City of Lawrence

City Manager’s Office



May 30, 2013


David L. Corliss, City Manager


Casey Toomay, Budget Manager


Cynthia Wagner, Assistant City Manager

Diane Stoddard, Assistant City Manager

Jonathan Douglass, Assistant to the City Manager / City Clerk


City Commission Goals



The City Commission sets the vision for our City and adopts goals to reflect that vision and guide decision-making at all levels of City government. The goal setting process builds consensus on policies and projects that impact City residents, businesses and the community as a whole.


City Commissions have used different methods to set goals, however, several common themes have developed over time: 

·         maintain and improve our infrastructure;

·         promote economic development to create and support primary jobs as well as to grow and diversify our tax base;

·         provide resources to protect the public safety;

·         provide an excellent quality of life for all our residents; and

·         create a sustainable environment.


Staff uses these goals to set priorities, direct work activities, and allocate staff and financial resources.  A summary of recent and upcoming projects related to each goal is provided below.


Maintain and Improve our Infrastructure

The City continues to make progress toward improving many areas of our infrastructure. 

·         Streets.  The City has increased resources devoted to street maintenance in recent years due to the voter approved infrastructure sales tax.  Projects the are underway and upcoming include:

o  Iowa Street Reconstruction.  The reconstruction of this section of one of the busiest corridors in our community will improve the safety of the roadway and improve traffic flow in the area by replacing the damage roadway and installing a center turn lane. 

o  6th and Iowa.  A new southbound turn lane will be added to 6th Street at Iowa to keep traffic flowing on this busy corridor.

o  Traffic signal at 23rd and O’Connell Road.  This signal will improve access to the Farmland Redevelopment and East Hills Business Park as well as enhance the flow of traffic on K-10.

o  South Lawrence Trafficway and 31st Street.  The Kansas Department of Transportation is moving forward with this project which will help traffic flow in Lawrence and link Manhattan, Topeka, Lawrence, and the communities of Johnson County.  The regional economic benefit of this project is estimated at $3.7 billion.  As part of this project, the City is constructing 31st Street, from O’Connell to Haskell.   

o  Bob Billings Parkway and K-10 Interchange.  This project will improve traffic flow through the community, and will provide a direct route to the University of Kansas. 

·         Sidewalks.  The city has focused on completing sidewalk gap projects.  Recent projects include Iowa Street, from 6th to 7th; the lighted path on 12th Street from Louisiana to downtown; construction of Burroughs Creek Trail; and Kasold, Bob Billings to 31st Street.  Upcoming sidewalk gap projects include recreation paths and sidewalks at the Farmland Redevelopment site, as well as on Bob Billings Parkway, from Iowa to Kasold; 6th Street from Folks to Monterrey Way; Iowa at 6th Street, Pennsylvania from 8th to 9th, and 31st, Haskell to O’Connell. 

·         Water and Wastewater. The City Commission approved a multi-million dollar plan for our water and wastewater systems that includes the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility.  By making plans now to complete these improvements, our community will be able to ensure capacity into the future. 

·         Storm water.  The 5th and Maple Pump Station project is scheduled to get underway soon and is expected to provide improve storm water drainage in North Lawrence.  Other storm water projects have been identified for completion when bonds on existing stormwater improvements are paid off in 2018.   


Promote Economic Development

The Redevelopment of the former Farmland fertilizer plant is one of the City’s largest commitments to the future of industry in our community.  We are now in the process of constructing nearly $7 million of infrastructure improvement to the site to prepare it for new businesses and/or existing companies looking for room to expand. 


The Bioscience and Technology Business Center is an example of the City, the University, and private business joining forces to grow our economy.  Work is underway to expand this facility and welcome more businesses and jobs to Lawrence. 


The City has been prudently using economic development tools to assist targeted projects that further community goals.  Recent examples include the use of the Neighborhood Revitalization program to assist the Treanor Architects headquarters project at 1040 Vermont and the Cider gallery project on Pennsylvania Street, infrastructure investments for the Poehler Building and Cider Gallery in the Warehouse Arts District area, tax increment financing and transportation development district financing for the 9th & New Hampshire projects and the Oread Hotel, and industrial revenue bonds to assist the Neuvant House East project.


Recognizing the potential economic impact of a growing retirement population, the Lawrence City Commission and Douglas County Commission appointed a Retiree Attraction and Retention Task Force in late 2011.  Following more than six months of work that group presented a report with recommendations to attract and retain retirees to Lawrence and Douglas County.  Recommendations included enhanced coordination and communication of services and resources available to people 55 years and older; development and implementation of a marketing plan and campaign; and identification of a board to implement and monitor the progress in implementation of the recommendations of the task force.  The Douglas County Senior Services Board was reconstituted in the fall of 2012 and is currently working to develop a plan of action relating to the task force recommendations.  The KERN Group, Inc. has been retained to develop a marketing plan and campaign, which should begin this fall. 

Early in 2013, the City established a Cultural District in the downtown/east Lawrence area and subsequently formed a Cultural District Task Force to look at issues and possible models the City could consider applying to the Cultural District to leverage current cultural opportunities, and enable additional economic development with the creative industry sector. 


Efforts continue to improve our planning and development services operations in order to make them more customer-friendly.  Discussions regarding updating and improving Horizon 2020 are also underway.  


The City has engaged CTC Technology & Energy, a national firm, to complete a report on the current state of technology infrastructure in Lawrence and strategies the City may utilize to improve access to higher bandwidth, recognizing the importance of internet access to the current and future economy, and meeting citizen and business demand.  CTC is slated to provide its report to the City Commission on June 11.


Protect Public Safety

The City continues to invest in its public safety resources.  In 2013, the mill levy was increased to provide three addition officers and $300,000 in additional equipment for our Police Department.  In 2012, five new officer positions were added. 


The infrastructure sales tax has provided additional resources for fire apparatus and equipment since 2009. 


In 2012, the City spent over $2 million to purchase new radios for the police department, fire department, and public works department in order to comply with a federal mandate.  The City is also investing up to $3 million in new radio transmitters and other infrastructure and equipment for emergency communications.


Under an agreement with the County, the City is responsible for 66% of the operational costs of the Emergency Communications Center.  The Fire Chief and Police Chief agree that additional staffing for the ECC should be the top priority for public safety in 2014.   The need for a new police facility also  continues to be a priority. 


Provide An Excellent Quality Of Life

Much of the work we do is aimed at keeping Lawrence a great place to live, work, and play.  A number of projects that are underway or upcoming are highlighted below.


·         Library Expansion.  This expansion will address numerous needs at the Lawrence Public Library including expanded children’s space, public meeting rooms, and additional downtown parking. 


·         Rock Chalk Park and Recreation Center.   This new facility will provide the community with additional indoor gym space and other recreational amenities including a walking track, outdoor trails, and illuminated tennis courts.  The site will also be home to several new athlete facilities for the University of Kansas which will bring athletes and other visitors to our community.


·         Theatre Lawrence.  The City committed $100,000 to help Theatre Lawrence construct a new state of the art theater and education facility.  This community asset brings visitors to our community and provides cultural enrichment activities for people of all ages. 


·         Lawrence Arts Center.  The Lawrence Arts Center provides our community with opportunities in the arts.  The City supports the Arts Center by providing them with a facility as well as providing funding for scholarships and to help support their operations.       


·         Poehler Lofts Project in the Warehouse Arts District.  This project is a great example of how the City and private developers can work together to create a project that benefits neighborhoods and our community as a whole. 


·         Ninth and New Hampshire Development.  The new hotel and apartments planned at this intersection will provide more opportunities for people to stay and live downtown which will support additional retail activity and services in downtown. 


·         Complete Streets Policy.  This policy establishes guiding principles and practices to create a safe, equitable, balanced, and effective transportation system that encourages walking, biking, and transit use to improve health and reduce environmental impact. 


·         Rental Registration Program.  Discussion regarding expansion of the City’s rental registration program is ongoing.  This program would help ensure the safety and quality of rental housing in more of our neighborhoods. 


·         Public Transit.  The City transit system continues to improve service and increase access to the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University, making it easier more people to ride the bus to work and school. 


·         The Lawrence Community Shelter.  The shelter has successfully moved into a new, permanent facility, providing a place for people to receive support and training to help provide them with a way out of poverty and into more permanent housing. 


Create A Sustainable Environment

The City has worked to identify more efficient ways of serving our community in order to foster a healthy environment for present and future generations.


Efforts to reduce our energy consumption have included energy audits at City Hall, the Arts Center, and the ITC; HVAC upgrades at the Public Library; LED traffic signals and LED lighting retrofits on downtown streetlights; and adding hybrid busses to our transit fleet.  Several departments have also participated in Energy Smackdown Challenges to see which of their facilities can have the greatest reduction in energy consumption. 


In addition to saving energy and money in our own facilities, we work with citizens to help them save energy and money in their homes and businesses.  The City continues to sponsor the annual Energy Conservation Fair, which provides information to residents on ways to make their home more efficient.  The first Green Business Leaders class was convened this year, providing energy efficiency solutions and building assessments for 12 downtown businesses.


The City has initiated Common Ground community gardens.  These garden plots have provided neighborhoods with access to fresh, healthy produce, served as an educational tool for residents, and provided a great community building experience. 


In 2014, the City will begin providing single-stream, curbside recycling which should reduce the amount of waste going to the landfills. 



Staff seeks direction on whether the goals outlined above remain the priorities of the City Commission and/or if there are other goals, priorities, and projects the Commission is interested in pursuing over the next two years.