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Archive for Tuesday, September 4, 1990

GROUP RENEWS BID FOR GOLF COURSE

September 4, 1990

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A committee advocating construction of a municipal golf course in Lawrence is regrouping for another round of lobbying the Lawrence City Commission.

It's been 11 months since the commission voted against a proposal to build an 18-hole municipal course near Clinton Lake. But interest in a city-operated course continues to grow and is giving the Lawrence Municipal Golf Course Committee reason to think it can attain its goal, Stan Harris, the group's president, said.

"We are gaining interest from people almost every day," Harris said. "There's . . . a lot of interest in the community for a municipal golf course."

The committee is holding a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Eagles Lodge, 1803 W. Sixth, for people interested in supporting a municipal golf course.

In 1987 the committee presented the city a 2,800-signature petition backing a municipal golf course. The city contracted for a feasibility study and afterward contracted with a Denver company to do preliminary design for a course near Clinton Lake.

FIRST GOLF Corp., Denver, had proposed a $2.9 million lease-purchase package that would pay for design, construction and equipment for an 18-hole layout on land near Clinton Lake controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under the plan, the city would operate the course and pay for it over a 20-year period with revenues generated from play and related golf sales.

In October 1989, however, the commission voted 3-2 against the proposal. Those voting against the proposal were Mayor Shirley Martin-Smith and Commissioners David Penny and Bob Walters.

In addition, the commission voted to oppose any plans for building a municipal golf course. Among the reasons cited for their opposition to a municipal course was that such a course would be in competition with the existing Alvamar public golf course facilities in Lawrence.

Harris said he is convinced that a municipal course wouldn't be competition for Alvamar, which draws many of its golfers from Johnson County. He also said he is convinced that a municipal course can be built that will eventually pay for itself without costing taxpayers.

IN ADDITION to convincing commissioners of the need and feasibility of a municipal golf course, he said that educating the public about the economics of a municipal golf course will be a prime consideration for his group.

He conceded that changing the minds of at least one of the commissioners might be difficult, but he said the group might try to push the municipal golf course as an issue in the spring 1991 city election.

"We'd like to have this put to bed by (the next city election)," Harris said. "But being realistic, I don't think we'll be able to do anything until after the election."

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