Lawrence sewage treatment land still in play

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The three primary issues discussed at the Jan. 7 Village of Lawrence board meeting focused on the vacant sewage treatment land, the possible creation of a bicycle lane and replacing the irrigation system at the village-opened and operated Lawrence Yacht & Country Club.

Roughly 3.83 acres of the 4-acre site on Rock Hall Road where the sewage treatment plant once was belongs to Lawrence. What to do with the land persists as a debate among the board of trustees.

Selling the land to a developer to build at least seven homes is an idea supported by Mayor Alex Edelman. Previously, more than a few other ideas — a hotel, nursing home and condominiums — have been considered.

In October, Deputy Mayor Michael Fragin put forth a motion to hire a company to conduct a feasibility study on what he called the “best, highest use for us,” concerning the property. In March, Fragin said that, “the seven-house plan is the right way to go,” and a month later defended the board’s approval of sending out a request for expressions of interest. The 45-day RFEI is yet to be sent out.

Through Trustee Uri Kaufman, the village has received a proposal from Chicago-based Market & Feasibility Advisors to conduct a study for $24,000 to learn the feasibility and economics of a multipurpose community center. The proposed center would have an indoor swimming pool (an idea that has been floated to be placed at the country club), and a gymnasium and that would accommodate basketball, lacrosse and volleyball.

Market & Feasibility Advisors, according to its website, provides in-depth data, comprehensive analysis and sustainable strategies for public, private and nonprofit clients. The work is done in collaboration with firms that perform architecture, city and regional planning, civil engineering, education and branding, exhibit design, fundraising, landscape architecture, legal services, museum planning, survey research, theater design and transportation.

Kaufman said the company is very well known for municipal swimming pools. Edelman said that the village should get other proposals as the quoted cost “seems rather high.” “We need three estimates and that is what is done with everyone that gets hired,” Edelman said, adding he won’t spend the money without seeing other estimates. The issue will be addressed again at the Feb. 14 meeting.

Creating a bicycle lane

Trustee Daniel Goldstein introduced the idea of creating a bicycle lane with a split-road concept at Rock Hall Road and Causeway down Kendridge Road. Issues arose around whether there was enough space for bicyclists traveling in opposite directions if its only one lane. Village officials decided to consult an external engineer.

Replacing the irrigation system

Two bids and bad experiences are the hurdles to get the country club’s irrigation system replaced. Goldstein said he was not in favor of the recommended bidder — Automatic Irrigation — that bid $26,750, because of a past bad experience with the owner who never responded to phone calls and the office staff offered no assistance.

Goldstein recommended going with Green Turf Irrigation that bid $23,000 and was “very helpful” in offering information. There was also an issue with Green Turf. The trustees decided to call both companies again to discuss the problems.