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Archive for Wednesday, November 17, 1999

CORPS PULLS PERRY LAKE FROM PROGRAM

November 17, 1999

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has stopped seeking development proposals at Perry Lake.

A proposed $22 million lodge and convention center at Clinton State Park has prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pull federal land at Perry Lake off a list of sites available for development through a national incentive program.

Perry Lake was one of a handful of lakes across the nation targeted by the Corps in its Recreation Partnership Initiative (RPI). The program, similar to a state law that sought development at half-a-dozen lakes in Kansas, didn't attract any developers at Perry Lake, said Mike Carey, natural resources management specialist with the Corps at the agency's Kansas City, Mo., office.

Corps officials withdrew Perry Lake from the list last week, and announced the decision this week. Carey said the decision is directly related to the Clinton Lake development, and not the apparent disinterest among potential investors at two Perry Lake sites outlined by consultants.

"The (RPI) process at Perry was not that far along, so I don't think that can give you an accurate assessment of whether there was an interest" in building recreation facilities at Perry Lake, Carey said.

"When we found out the state had made an offer for a large resort at Clinton (Lake), we took ours off the table," he said. "We had a gentlemen's agreement with the state that we would work cooperatively together."

The Corps program offers public land for private development, including golf courses, marinas, lodges, conference centers and campgrounds.

Carey said the Corps chose not to compete with the state's initiative. State officials chose CB Richard Ellis, a development company from Kansas City, Mo., to develop plans for a 150-room hotel with a restaurant and bar on the north shore of Clinton Lake. The final plans have yet to be approved by the Legislature, but the company hopes to open the resort by the summer of 2001.

According to CB Richard Ellis representatives in late August, when the development was announced, the company chose Clinton Lake over Perry Lake because of its proximity to Lawrence, Kansas City and Topeka, and the closeness of the interstate and other major roads.

Carey said the decision won't preclude companies from submitting proposals for developments at Perry Lake, but they won't be part of the national incentive program through the RPI.

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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