, NLIA was still busy working for North Lawrence. 

The North Lawrence Garage Sale will be the weekend of May 21st. Midland Care will hold their second fundraising lunch between 10am and 2pm. Hopefully it will not be a torrential downpour this year.

A resident asked if Ted had heard complaints about property taxes this year. Ted gave clear recommendations how to appeal —especially finding which properties that the county compares to yours and noting the clear differences. Residents can get a list from the county and compare them and appeal raises or changes in their taxes. 

A resident noted that he is one of the folks who likes to watch games in Lyons park from his front yard. He wondered if kickball was going to make a comeback because he really enjoys watching games. Kirsty suggested that we aren’t promoting Lyons park as a great place to play kickball. Our mayor said that the Kaw Valley leagues have not been gathering as much during COVID, and they will be restarting this May. 

Ted said he will report back to the city about slowing traffic on north 7th street, especially with the updated amenities that will draw more children and families to the park at 7th and Lincoln. 

A member of Lawrence Transit is here this evening to do a presentation about route redesign. She had handouts of the route proposals and did a short presentation. There will be a new transit hub built at Bob Billings and Crestline. The KU routes will change in August of 2022, and the city routes will change early in 2023. There is a survey available, and route proposals are still open to public comment via Lawrence Listens. 

Route 4, the current NoLaw route, will have two major changes, possibly three. The route will be moved to North Street rather than Lyon Street, and will connect to a 6th street route during peak frequencies, 30 and 60 minute frequencies. Between 7 and 9 am and in the early afternoons, there will be a bus every 30 minutes, and it will take people downtown, along 9th to the Merc, and out 6th to Rock Chalk Park. There will also be Sunday micro transit service available, similar to dial a ride, or via an app, and it will be more point-to-point. They will also be looking at fare-free service starting in 2023 after the routes are changed. There will also be interline routes available, offering fewer transfers per ride. 

We did our drawing gift certificate and Ted mentioned that we have snacks tonight. 

Ted closed the meeting talking about the possible pedestrian walkway designs over the river. He said that the projects behind Johnny’s are picking up again after two years of not doing much during the pandemic. The walkways didn’t really have designs for how they would connect and integrate into North Lawrence — just designs for south of the river. So folks working on the projects behind Johnny’s are going to integrate with the walkway folks, and Ted will bring notes and designs to the May meeting. 

All new development will be bordered by North 2nd street, and not extend east of there. We are still looking at six possible grocery store chains for that location in the second phase of the project. Johnny’s will stay the same, but Betty’s will have a big building with commercial and residential spaces available. The Gaslight building will be saved, and stories will be added in the first phase. The second phase will include a hotel and a grocery store between the first phase developments and the levee. All facades of the buildings will need to resemble the historic depot and be limited to how high they can be on N. 2nd street. The elevator building behind Johnny’s will also be preserved, perhaps by barn and building preservation folks. 

The entire project is required to have its own storm water abatement system and not tie into the existing systems, which get overloaded already when we have heavy storms. The first phase will likely have a retention pond, and the second will include the pump system for stormwater. 

The whole walkway/connecting design is furthering the goal of connecting the entire loop around the city, and some folks want bike paths extended around and north of the airport as well (as the levee curves to the north on both ends). 

Ted encouraged residents to give input on how we want these things done, since we are the folks who live here. 

We did have first responders available, an engine and five firefighters, sitting across the river here when the big KU parade happened on Sunday. Ted was instrumental in getting that to happen; the city does not have a consistent policy or a habit of making sure we are covered every time big events happen. We actually have to ask EVERY time! 

We adjourned the meeting around 8:22 pm but people stood around and chatted afterwards. 

April 11 meeting is ON

NLIA will be meeting IN PERSON again tomorrow, Monday, April 11th, 7pm at Peace Mennonite. We will have SNACKS and NEW TEE SHIRTS for sale based on the new NoLaw sign.

We will host guest speakers, including the director of Parks and Rec, and folks from the city will be there to talk to us about certain park improvements, including the splash park, restrooms, and possibly having tennis courts available again.

See you there!