We have really big imaginations so, when we see the wide open potential for Lawrence's city center, our minds go wild. The pictures here are all from the area between 56th and 59th streets between Lee Rd. and Post Rd. There is such a unique opportunity here to make something really special out of this former military base land. As you can see, the old commissary has been torn down and cleared away. There are artist's renderings of the master plan for the area on the Fortified Living website. It looks like they intend to keep some open areas amongst the shops and living spaces. That is a good thing and we'd like to see those spaces utilized a lot. We love New York City and one of the things that makes NYC so great is that so much is available outside. There are tons of street vendors and they are not just selling food. It really adds to the vibrancy of a place to see a bounty of goodies without having to go into a store. So, aside from the stores that will be occupying spaces (and we really hope that at least some of them are unique and not just the same old same old chain stores) we hope that vendors are welcomed- at least on the weekends. It could be like a farmers' market only for non-food items (although we'd love a traditional farmers' market too). What a great place for artists to be able to regularly bring their creations without having to wait for an art fair to find customers. Items could range from a pretty painting to hang on your wall to functional art like clothes and jewelry.
We also think that the cute little structure pictured here would make a great magazine/newspaper stand. What could be better on an Autumn day than picking up an InStyle magazine or a New York Times newspaper, a strong coffee, and finding a spot outside on a bench to savor it all?
Obviously, we hope that any restaurants that come here will be unique. If a bunch of chains come in, what will motivate people who live outside the area to visit? Surely, there must be some local culinary school graduates anxious to open their own place. They could even play with the military theme (call a fine dining restaurant Furlough, call one Commissary using a cafeteria style set-up but with innovative American cuisine). And, of course, we always hope for lots of ethnic eateries. Also, since we are dreaming big, maybe one of our beloved teahouses (International Tea and Coffee or Tea's Me) could open a location here. Not only could they bring great beverages but they could bring performers.
While we are talking about performers, let's not forget about including the performing arts too. Let's use some of the outdoor space for them. Maybe some of our great theatres would like their cast to have a place to promote their current productions by performing a scene or two. Maybe there could be full scale plays performed. The Indianapolis area seems to have Shakespeare in the Park covered, how about some Ibsen, Albee, or Tennessee Williams? How about local musicians rotating through? Maybe after work every summer Friday at 6PM a musical block party takes place.
It's an exciting time for this area so our enthusiasm takes ahold of us. We'll see how reality matches up with our imaginations.