June 16, 2021
Lawrence, US 93 F
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City extends comment period on draft downtown plan to June 24, schedules additional steering committee meeting

Responding to community pushback about the proposed master plan for downtown, the city has extended the comment period on the draft plan to June 24 and scheduled another meeting of the master plan steering committee for July 8 to consider changes.

The steering committee, consisting mostly of downtown business people, voted 13-0 two weeks ago to ask for more time to receive community input and consider the plan, which was created over the past three years by Chicago-based consultant Houseal Lavigne Associates at a cost of $147,000. 

The City Commission is expected to take up the 115-page plan later this summer.

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Concerns have been raised by community members about how the draft plan deals with issues of inclusion and historic preservation, as well as its suggestions that landmark buildings such as the downtown Post Office and Replay Lounge could be targets for future redevelopment. Steering committee members also complained that they’d only been given just three meetings over three years in which to discuss the plan and hadn’t had any communication with the consulting firm since January 2020 before being asked to give final approval last month.

The city’s announcement about the extended comment period attributed it to “increasing interest in the draft.” It said it would accept public comments through 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 24; interested community members should send comments to downtownplan@lawrenceks.org or to Amy Miller, assistant director of planning & development services, at amiller@lawrenceks.org.

The additional steering committee meeting will be held virtually at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 8. The committee will be given presentation of comments and community input that has been received, and city staff will make recommendations and changes or modifications to the draft plan. Community members can watch and participate in that meeting by registering here.

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