Archive for Tuesday, January 28, 1992

GOLF SHOWDOWN

January 28, 1992

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Lawrence City Commissioner Bob Schumm and golf course developer Jeff Gazaway may lock horns at tonight's commission meeting over plans for developing a public golf course east of Lawrence.

At tonight's city commission meeting, Gazaway will present one in a series of progress reports that the commission has requested on a golf course proposed near Gazaway's driving range on Kansas Highway 10. The site is three miles east of Lawrence.

Schumm said Monday that he also wants to see detailed plans for developing the course. Gazaway told the Journal-World Monday that such information is private and that he would not release it to the public.

"I think that's a totally unfair request, considering the point I'm at in the project," Gazaway said. "I think I'm holding up my part of the bargain."

IF GAZAWAY can't produce detailed plans for the course, the city should pursue plans for building a municipal golf course west of Lawrence near Clinton Lake, Schumm said.

The commission meeting gets under way at 6:35 p.m. today in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

Last fall, commissioners put off plans for creating a city-owned course in hopes that Gazaway could build his course, satisfying local need for affordable and accessible golf.

Schumm has championed the concept of a city-owned course, and he expressed doubts last fall that Gazaway could find investors for his project.

At Schumm's request, the commission set three dates in 1992 for Gazaway to give progress reports to the commission.

FOR TONIGHT'S report, commissioners asked only to see a survey of the course and "preliminary plans" for development.

Gazaway has submitted to the city a sketch of the proposed 6,500-yard course drawn over a survey of the land.

In a story in Friday's Journal-World, Gazaway said he was confident he could begin work on the course this year and perhaps finish in fall 1993.

Schumm said Monday that if Gazaway were to follow that timetable, the developer should have detailed development plans including a timeline for development, a cost analysis and a return-on-investment analysis.

"What I'm suggesting is that if he's that far along, this is the stuff he will probably have," Schumm said. "Otherwise, he's just blowing smoke."

SCHUMM SAID he also would ask Gazaway to produce a topographical map of the area, proof he owns the land and the appropriate permits for beginning work on the course.

"If it doesn't look like he has these things, I think the city should go ahead and parallel plan a municipal course in the event that he's not successful," Schumm said.

Gazaway says he has an option on most of the land he has designated for the course and a verbal agreement for a smaller chunk. He will apply next month with the county for a conditional use permit for the course, he says. He also said he had talked with several potential investors.

But Gazaway maintains that his specific plans for development and financial information are off-limits.

"I DON'T plan to make those public," he said. "Those things are very private."

Dave Corliss, city management analyst, said the entire commission must decide whether Gazaway's progress meets its expectations.

"It's also important to remember that he's (Gazaway) doing this of his own compulsion," Corliss said. "He doesn't have to work with the commission, but so far he's been pretty nice about it."

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