How Does the East Ninth Project Benefit LFK?


I happened upon a Facebook post today from a longtime family friend. He posted about the East Ninth Project asking “how many homeless families would that money wasted on this project for Hipsters help?” After my expected initial confusion at this question (I definitely don’t consider myself a Hipster), I had time to reflect on some of the really positive outcomes this project will have on the community.

1) The East Ninth Project benefits families with children.
When our nephew was born, my husband and I would take him for walks to Downtown Lawrence in his stroller. When you’re pushing a sleeping one-month-old, you notice every single crack and bump. Some parts of the sidewalk between Delaware and Massachusetts Streets are completely reduced to rubble, and we were forced to walk with him in the street.

2) The East Ninth Project benefits those on bikes. It provides a safe route from Delaware to Downtown Lawrence for adults and children at any skill level to ride their bikes without having to be on the street with cars. This is an important benefit, as it means that a five-year-old who just graduated from training wheels won’t have to bike down the street, shared with delivery trucks and other vehicles. And when that 5-year-old inevitably falls off his or her bike, they’re not going to be met with a face full of gravel from the deteriorated sidewalks.

3) The East Ninth Project benefits people with disabilities. Right now, I don’t believe there are any ADA accessible sidewalks or paths along this stretch of 9th Street until you get all the way Downtown. Neighbors in wheelchairs have no safe way to get Downtown without a car. This project will provide a fully ADA accessible path.

4) The East Ninth Project benefits the environment and health. Reducing the carbon footprint of East Ninth Street by providing safe walking and biking routes improves the air quality in the neighborhood and encourages healthy lifestyles. With each connecting path and riding option in Lawrence, individuals are much more likely to choose to bike, and yes, walk, versus choosing the car default.

These are only a few of the numerous benefits this project has. . . I’d say those benefits impact far more than just “the Hipsters” in the neighborhood.

To speak to the comparison my friend brought up, transitional and affordable housing is important to me. One of our good friends found permanent housing with the support of the homeless shelter and other local organizations. Previous City Commissions approved tax breaks for developers, sacrificing revenue, which could have otherwise been contributed to a budget that would have provided greater resources for affordable housing. Reversing these type of decisions will help. We also need to support efforts as part of the budget process to make sure that careful planning and consideration is given to housing. But that is the thing, we have budgets, we have planning around priorities, and every issue can’t be all or nothing. Thankfully we seem to have a commission who has taken the housing issue seriously while understanding that there has to be a balance and process.

After attending 15 months of meetings revolving around the East Ninth project (which is literally in my front yard), it is my belief that this is the best plan for the area and will provide a benefit to the largest population of people, both inside East Lawrence and outside. When my husband and I moved to our house in East Lawrence nearly 10 years ago, I was disappointed with the minimal maintenance of city infrastructure in our neighborhood. East Lawrence streets have been left with pot holes far after those in other parts of the city have been fixed. New York Street in particular north of 9th is one of the roughest bike and car rides in city.

I have lived in Lawrence my entire life and for the first time in my memory, aside from re-bricking a street that is now also in poor shape, the City is investing a large sum of money in East Lawrence infrastructure improvements. This is long overdue.

Kansas Presidential Caucus – Saturday, March 5th, 2016


Dear Fellow Kansas Millennials,

I know our generation as a whole isn’t a fan of using calendars or committing to activities or events ahead of time and FOMO (fear of missing out) runs rampant in our minds, but this is IMPORTANT.  Living in Kansas, our vote in the general election may mean very little, but that’s not the case this weekend, at the Kansas Caucus events.

Wherever you live, whatever your political affiliation may be, please, please, please don’t skip the caucus on Saturday.  Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers and it’s time to make our voice heard and stop making excuses for why we’re not.  Nothing is going to change unless we speak up and take control of the future that we and our children are going to be living through.

Yes, if you’re a Democrat in Kansas, the caucus is probably going to take up a good portion of your Saturday afternoon.  Is one afternoon of your time worth avoiding 4-8 years under a President who makes you want to leave the country?  I hope it is.

Yes, both KU and K-State have basketball games on Saturday afternoon and if you go to the caucus, you’re probably going to miss seeing those games live.  That’s why we have smart phones and DVRs.

I hope you will choose to attend the caucus and spend the afternoon with people from your community who have the same values and beliefs.  Who knows, you may make a new friend or run into someone you haven’t seen in a while.  No matter what happens, if you’re there, making your choice heard, you’re doing the right thing.

Don’t know what the caucus is?  Democrats find out HERE.  Republicans find out HERE.

Don’t know who to caucus for?  Find out HERE.

Don’t know which Kansas Senate District you live in?  Find out HERE.

Don’t know where to caucus?  Find out HERE.

Don’t know if you’re registered to vote or what party affiliation you’re registered under?  Find out HERE.

Need to register to vote?  Find out how HERE.

Sincerely,

A Kansas Millennial who has voted in every local, state and national election since 2000

Contributing to the East Lawrence I Love

 In light of some recent characterizations made about “new” people running for election to the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association Board and because there isn’t a forum to let my extended neighbors know who I am and what I want to contribute to the neighborhood, I thought it might be warranted to blog about my history, my love for East Lawrence, and what I hope to contribute.

 

First, a little bit about my history: 

 
Lawrence
 
I have lived in Lawrence my entire life. I went to elementary school at Schwegler, Jr. High at South (when it was still a circle) and graduated from Lawrence High School. My dad is a KU grad and worked in the airport consulting industry for most of his 40+ year career. My mom worked for Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka for 19 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom for my sisters and I, while handling a couple of health issues of her own. I love Lawrence and plan to live here for the rest of my life. 
 
I have been volunteering as a Planning Committee Member for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Douglas County for the past 6 years. 2016 will be my 3rd year serving as the Event Co-Chair. In the time I have been Co-Chairing the event, we have raised over half a million dollars for the American Cancer Society’s programs and services in Douglas County. 
 
East Lawrence
 
I have been running meetings, volunteering with numerous charity organizations, planning large events, and public speaking since I was 11 years old. When my husband, Josh, and I moved to East Lawrence, about a decade ago, we began attending ELNA meetings, helping with the Block Party, baking for the Kickball concession stand, buying and wrapping items for the adopted family, etc. I was also involved in running the ELNA website for a while. We stopped attending ELNA meetings after some time because of the way we felt when we left those meetings. There seemed to be an overlying negative tone and the meetings ran later than I was willing to stay because of my job in Overland Park and the early commute. 
 
We became involved again when East Ninth began to gain some speed. Josh and I have both attended hours of meetings, studied notes from meetings we were unable to attend, researched topics and asked questions as they came up. This time has been valuable in terms of really understanding the project as well as getting to know more of my neighbors in the community. 
 
ELNA
 
But, being a part of the ELNA Board is about much more than just East Ninth Street. Josh and I have lived directly on 9th Street for a long time. We are in the heart of one of the very best neighborhoods Lawrence has to offer. Now that I’m working at KU and don’t have an hour and a half commute every day, I’d like to dedicate some more time to the neighborhood association and be sure that my voice helps to shape the decisions that are made where the neighborhood is involved. 
 

Below are a few examples of things I would try to bring to the table:

  • Working cooperatively with the City to establish protections for residents who have concerns about being priced out of their homes
  • Reaching out to all our neighbors to make sure that they feel comfortable sharing their opinions about neighborhood issues
  • Treating everyone (city officials, neighbors, visitors, etc.) with respect
  • Mobilizing volunteers to find ways to help neighbors who are struggling or need some sort of help that we’re able to provide
  • Encouraging young people in the neighborhood to get involved by providing additional volunteer opportunities (possibly an “Adopt a grandparent” style program)
  • Making meetings manageable for all who are interested in attending and having their voices heard
  • Making all agendas and meeting minutes available electronically
  • Focusing on and shaping positive change as we encounter it
  • Continuing to build on the great print and email newsletters we currently have
  • Encouraging continued active participation in City Advisory Boards, Committees and Task Forces
  • Possible expansion of the use of our website, Facebook page and Twitter accounts (not placing this duty solely on the neighborhood coordinator, but spreading the responsibility among multiple board members)

East Lawrence is great community and ELNA has been a significant part of making it what it is. I hope to work as part of the board to continue that tradition and build on it.


Amanda Davis
amanda.woodward@gmail.com

 

East Ninth Project Progress

There are some very exciting things happening in East Lawrence, Kansas right now.  Due to its proximity to Downtown Lawrence and the up-and-coming Warehouse Arts District, East Lawrence is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Douglas County and there are no signs that will be changing in the foreseeable future.

Because of the desirable location, rich cultural history and deep-seeded love of our neighborhood, East Ninth Street, between Massachusetts Street and Delaware Streets received a prestigious ArtPlace Grant in 2014.  More information about the ArtPlace Grant can be found HERE.  Essentially, this Grant provides $500,000 for public art aspects (administration, design, fabrication, and installation) along 9th Street.  In addition to the $500,000 Grant, the City of Lawrence has pledged approximately $3 Million toward additional design and construction surrounding the project.

For a neighborhood who has seen little infrastructure improvement in years, this is a huge opportunity to better the neighborhood and make it a desirable location to live for years to come.

In a memo dated August 4th, 2015, the City of Lawrence announced the final artists for the project.  They are:

East Ninth Artists

Integrated Artists

The deadline for the Associate Artist program was August 3rd and selections for that program should be coming soon.

The design phase is just beginning and the excitement for the project is building.  A website and Facebook group were recently started to encourage support for the project among neighbors and other stakeholders.  If you are interested in the project and showing your support, please visit our website at www.eastninth.com or our new Facebook Page – Community and Culture on East Ninth.

The website includes a comprehensive FAQ page with information about the project, which is very helpful in getting caught up with the process.

We would love to hear your thoughts and what you’re most looking forward to about the project.

Related Links & Articles
City of Lawrence East Ninth Website
East Ninth.com
Community and Culture on East Ninth
Lawrence Arts Center
el dorado, Inc.

6 News Lawrence Story – August 3, 2015
Lawrence Kansas Live BLOG

 

Curry in a Hurry – Lawrence

Today, I stopped by the new location of Curry in a Hurry on the outskirts of Downtown Lawrence.  We’ve been hearing a lot about it through the Journal World and local twitter users and Josh really wanted to try it.  I had the day off of work for a doctor’s appointment and had some errands to run, so I stopped by on my way home.

The setup is like nothing I’ve seen before in a restaurant.  Sammi has a buffet-style setup where all of the curries are pre-packaged in to-go containers and you just select which variety of curry you would like, grab a container of rice and any side items that you’d like (I grabbed naan bread, but there were at least two other items that I didn’t pick up) and take your selections to the register to check out.  I chose the chicken curry and rice for Josh (and unfortunately, he ate it all before I could get a photo) but Sammi was also offering pea and potato curry today.

The store has also been converted into a small storefront convenience store with candies, sodas, cigarettes and other convenience store items.  It’s definitely a unique addition to Downtown Lawrence.

Josh thought that the curry has some great flavors and that it was very good.  We hadn’t tried Sammi’s curry before, when he was working out of the Shell gas station near 19th & Mass but people have raved about his set-up for quite some time.  I know his true fans are delighted to have him back with his curry in a hurry.  I also know that we will be back to visit Sammi and see what kind of variety he will bring to Indian cuisine in Lawrence.  We’re definitely looking forward to it.

Curry in a Hurry is located at 1111 Massachusetts Street in Downtown Lawrence, KS.

Bird Dog Bar at The Oread Hotel

 
Those of you from Lawrence may have noticed the new structure that now towers above the northern end of the University of Kansas campus.  The Oread hotel was recently completed and is not fully in operation.  With the opening of a new luxury hotel, comes the chance to try some new restaurants in town.  My friend Shauna and I took the opportunity while wedding planning, to visit the Bird Dog Bar in the Oread Hotel several weeks ago and we left satisfied and impressed. 

We didn’t order anything that was terribly exciting (we both got burgers) but instead of french fries, I ordered the Mac & Cheese as my side.  Let me just tell you, this was some of the most amazing mac & cheese I’ve ever had.  I actually wanted to get it as my main dish but I’m always hesitant to do that because there are lots of ways for people to screw up mac & cheese and I didn’t want to possibly waste my money on something that was merely mediocre.  The Bird Dog’s mac & cheese was anything but mediocre.  It was outstanding and the next time I go here, I will absolutely order it as my main dish!

What’s even better about the Bird Dog Grill?  Oh, that’s right, the Oread offers free 2 hour valet parking with a purchase from any of its restaurants.  That’s pretty awesome on campus, where parking comes at a premium.

Shauna and I also decided to try the roasted red pepper hummus and pita as an appetizer and we weren’t disappointed with that either.  The hummus and pita comes with celery, cucumbers and olives and it was really good.  I’m not usually a fan of anything with any kind of bell pepper in it, but this was very good and I would definitely try it again.

Overall, the Bird Dog Grill gets my vote for a new restaurant in town that’s got staying potential.  I wish them the best of luck and look forward to going back again!

Esquina – Lawrence, KS

Josh and I decided to try out Robert & Molly Krause’s new restaurant, Esquina on its opening night.  Esquina is located on the southwest corner of 8th & Massachusetts Street in Downtown Lawrence.  It is in the building that was occupied by Round Corner Drug Store and the Cheese & Salami Shoppe for decades. 

Since the Krause’s shut down their home-based restaurant in January, they have been working hard to complete the renovations and improvements to the Round Corner space and tonight, all of their hard work paid off with an opening that appeared to go smoother than I ever would have thought an “opening night” should have gone.  Our food was delivered quickly and was exactly as we had ordered it and it was spectacular to boot.

Esquina is a Taqueria, but not a Taqueria like I’ve ever been to before.  The tacos that they serve aren’t like any other tacos that I’ve ever seen.  Robert and his team have come up with some of the most creative combinations of ingredients that just set off a fireworks show in your mouth.  There really are no words to explain my feelings about the pork tacos.  Seriously, pork, pineapple and pumpkin seeds were made for each other!

When you walk in the door, you made your way to the back of the restaurant to place your order from their chalkboard menu board.  They were having one special on opening night, a bowl of soup that we were told was pretty spicy, so we didn’t venture in that direction.  We ended up ordering the three tacos combo with an additional taco, an order of chips and homemade guacamole and an order of the calamari.  I am a huge fan of calamari and I like to try it wherever I see it on the menu (within reason of course. . . calamari isn’t something that I’m probably going to be sampling at some sketchy location for fear of ending up in the ER a short time later). 

The tacos that we chose were the Steak, Pork, Chicken and Fish.  Josh said that his favorite was the fish taco and I agree that it was pretty amazing with the fried plantains in there.  Robert just knows how to please his customers with eclectic combinations of ingredients that cause your taste buds to dance.  Good stuff people, good stuff!

My favorite taco, as I said before was the pork taco.  It was absolutely amazing.  I also really enjoyed the calamari and the guacamole.  The chips at Esquina have a light seasoning and are wonderful as well.  The guacamole is chunky and comes in the largest serving size I’ve ever seen for guac.  The calamari comes with a slightly sweet dipping sauce that really counteracts and compliments the saltiness of the calamari.  Yum!

So, if you’re visiting Downtown Lawrence, looking for somewhere to eat that’s a little bit different from your normal, every day food experiences, definitely check out Esquina.  I promise you won’t be worry that you did!

Cozy Inn – Salina, Kansas

Some of you may have never heard of Cozy Inn in Salina, Kansas.  If you’re from Kansas and you’ve ever traveled west of Topeka or know anyone who has, you’ve probably heard of the place.  A quick Google Search for "Cozy Inn Salina, KS" turns up over 6,000 results.  Sadly, I am one of those sheltered Kansans who never heard about the Cozy Inn until I was in my 20s, even though my dad graduated from high school in Salina and I’m sure, indulged in his fair share of Cozy Burgers  back in his day.

The restaurant opened in 1922 as a tiny 6-stool diner in downtown Salina.  Three months after opening the business was sold to a former semi-pro baseball player named Robert Kinkel.  The hamburger trend was just beginning in America at this time and the first White Castle actually opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, so Kinkel wanted in on the action. 

Cozy Inn doesn’t serve anything fancy and special orders are a big no-no.  If you want a burger from Cozy Inn, you’re going to get a slider-sized burger topped with a pickle, grilled onions, mustard and ketchup.  That’s it!  No cheese, no bacon, no fries.  Just the basics at the Cozy Inn.  Because of the crazy onion smell, they even have a walk-up window so people can avoid smelling like onions until their next shower. 

Back in the good old days, each burger was a nickle.  Today, they’re 75 cents a piece or you can get 6 for $4.50, 12 for $9.00, 24 for $18.00 or a value meal of 6 burgers, chips and a can of soda for $5.51.  I’m told that most people order 6 burgers.

Josh grew up near Salina, in Marquette, KS, and we stopped at the Cozy Inn for my first Cozy experience on the way to his family Christmas this year.  Here’s Josh looking excited about his Cozy burger.

The building really is tiny.  I would probably ask to work alone if I worked there.  I didn’t get to see the inside though because I stayed in the car.

 
You can see the size of the burger in comparison to my hand.  It’s not a large burger, but they were really good.  I’m looking forward to more Cozy Inn stops in the future.

Lawrence, KS Farmer’s Market Grand Opening – Guest Post by Umut

 
After almost a six-month hiatus, the Lawrence Farmer’s Market is back this weekend. This is great news to those of us who prefer local, seasonal produce to what is available year-round at the grocery stores.

My husband Bryan came to appreciate asparagus late in life, at about age 30, and now he just cannot wait for the local asparagus season. For the last two years, he started asking around February if asparagus is coming soon. He’s like a little child waiting for Christmas and Santa Claus. “Is it here yet? Is it here yet?” he’ll keep asking. Even though we could be buying asparagus in December or January, store-bought asparagus tastes nothing like the local batches that start becoming available at the farmer’s market in early April. Farmer’s markets help us reconnect with where our food comes from and the cycles of Mother Nature that make it possible.

Here in Kansas, the market starts out slow with salad greens, spinach, asparagus and maybe a few peas. Following asparagus, if there isn’t a late cold snap, we’ll get rhubarb. After rhubarb, strawberries and other berries come in. Late June and definitely by the Fourth of July marks the beginning of local tomatoes. Then come all the other hot weather produce, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. Late summer gives us a bounty of watermelons, cantaloupe and another favorite of Bryan’s, the charantais melon. Last but not the least, sweet corn arrives, oh the wonderful local sweet corn!

Most Americans aren’t aware of the fact that the majority of the produce we get in the grocery stores travels an average of 1,500 miles. The distance alone is proof that those vegetables and fruits cannot possibly be fresh. When the farmer’s market is in season, the produce available there is at most a day old. That is a considerable difference in freshness. That means a huge difference in flavor and nutrition, not to mention the local produce undoubtedly lasts longer in our fridges.

In the last few years, there have been some adventurous people, who have experimented with a strictly local diet where they only eat foods that are grown within a 100- to 150-mile radius (For more information go to: http://100milediet.org/). That diet may be easy to follow in places such as California or Florida but is a little difficult in Kansas. I’m not advocating that we all try to do that, but using more local, seasonal ingredients in the meals we prepare will make the food taste a lot better and cooking a little more interesting and fun. Plus, it’s a way to help out the local economy and make new friends with the people who grow our food.

The local farmers are great resources in cooking as well. When you come across an interesting vegetable or fruit, ask the farmer about it. Chances are, you’ll not only come away with great ingredients, but brand new recipes, too.

To find more information about the Lawrence market, go to www.lawrencefarmersmarket.com. There are more than 36,000 local markets across the country. If you want to find a farmer’s market near you, you can check out www.localharvest.org, which is a phenomenal resource of local producers and markets.

Happy local eating, everyone!