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Lawrence officials to consider river recreation area concept

November 17, 2018

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials will consider whether to move forward with a new plaza and recreation area concept along the portion of the Kansas River that borders downtown.

The city has budgeted $2 million this year to repair the Kansas River dam and address riverbank erosion south of the dam, the Lawrence Journal-World reported . The city could stabilize the riverbank by building a terraced stone plaza instead of rebuilding the existing retaining wall.

The plaza would create river entry points and extend slightly into the river, which would facilitate pools and whitewater for kayaking and other water activities.

City staff need to make the river area repairs, but are open to considering the recreational concept.

Brandon McGuire, assistant to the city manager, said city officials are asking potential contractors for the most economical way to address both the dam and riverbank stabilization projects, while possibly integrating the recreational concept.

“If there’s a possibility that we could have an opportunity to do something that provides a greater value to the community than a straight maintenance project, then we want to be able to provide that option,” McGuire said. “But then there’d be a lot of work I think that needs to go into next steps and actually designing and spec’ing out that type of a facility, and none of that has happened yet.”

City staff will seek guidance from city commissioners on whether to proceed with the recreational idea and potential design.

Environmental organization Friends of the Kaw is supportive of the concept, which members said would create better access to the river for the public.

“Nobody ever sits out there, and it just feels like there is an opportunity for people to be connected back to the river,” said Dawn Buehler, a riverkeeper with the group. “It’s an idea that we hope that Lawrence will see the value in.”

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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