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Archive for Sunday, June 29, 2003

Trio looks for ways to increase visitors to lake

June 29, 2003

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— Visitors to Clinton Lake will be seeing more concerts, fishing tournaments and other special events in the future if private and public interests at the lake have their way.

Clinton Lake Marina owner Megan Hiebert, for one, wants to increase the number of fishing tournaments at the lake.

A crappie tournament the marina sponsored last weekend drew 40 participants. Now, Hiebert is in negotiations with an outdoor and sporting goods store to provide sponsorship to the event. She thinks it could grow to more than 400 participants in a matter of two to three years.

"It would be great for the economy because a lot of those guys would be here all week because they want to win the big bucks," Hiebert said. "Lots of them would stay in town in hotels and spend their money."

A concert with the Kelley Hunt Band last weekend at the marina drew 200 people. Now plans are in the works for a jazz festival in September at Clinton Lake State Park, said Jerry Schecher, park manager.

Because Clinton Lake is well positioned near Lawrence, Topeka and the Kansas City metro area, the future for special events at the lake is good, he said.

Hiebert has plans in August for organizing a swap meet where people can buy, sell and trade marine products.

Both Hiebert and Mark Davis, owner/manager of the Clinton Cove Mini-Mart, said they thought there was potential to increase lake business even more. What's needed, they said, are additional partnerships with businesses and organizations in Lawrence.

Davis, for instance, said he would like city officials to consider holding the community fireworks display at the lake.

That increased visitors to the lake help Hiebert's and Davis' businesses is a given, but Schecher said the benefits of a busy lake didn't stop with them.

"I think the lake can help the area's economy a lot," Schecher said. "I think it already does if you look at the number of people who purchase fuel locally and all the perishable items they need to stay a longer weekend. I think it helps a lot."

Hiebert noted one reason area businesses ought to get excited about the lake: It's one of the few ways Lawrence has of attracting money from Johnson County residents. Of the 298 slips the marina has, about 70 percent of them are rented by Johnson County residents, she said.

"We all spend a lot of money in Johnson County," Hiebert said. "Maybe this is a way to get some of those dollars back over here."

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