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Monday, 01 December 2014 23:07

Community gathers to discuss Ninth Street Corridor Project

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Monday night the East Lawrence Community was given the chance to express their concerns about the 9th Street Corridor project.

"The people in this neighborhood, the people who have been here for a long time are scarred that they're going to get kicked out," said Matt Pryor, an East Lawrence resident.

"I think it's very important that the community is involved in things that are going on in their own front yard," said Amanda Davis, another East Lawrence resident.

More than 100 people gathered for the meeting.

"We wanted to have this meeting so people felt like their voices could be heard as far as how they see that process working and I think we got some really good feedback," said Christina McClelland, Director of Arts of Culture.

Previously city commissioners denied allowing city staff to negotiate with El Dorado Inc., the reccommended design firm for the project, and directed staff to collect more community input after multiple East Lawrence residents expressed worry about a lack of transparency in the project design.

"Fixing the process is really important and communication is a big part of it," said Eric Kirkendall, owner Lawrence Creates Makerspace.

However not everyone shared that opinion.

"I think the city and the arts center could have been more transparent.  I think at the same time the neighborhood could have been more active from the beginning," said Pryor.  

"I think El Dorado has made it clear that they plan to engage the community in everything that they are doing," said Davis.

City officials said they intend to keep conversations like this going.  

"That's certainly been our intent.  I think we can always do better at that," said McCllelland.

Which is exactly what some wanted to hear.

"Participants should be empowered to make decisions in a process like this," said Kirkendall.

"Communication is the key for sure, but at the same time compromise is the key as well because you know we don't want a hooters here, but at the same time we need to fix the damn sidewalks," said Pryor.

City staff will take the comments from Monday night and will present them to the city commission on December 1.  Commissioners will once again consider approving city staff to enter negotiations with the recommended design team. 

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