Meeting started 7:02pm
6 residents in attendance
Ted starts with the Palestinian protestors that are against ICL and their operations at their North Lawrence plant.
Jason Miller, a representative from ICL, starts presenting about the issues with the protests against ICL as a whole. Jason talks about all the overseas unrest and how they have been a community staple for years. Early January there have been false claims spreading around in concerns to ICL and their operations at the plant. Some baseless claims are that ICL produces white phosphorous for the war within Israel. ICL does not produce phosphorous but takes the it to produce the products like toothpaste, soda, and other products. The protestors claim that ICL is a major violator of EPA guidelines which is also not true. These protestors that make these baseless claims have been circulating around North Lawrence spreading their propaganda. The protestors have been spreading an out of compliance notice from the EPA that was sent in error in July. This was corrected, the protestors are still touting the out of date violation. ICL has had an excellent record in their environmental and EPA compliance. ICL has staffed 24/7 security for their employees peace of mind due to these current political events.
Woodlawn is having their 100th anniversary and will be having a block party on May 28th. The block party will be located near 5th Street and Walnut Street. Ballard Center will be in conjunction with this block party. Ballard has donated $5,000 for family donations for families struggling to make ends meet. So far, the Christmas fund for needy families in North Lawrence has a balance of $200 for 2024. Woodlawn gifted a thank you card to the North Lawrence Improvement Association for the work that is done to support the families in North Lawrence and Woodlawn.
Ted moves on to the transient camp issue. All camps on the levee besides Camp New Beginnings behind Johnny’s Tavern are gone. The city actively moved to have the camps shut down and not have them cause issues around North Lawrence by shuttering any reported camps. A resident reported moving to assisted living and had noticed transients had moved into his vacant house. Natalia is reporting a camp site along the Maple Grove property and vandalism has occurred because of the transient property along Maple Grove. A dispute arose and Ted referred the resident to the city manager’s phone number.
Ted moves on to the solar project plan. Approval is still pending for this project. There has been no research on the storm water issues that these solar panel fields will cause. The solar panel project touted digging deeper ditches and having a different breed of grass to help with the runoff. This is not efficient storm water resolution. The solar panel project needs a storm water distribution system. Also, the solar panel project will take away farmland that can be used to create more produce and crops for the area. After being done with the land if the solar project chooses to follow their own timeline, there will be an issue with the long term corrosion of the metals and wiring that will be left once the project is potentially terminated. This does not bode well for future production and farming of these lands. The project area is 105 acres of land that will be taken from North Lawrence.
Scott Thellman discusses the transition of his ownership of the Pine Garden Center and Market in North Lawrence. He discusses future plans with additions to serving produce, eggs, and other agricultural items.
With the solar project, the final word will happen on April 13th on a Saturday at the Douglas County Courthouse. March 27th will host a work session for the solar project at the same location, no public comment.
Ted moves on to the pedestrian bridge that is proposed from the Downtown Lawrence to North Lawrence. It was initially set for the east end of the neighborhood to connect at the Marriot parking lot. They have now proposed the west side of the Bowersock Damn which will cause plenty of issues and is a less prudent proposal for the project. They have applied for grant money to work this project and build the west side proposal. The proposal will be discussed at the next city commissioner’s meeting.
Camp New Beginnings is supposed to be closed by the end of this month, which is a repeat of previous potential closures. Pallet Village has yet to open.