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Is there a shortage of Gym space? Not exactly. Lawrence has a real population of 65,000-68,000 which excludes KU students.
Wouldn't a neighborhood rec center help?
How can Lawrence taxpayers get the best bang for our 1994 sales tax bucks and improve the quality of life for families throughout the entire community?
Construct a NW neighborhood rec center with 2-3 gyms and a walking/jogging track for public exercise probably for about $10 million. On city owned property. Now we have achieved shoring up the alleged lack of court space.
There are a lot of basketball courts in Lawrence. Some public school buildings that are not being used would certainly help.
“I have done a lot of feasibility studies on that stuff,” Beckner said. “You have to be real serious to make it work. Every event out there is contested at this point, and by several groups. And there is not a lot of money in it to begin with. You have to have the hotel and restaurant space to make it work.”
Put it to a vote--
No more spending by the city until they stop running off business. And I mean businesses that aren't asking for tax abatements. Whole Foods, Lowe's, come on fellow readers, chime in. Otherwise there is no potential of broadening the tax base while we are increasing the burden on the current taxpayers.
When did the city run off Whole Foods?
thanks for reminding me about the Lowe's fiasco. I am a resident of the very neighborhood the commission worried would be devalued by the presence of a huge Lowe's warehouse style store......so instead I got a Taco Bell, Burger King and Smashburger/Biggs Burger. Thanks for keeping my neighborhood so "classy".
Final answer: Let KU do their own thing, go back to the $15 million rec center and put a new outdoor pool next to it.
Let YOUR commissioners know!
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Aron E. Cromwell
Funny how it's NEVER an option to lower sales taxes when bonds are paid off and sales taxes become available!!!
A: Not as currently planned. The city has money in a sales tax fund that is becoming available, in part, because the city is paying off the bonds for the Eagle Bend Golf Course and the Community Health Building.
But there are always caveats. If the economy tanks and sales tax collections go down, the city would have to raise taxes to pay for the recreation center debt. Plus, the city could use this newly available sales tax money to pay for other city projects, which otherwise may require a tax increase in the future.
32 tournaments and outside events a year is quite a lot! How many tournaments and outside events do we currently attract? Do outside events include the current LPRD events - basketball, soccer, etc.?
And every event means the taxpayers will not have access to the facility for their own use just as the pool is closed to the public during events. I'd guess most tournaments would be scheduled for weekends, so the public that paid for the facility would not be able to use it 32 weekends per year.
The flip side to that argument is that with all the outside dollars coming into this community as a result of those tournaments, the economic impact to Lawrence taxpayers would be lessened or even diminished to less than zero. In the mean time, nearby hotels will see an increase in guests, nearby restaurants will see a similar increase, nearby retail stores the same, each contributing more to the city in sales taxes and providing more jobs to Lawrence residents. Or if none of that happens, then we have a great big rec. center for all residents to enjoy.
The city previously has made a commitment that it will maintain at least one gym for general public use even during large tournments that may be hosted at the recreation center. Thanks, Chad.
It takes just a few minutes to get to any number of hotels or restaurants or retail stores. I guess it depends if they're in the mood for Chinese or Mexican.
One way or the other, the "32 tournaments" part doesn't add up. I don't think it's anywhere close to reasonable... that's getting something like half the tournament traffic of the entire KC metro area to decide to drive an hour out of their way to Lawrence.
On the other side of the coin, if there really were 32 tournaments a year, that means that the general taxpaying public would be excluded from the facility (or at least secondary users) on the majority of weekends of the year. Which doesn't exactly inspire my support either.
It seems unlikely that restaurants et. al. are going to hire more employees to cover this speculative tourney business that occurs sporadically throughout the year. Some workers may pick up a few extra hours on those weekends.
deec, you seem to be willing to maximize the negative effect, "taxpayers will not have access to the facility for their own use ... ", but then minimize the positive, "some workers may pick up a few extra hours on those weekends".
If it's a lot of the time taxpayers won't be able to use the facility, then it's going to be a lot of extra hours in hotels, restaurants, retail, etc., with lots of extra income to the city by way of extra taxes. If however, it's just a few extra hours for a few extra workers on a few weekends, then there will be plenty of opportunity for taxpayers to enjoy the use of a brand new facility. It's not like a chinese restaurant where you pick one from column A and pick another from column B.
And you seem willing to do the same, only on the opposite side. This scam is bad for the community no matter how it is prettied up. Lots of tournaments, which are highly unlikely, won't result in lots of jobs. If the wildest imaginations of the city come true, the public will have very limited access to the facilities on most weekends. Even if some new part-time fast food jobs are created, they will not pay enough to compensate for the inevitable higher taxes that will be needed to fund the operating expenses that will not be covered by the existing sales tax.
You obviously don't have kids or kids that play competitive sports. Every weekend there are multiple tournaments for every age group and every experience level.
Dru Fritzel construction or dfc who built the oread still seem to have liens filed against them.
What happened to bliss foundation. If someone is injured on bliss facilities is bill liable? If someone drowns in the city storm water pond is bliss liable? What will be rcp llc liability.will endowment own the storm-water ponds. Why is the city responsible for 1 million dollars in architect fees when this wasn't the city idea? Will bliss be providing bliss police force to manage the facilities?
If the information is accurate that Mr. Fritzel is part owner of a development company that is currently $3.4 million behind in taxes it owes Junction City and Riley County, KS, this means his attempt to develop another property in Lawrence for the purpose of acquiring money through lease agreements constitutes a Ponzi scheme.
You gotta pay people who you owe money to. Pay them on time. Otherwise capitalism goes face-first into the mud.
Here's an idea: If Lawrence really wants a brand-spanking new rec center then why doesn't the city renovate the rec center at Holcom? It's centrally located, the city already owns the land, it's a bigger piece of land (31 acres as opposed to 26) and I think more people would go for it. In fact, if Bill Self's Assists Foundation still wants to donate $1 million for that maybe the city would even agree to name the park Holcom-Self Park.
As for KU, if they want their own rec center, I'm pretty sure they own several square miles of land west of Iowa Street and can obtain their own money from KU Athletics and private donors and alumni.
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Weren't there once plans for the new rec center to have an ice arena? I'm pretty sure I once read about that...
Yes, and then the idea went away. Pity. I thought the ice arena idea was brilliant.
I am all for this to be put to a public vote. The way it stands now seems to scare me for some reason. I get the idea we would all be better off if the city not walk, but run away from this iffy deal. I just feel each taxpayer should get a jar of vasoline should this go through as planned. I agree with the poster above who said let KU do their own thing with Fritzel. Just my thoughts, & yes I will sign the petition.
Water!! Has there been an evaluation of how much water these facilities will use and how that will be supplied with the existing water use infrastructure?? I have not seen/heard any discussion about water. Not surprised given the ignorant CC we have.
This whole project is not even about benefits to the taxpayers of Lawrence. It is about the good ole boys and the "poor" people driving their kids to other cities. Guess what, they will still have to! Let KU do whatever they want, the current plan has nothing in it I need to drive to. It is being forced on us. Reminds me of the Riverfront Mall......
oneeye , my question is the actual amount (mgd) of water that will be required and does our existing water supply source have the capacity to meet the additional water demand required. Will there be another $$$$$ cost down the road to increase the supply side?
"It also will have an unpaved area that can accommodate about 700 vehicles for overflow parking."
Remind me again why it is illegal to park on an unimproved surface in the city of Lawrence.
Chad and LJW, thank you for this Q&A. Great idea and excellent coverage of this community issue. Local newspapers with local journalists are critical to democracy.
Thank you Chad Lawhorn for your excellent reporting about this proposed project.
I think they should scrap it. It is too mired in questionable activity from the get-go.
The birth of this fiasco began about here at least this is about when the public at large got wind of it. This is a high dollar PLAY concept make no bones about it. Does it ever stop?
PLAY Committee Members
Kelly Barth, Mark Buhler, Dave Corliss, Fred DeVictor, Rick Gammill, Mike Grosdidier, Sue Hack, Paige Hofer, Bonnie Lowe, Pam Madl, Julie Manning, Scott Morgan(USD 497), Wayne Osness, Linda Robinson(USD 497), Bob Sanner, Ernie Shaw, Doug Stremel and Doug Vance.
The Mission Statement of PLAY
Background and Process
The first step in the needs assessment was to collect data from a variety of sources. Three methods were developed to collect data for this study. The design team has completed the following:
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