November 14, 2022
Meeting began: 6:58pm
Ted opened the meeting
First on the agenda was the Lawrence Public library represented by Terese Winters.
Terese Winters addressed neighbors and shared all the free services that the Lawrence Public Library have available. Such services are reserving study rooms, book a help tech session, record a oral history, book club, take a guitar lesson and grow native flower from the seed library. You can learn more at lplks.org. Terese is your library Liaison and you can reach her with questions, suggestions and feedback at 785-843-3833.
Mark the libraries community resource staff member also spoke. His role is directing people to resources in the community. There is a Community Resource Fair November 18th from 2pm – 6pm in the library auditorium. Hope all will join to learn about local social service agencies and stop in for refreshments, free winter gear and activities for children.
Ted talked about how the neighborhood agreed that they needed to come to together to help the homeless and neighborhood
Ted then introduced Jennifer Burnes and stated that she would report out in regards to the survey that she and Kirsty Feltz compiled.
Jennifer Burnes addressed the neighbors and gave a survey update. She stated that the neighbors will receive the survey results in a formal print version and hopes to do so by January. She shared the survey results in regards to what our neighbors like about North Lawrence which is small town feel, proximity to the Levee, down to earth, diverse, friendly and the agricultural feel were some of the responses. Jennifer shared that a neighbor stated in the survey they had only lived in North Lawrence for one month and found the neighborhood friendly and welcoming.
Jennifer stated that there were responses on the survey in regards to the homeless. She stated she wanted to bring other neighborhood concerns forward which are conditions of homes, dilapidated homes, junk in yards and ditches needing maintenance. Also speed of drivers on Locust street and light pollution. Neighbors would like street lights to be addressed. She shared that a neighbor stated that she can no longer take walks alone as a women. Another neighbor would like no people staying over night in the parks. One neighbor wrote that they struggle to find the right words to express their concerns about the homeless and feel that we need to find a balance.
A neighbor at the meeting asked how many survey’s were answered and Jennifer answered 147.
Neighbors at meeting stated “great job” to the survey.
Ted stated he would support encouraging more to answer the survey by posting info about the survey on Facebook.
A neighbor requested a paper copy of the survey.
Ted stated that once the results of the survey are compiled he would like to have them posted in the Lawrence Journal World and shared with City Commissioners.
Ted talked about the 200 new homes that have been built in the neighborhood and the new neighbors have expressed they moved to North Lawrence for the community feel and walking distance to downtown. He also stated because the crime rate was low.
Ted addressed the neighbors and stated he has some good news. He stated that a neighbor had taken a walk along the river and checked out the two abandoned camps between 7th street and 3rd street. At this point Ted handed the report out to the said neighbor to continue sharing. The neighbor stated that he discovered only two people living in the abandoned camp and that with the help of Bert Nash the two people are receiving help and services. The neighbor also shared that another camp is located East of John Taylor Park and that there is one lady living there that is very nice and a brave lady.
Ted stated that transients are still chanting and threatening even though the city has been kindhearted by providing help and support. A neighbor asked Ted how he knows the transients are causing the issues and Ted replied that the local homeless have told him so.
The Neighbor and Ted expressed that they are going to meet at the Ballard Center in regards to understanding the transients and the homeless.
Ted shared with the neighbors the letters that were written by downtown business owners including the one written by Rick Renfro all in regards to the need for more support to take care of the homeless community.
Ted shared that the downtown businesses letters are available to read with concerns with homeless including Rick Renfros decision to close Johnny’s.
Ted shared that a farmland area east side of Lawrence has the possibility of being a better suited site for the camp for the homeless and that there is a need for the homeless to have a permanent place rather than be up rooted or shipped around and not allowed to get to stay. He said It is not fair to the homeless to be moved all the time and find a spot that is beneficial to getting them back up on their feet.
Ted said he is working with community partners and business owners to find a solution. Ted shared how the homeless were put in Woody Park and then moved out and that he has first hand experience as to what it is like to have nothing. He said my family and I have had to receive help from the Salvation Army. He said we need to offer a hand up.
Ted shared that any development like a grocery store is on hold until we get the situation under control.
Ted then said we have to help the homeless and we have to distinguish between the good and bad. Ted said with the Police having a hands off policy and residents not feeling supported and safe this is not happening. He did state that at the time of the hands off we had an interim police chief.
Ted said he had a meeting at Johnny’s with Police Chief Lockhart and he said he heard that patrol officers were saying “hands off”.
Ted said the “hands off” started a year and half ago and this is why neighbors were feeling unprotected.
A Neighbor addressed Ted and stated that “the paper reports that the police have clarified their involvement with protecting the neighborhood”.
Ted moved to the topic of affordable houses and that the prices are around $180.000.
Ted talked about keeping affordable housing in the neighborhood.
Neighbor addressed Ted and said “you mentioned a couple of times chanting can you tell me what they were chanting?” Ted stated that it was “kill you in your sleep”.
Ted mentioned that the incidents with crime have been documented by the police.
Neighbor stated that he would like to thank the North Lawrence neighbors for all the help and donations. He mentioned a long list of donations such as water, tents, sleeping bags and what said neighbor verbally listed was impressive. He is on the Board of Directors for Independence Inc and wanted to thank Rick Renfro for donating pizza’s to the homeless camp. He received a question from a fellow neighbor asking if when the donations are delivered are the recipients/homeless helping to unload his vehicle? The neighbor responded that they are willing to help and stack all the donations into the container to wait for them to be dispersed at the scheduled time. He went on to say that he himself was surprised as he thought that the campers would start digging through and taking items immediately. He share that he has seen things at the camp that he did not want to see however he is not scared to go to the camp. He also stated that he is proud to be a North Lawrence Resident.
Ted talked about a friend who helps collect donations that are received from churches such as cases of strawberries, bananas, grapes and also canned goods. Ted stores them at his home to disperse to families in need including the homeless. Ted said we all have to do our part to help.
Neighbor stated can we take donations at our December meeting?
The December meeting is being cancelled due to the venue for said meeting not being available.
Neighbor stated that even though the neighborhood were concerned about the homeless they still stepped up and helped. He went on to say that there needs to be a better solution than where the camp is located at present. He said I don’t want them out of North Lawrence just in a better situation and I feel that the North Lawrence neighbors will still be willing to help the homeless no matter where they live. He stated we still need to address the situation.
Ted reminded neighbors that the collection from local business for holiday gifts will happen as always this year and that in the past 10 families are adopted for the holiday.
Neighbor shared that the Journal World is collecting for Toys for Tots and that they will give a few free papers for your donation. She also shared that LJW have a free add if you are selling anything for under $100.
City Commissioner Lisa Larson was at the meeting and a neighbor shared with her a program to stop gun violence and asked her to look into “Omaha 360 violence intervention and prevention”.
Ted reiterated that the local businesses downtown want to help the homeless in a positive way.
Neighbor asked if the Chili is still planned for February? Ted stated “no”.
if you have donations for the homeless camp please call 785-505-0039.
Lisa Larson has a plea from the city. They are in need of volunteers to take shifts at the Community Building. You are able to sign up for a shift online to support the emergency shelter for the homeless.
Meeting adjourned at 7:52pm