Walking along the East 9th street corridor LTVL took a moment to check in with long-standing 9th street business owners Marty Olson of Do’s Deluxe and Will Ogle of LB Holdings Inc. We came to take the temperature of how the current East 9th street development plan would affect business owners operating along the proposed development site.
For those who have spent decades in the neighborhood there is a clear sense that culture and identity are flourishing and already very established. Plans for a complete-street design including heavy alteration of current street infrastructure are viewed by many as an imposition upon the neighborhood. With a looming city budget crisis and a strong divide between neighborhood residents on the topic, we sought out these business owners to hear their take on the proposed development plan.
What we heard was a series of compelling concerns followed by a clear alternative to the plan proposed by Kansas city based design firm, el dorado.
Business owners outlined criteria that would limit development to the following ends:
- Save the city money by focusing on expressed infrastructure needs
- Resurface streets and repair existing sidewalks (Greater accessibility)
- Maintain established parking
- Support the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association’s (ELNA) statement of values
- Safeguard against inflated property taxes.
Since 2013 there has been a growing buzz concerning an impending gentrification of East Lawrence. With the 2014 award of the Lawrence Art Center’s Arts Place America, Our Town Grant, development speculation has led to increases of up to 30% in property taxes for residences and businesses in the neighborhood. This is an amount untenable for many neighborhood residents.