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Archive for Thursday, August 28, 1997

PARK FUNDING WOULD BENEFIT CLINTON LAKE

August 28, 1997

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Clinton Lake could get close to $1 million in state park funds, says a lake official.

The 22-year-old state park at Clinton Lake could get a $920,000 facelift under Gov. Bill Graves' plan to improve state parks, a lake official said Wednesday.

"It's phenomenal that we would even entertain that," said Jerry Schecher, park manager. "To get that large of an appropriation in addition to our regular funds for maintenance and salaries is kind of staggering."

Graves' press secretary has said no final figure has been settled on. But the Republican governor is expected to recommend to the Kansas Legislature next year the state spend as much as $10 million to spruce up the state's 24 parks.

Under such a proposal, the 1,500-acre state park on the northern bank of Clinton Lake would see improvements in campground showers and restrooms. And its facilities would become more accessible to people with physical handicaps, Schecher said.

Steve Williams, secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, has recommended $10 million be spent on repairs, Schecher said.

That amount was the result of a study done in 1995, when the governor appointed a 13-member task force to determine park needs. The task force recommended the Legislature approve a $10 million bond issue to pay for the repairs, but the Legislature rejected that plan.

Rather than make another bond request, Graves is expected to ask for a $10 million appropriation from the state's general fund for the repairs.

Wildlife and Parks has an annual operation and maintenance budget of $28 million. Of that, the Parks Division operates with $6 million -- $3 million derived from park fees and $3 million from the state's general fund.

Clinton Lake State Park needs about $200,000 for various building repairs, Schecher said.

"We've got some shower buildings that are in pretty rough shape," he said, adding that in some cases it would be cheaper to replace rather than repair them.

Other areas of the park served now by gravel roads and gravel parking lots would be upgraded to pavement under the plan. And several boat docks, restrooms, shelters and campsites would be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"If we would manage to get $920,000, we could really correct some deficiencies here," Schecher said. "Basically we're just talking about taking care of what we have now and bringing it up to standards."

The park, which has 410 campsites in two campgrounds, gets about 500,000 visitors each year.

"We're about No. 3 in visitation in the state," Schecher said.

Perry Lake reportedly would get about $300,000 in improvements under the plan.

Other state parks in the area are at Hillsdale Lake in Miami County and at Pomona Lake in Osage County.

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