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Archive for Sunday, May 19, 2002

Kansas Sports Hall of Fame leaving Abilene

May 19, 2002

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— The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame will leave Abilene and look for a new location that can draw more visitors.

The hall's board of trustees voted Friday to begin accepting proposals from Kansas communities that want the sports museum and its display of more than 200 artifacts many of them related to basketball.

Bids will be accepted through July 1, and the hall will remain open in Abilene through July 31, said Ted Hayes, the executive director of the sports museum.

The Legislature created the sports museum in 1961 as part of the Kansas Centennial Celebration, but provided no permanent funding for it. After stints in Topeka and Lawrence, the hall moved to Abilene 11 years ago.

Salina and Wichita already have shown interest in the hall, Hayes said.

"There is a need to put the Hall of Fame in a place where it can prosper without relying so much on state funding," Hayes said. "The idea and intent would be that we would be able to move fairly quickly into a temporary location at a city that would ultimately provide a permanent facility for it."

Friday's announcement came two days after the House defeated a measure that would have funded the hall.

Under the bill, $1 would be added once each season to ticket prices for one football game, one men's basketball game and one women's basketball game at state universities, community colleges and Washburn University.

The proposal also would add a 50-cent surcharge on high school championship football, volleyball and basketball games.

House and Senate negotiators on Thursday discussed providing a one-time loan of $100,000 to the hall through a fund in the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing. But no action was taken on the proposal.

"It's very disappointing (the Legislature) doesn't have any more interest than what has been indicated by its action, or any more desire to help us and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame," Hayes said.

Hayes said the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, scheduled for June 8 in Abilene, have been postponed until next year.

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