Archive for Saturday, June 17, 2006

Report forecasts boomer demand for homes, resort at Clinton Lake

June 17, 2006


— A 150-room hotel, resort spa and 18-hole golf course at Clinton Lake, along with private lakeshore homes and recreation facilities, make good money sense, according to a state report.

"This study can be used as a development tool for these communities and others," said Steve Kelly, deputy secretary of business development for the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The report, which looked at development potential at several Kansas lakes, was commissioned by several state agencies and done by an outside consulting firm for $100,000.

"We now have a more complete picture of lake development in Kansas," said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office.

Much of the impetus is based on the fact the large baby boom generation is moving toward retirement, and many of its members are searching for more recreation opportunities, second homes and places to retire, officials said.

"There is a demand for development," said Ray Hammarlund, director of community development and agricultural marketing for the Commerce Department.

Clinton and Perry potential

The study analyzed marketplace demands at eight lakes, including Clinton and Perry lakes near Lawrence.

Bernard Murray of Overland Park carries his fishing poles as he and his family prepare to leave Clinton Lake after a day of fishing. A new report says the lake west of Lawrence is prime for development.

Bernard Murray of Overland Park carries his fishing poles as he and his family prepare to leave Clinton Lake after a day of fishing. A new report says the lake west of Lawrence is prime for development.

It looked at proximity to population centers, highway access, competition with nearby cities, local attractions and residents' income levels.

At Clinton Lake, the study concluded that demand exists for a 150-room hotel with 18,000 square feet of meeting/ballroom space. It also said there was potential to build some primary residences, second homes, a resort spa, more marina slips and an 18-hole golf course.

Perry Lake could support homes, second homes and a 35-room spa.

Milford Lake, near Manhattan, was seen as having the greatest potential for residential home development - more than 300 houses - because of the expected expansion of nearby Fort Riley.

State officials said the study is simply a tool for local governments and is not meant to affect any current proposals.

"We believe that local communities will have to take the bull by the horns," Hammarlund said.

Federal lands

The biggest job would be to negotiate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the lakes and much of the property that was part of the study.

"You don't own the dirt, and so if you are going to move forward, the Army Corps of Engineers has to be a strategic partner in developing it," Hammarlund said.

In recent years, the corps has participated in several lease agreements in Oklahoma and Texas to allow development on federal property around lakes.

"Our standpoint is, we are willing to work with anybody to discuss what they want," said Marc Chester, the corps' operations project manager for the Kansas area.

He said more cities and towns are looking for development projects, and the corps is considering ways to more efficiently manage its property.

"We are looking at this as new opportunities," Chester said. "The old train of thought was 'No, it's federal ground, and we will do what we want.'"

But he cautioned that while the corps was willing to discuss expanded recreation, hotel and resort facilities, it was cool to the prospect of allowing private homes on federal land because that would eliminate access to public lands.

Little interest

Lawrence officials say little interest has been shown in developing around Clinton Lake since a proposed resort died in the planning stages in 2001.

"This issue has been discussed off and on over the years," said interim City Manager David Corliss. "Obviously, the concern of extending services would be who pays and what it would do to the state park.

"It's not that we're against it, we just haven't been asked to be for it," he said.

The new study was done by Basile Baumann Prost & Associates Inc., an economic analysis and real estate consulting firm based in Annapolis, Md. Officials said it was meant to complement a study done last year by the Water Office that looked at development potential.

The report can be downloaded at


Sigmund 11 years, 9 months ago

What? No plan to study housing, hotels, air boat rides, and frisbee golf around the Lawrence swamp?

lunacydetector 11 years, 9 months ago

another study that says growth is good? should we expect another letter from the city commissioners against developing clinton lake?

ksmattfish 11 years, 9 months ago

Isn't there already a failing 18 hole golf course at Clinton Lake? Turning public land over to the rich for use as their exclusive playground seems pretty repulsive to me.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

Yes it is true if you sell something like say a National Park, that a developer would be able to m ake money and that woud make money sense.

This is a State Park and a common resource. This state sells politicians sell every commonly held resource it can muster. Deer, the land in Manhattan next ro Rocky Ford fishing area. ALl to these damn developers who don't give one wit for what the people want.

These ares are common resource and their use and prohibitions have ALREADY BEEN DETERMINDED BY THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. What this is is the will of a developer, just like SFAAP, just like farmland!!

Developement is good, but just developing everygthing some one guy or group can make money is not democracy or free market in action examples of this:

1.) If a developer wants a property they go to the politicos and woo them until they get the property at a far below market level (that is how they make profit), if need be they will get the property seized ala eminent domain, either way the original owners (People of the state of Kansas, TOUGH, the developer wants to make profit, sorry about your recreational area and green space).

2.) In the case of a lake or water body the environmental regulations alone would be insurmountable. The effect would be huge AND it is a Primary contact recreational level ! under the UAA for the EPA CWA. SO they would have to bet a boatload of waveris (which KDHE would probably grant) and have to get water rightw (which KDOA would probably grant as Kansas Agencies have no backbone and are corrupt to the will of the local politicians.)

Point being, it is currently WAY more expensive to do this developement the right way. These yahoos at the Dept of Commerce (another Kansas Agency; corrupt of incompetent you make the call) did not obviously add on the cost of an EIA, a water impact and use statement (it is a shared water source, flood control, and a recreational area, how are they going to develop this and they allow public access to continue REMEMBER THIS WAS BUILT WITH PUBLIC FUNDS....IT SHOULD NEVER BE SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER!!!

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

For those challanged, the public built it and it cannot and should not be taken away from the public to benefit a few homeowners, a developer and a politician, do not exceed the benefit of the people of the State of Kansas AND the Federal impacts and cannot be allowed.

IF the KDoC, the Developer, and all those that want a "Lakeside resort and housing developement"...and it is so viable...then go build the Lake and do it..... I am all behind that. Yes it is a economically feasible to have the resort and everything ...if someone else pays for the lake. DUH!! You want it, go build it, and if you are right, they will come, but that is the problem, these people are tight a%%$and don't want to spend the money to build the lake, they want to take ours!

But do not take any of the public lakes, this will cause a lot of problems and met with feirce resistance. We could tie you up in environmental rules and water use rules for oh 200 years, so just forget this nonsense.


IF these people are so brilliant then thay can make it worl elsewhere, but this deal is dependant upon stealing a publiclly held lake.

NO. Why would anyone even be considering it?

lawrencechick 11 years, 9 months ago

Boomers can demand all the second homes they want somewhere else. Clinton Lake is beautiful, leave it alone!

Richard Heckler 11 years, 9 months ago

I say NO to the project. The demand is all on paper. The "boomer demand" is the LJW world interpretation. Without an economic impact study and an environmental impact statement nothing should be done.

This would require a constant stream of traffic to make good dollars and sense. Mr. Simons is still looking for that convention center that remain vacant most of the time.

Why would another golf course do any better than Eagle Bend? Would it be a week end golf course? Would it meet projected revenues levels that taxpayers could depend on? Golfers in the area have just spent big time bucks redesigning/rebuilding the Lawrence Country Club course.

New housing and a golf course in the area will mean herbicide/pesticide run off in to Clinton Lake.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

"The report, which looked at development potential at several Kansas lakes, was commissioned by several state agencies and done by an outside consulting firm for $100,000."

WHY oh WHY do these State Agencies ALWAYS hire an OUT of State COnsultant when they want a study done? and want a study done that supports the outcome they want?

""We now have a more complete picture of lake development in Kansas," said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office."

See the Water Office is into it, limiting irrigation in Western KS selling lakes in the east

" The new study was done by Basile Baumann Prost & Associates Inc., an economic analysis and real estate consulting firm based in Annapolis, Md. "

HMMMM a Real Estate Firm found that there would be economic gain in this venture? Well of course they would!! DUH again! IF you had a Hunting and Fishing Firm they would probably say the hotel is a great idea but house lots are not a good idea as it would support their bested intrests, and if you asked a Greeniac Environmental firm all use would be bad and we need to blow up the dam and let "pristine condition" re-establish.

THis is a biased study, didn't the Dept. Of Commerce figure that one out?? What a bunch of dolts, they are almost as bad as KDHE. What are they thinking.

Again, the Corps or Engineers already said NO to the houses so quit harping on that one.

I got a GREAT IDEA, how about an exhaustive study of KANSANS in the form of a referendum on the ballot! how about that. This is a greasy backroom deal done by a developer trying to abscond state and federal property for their own benefit. Why they think they have a right to it mystifys me. This is about also our Kansas Agencies NOT protecting the citizens (again) but cowtowing to the rich and powerful individuals who want it their way.

You guys that work for us need to grow a backbone and learn some ethics, or find work elsewhere.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 9 months ago

Why is it that someone has to develop every wide open space they find? It happens in my county too. You have a pretty piece of land and before you know someone has stuck a bunch of cheap made ugly expensive houses on it. Or a strip mall. Sometimes I don't think they'll stop until every empty space in eastern Kansas is filled up with some kind of crap

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

If we build these developement and they flood sometime in the future, can we also bail the owner out and pay for all the damages too, PLEASE!!

Have we not learned anything about developing in risk areas? These are flood control lakes, perry floods every now and then. If the Corps had to hold water and damage developments on the edge of the Lake to spare down stream damages, wwho has to pay for a poor decision to build? Or do we save the rich folks house and damn all those poor folks downstream. See how this complicates the issues?? This is exactly you don't build in this area, it is for flood control and secondary for recreation....NOT DEVELOPMENT!

I am sure that the "Gee Whiz Real Estate Company form Yahoo, Elsewhere" took all of that in consideration. IF Katrina taught us anything, it taught us this, that it is more expensive to pick up the pieces than it is to just avoid the risk anyway.

The cost of repairing high end homes and a hotel on a Kansas Lake would be more expensive to the Kansas Taxpayer than ANY property taxes and economic gains that would be received from such limited development.

Why is this even being considered? Because a well connected developer wants it and has wispered into the ears of some politicians. That is the only reason. It is the only thing that does make sense with this proposal.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

Today, I'm joining the hippies: This is bad. No, no, no.

Kaw Pickinton 11 years, 9 months ago

BUT IT"S A MAN MADE LAKE! I saw we pave it!

Kaw Pickinton 11 years, 9 months ago

Do we still get to hunt deer and turkey on the golf course and the yards of the "private lakeshore homes"?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

While we are at it why not import a bunch of illegals to build it and that will also help make great economical sense and try to displace as many Kansas workers as we possibly can.

Money is King!

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

The Developer's whine:

"We can't make enough money if we actually have to produce something!"

"We can't make any money if we don't employ illegals!"

"We can't make any money if we follow the Environmental and safety laws!'

"We can't make any money if we have to clean an entire site up to environmental standards!"

"We can't make any money if we have to actually PAY for the property, that's what eminent domain is for!"

Developers are somewhat below pond sucm but still above than the Kansas Civil Servants at KDOL, KDHE, KWO, and KDOC who can't see the proverbial forest for the tree!!

Redneckgal 11 years, 9 months ago

Old enough..I don't know what being a hippie has to do with it. I'm certainly no hippie but if I see one more old farmstead ruined in the name of economic development I'm gonna scream. The backbone of Kansas is wide open spaces and agriculture not strip malls,golf courses, cookie cutter houses and $6.00 an hour factories. We would do well to remember it. Me and my siblings each inherited 80 acres from my grandparents and rarely does a month go by that we are not pestered be some snotty realtor about selling it. Fortunantly (since the land adjoins each other) we all stand in agreement on will be a cold day in h*ll before we sell any of it.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

"The feral pigs won't be happy about this."

Funny. Do they have a lobby?

Watch out for the Feral Pig Insurgency.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely correct: this has nothing to do with being a hippie. This whole idea stinks of corruption, greed and "who cares about the common man?" The lake is "our" lake. As soon as they build that stuff, it's "their" lake. Besides, who really thinks they are going to fill that 150 room place up?

Fans of the Wak Fest: your festival will be relocated as soon as this thing goes up. Do you think the Escalade crowd has any intention of listening to the White Stripes at 2:00 a.m.?

admills 11 years, 9 months ago

Hold on... so the city complains about spending lots of $$ on a project that will service everyone (aka: library) regardless of income. Now a report comes out that we can spend lots of $$ on a resort and homes that only about 2% of us can afford, built at a lake for flood control- paid for by public funds. I'm confused. How does a high-rent hotel and golf course (never mind Eagle Bend) benefit the community? Could someone help us to understand this logic?

Godot 11 years, 9 months ago

Been to Lake of the Ozarks lately? That little hillbilly place has been transformed into quite a resort destination. There are plenty of jobs, and the economy is booming.

Not that I would want Lawrence to be turned into that, but the resorts have helped the economy in that area of Missouri.

usaschools 11 years, 9 months ago

So we take land from the public sector and give it to the rich to own? I don't like the handing over of public lands to the private sector. This is just my personal feeling, but I don't like it when what was once public becomes private. Next they would want to ban the Wakarusa festival, and all other music fests at the lake, because it would distrurb the wealthy who live there.

glockenspiel 11 years, 9 months ago

Nothing like ruining another park and fishing area because a bunch of city slickers want to live in the country and have a lakehouse... slash and burn...who gives a %$#& about maintaining wildwild areas and preserving places for people to enjoy it?

Just wait until you want to throw a pole in the water at your favorite fishing spot, only to find its private property.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 9 months ago

Great photo attached to this story--a family spending time together, enjoying themselves and each other's company. Good pic, LJW!!

Redzilla 11 years, 9 months ago

Look no further than Florida for a hard lesson in the costs of developing every bit of attractive waterfront there is. For a place with abundant beaches and lakes, it's getting pretty hard down here to get away from strip malls, waterfront developments, high dollar golf courses, and second (or third or fourth) homes for rich people. Kansas better fight for its middle and lower class playgrounds tooth and nail.

Kookamooka 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm only FOR this if it is done on a small, community scale. If it's a big ass resort/putty palace style, NO WAY! If it's an ecologically friendly,rustic log lodge with cabins and done with warmth and style AND includes space for wedding receptions, family reunions, AND and includes an exceptionally friendly restaurant like Strouds. A welcoming place where all sorts of people could feel comfortable , NOT some Pachamama's snob house...then...OK. Let's see the blueprint.

Add that to the Riverfront Library proposal where you could relax on the deck in an adirondak chair and a lemonade and read your book, and watch the eagles... I think Lawrence would be a pretty kick ass city!

DaREEKKU 11 years, 9 months ago

Great, just what we need, more Johnson County people buying up property here. West Lawrence is already turning into a big joke AKA Strip Mall, I say no. The land is for public use. To solve two problems with one stone, why don't we just turn Johnson County into one big lake. The homes they already own will be on water, and most of the undesirables will be under water! YAY!

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 9 months ago

So let me guess Pilgram. You're from JoCo right? So let me ask you a question. Why is it you folks can't just stay up there if its so wonderful? But no. You folks all move to these smaller surronding counties like Douglas Frankilin and Miami. And then you demand all the finer things that you were used to in JoCo. Things like brand new schools updated sewers upgraded fire protection for your quarter million dollar homes.Dust control for our roads because God forbid your Hummer should get a speck of dust on it. And our local county commisioners and school boards are stupid enough to allow you to do it. And then the people that have lived here all our lives get the to pay for all of it. If its so great just stay up there.We don't want you.

Godot 11 years, 9 months ago

redneckzilla wrote: "Kansas better fight for its middle and lower class playgrounds tooth and nail."

The problem in Lawrence is that the city commission and their boards seem to think that Lawrence has to compete with Boulder, Seattle and New York City as far as social amenities are concerned.

The only way Lawrence can afford such luxuries is to generate tax revenue without bankrupting the constituents.

Either we have a sleepy little town (minus the big library/convention center/upscale lofts, and the roundabouts and the greenbelt and the parks every four blocks, and the Farmland industrial park/green space) or we have all the stuff I put in parenthesis AND accept the fact that we have to exploit the resources we have in order to pay for our "wants."

bthom37 11 years, 9 months ago

Godot; I prefer to think it of as everytime New York, Boulder, Seattle, etc. get gas, the city commission farts.

And I'm pretty sure this is not the first time this idea has been floated. It's not a winner, I'm afraid.

Godot 11 years, 9 months ago

I hope not, but this is how things happen. They are floated in the JW, and the next thing you know they materialize. I think it is because things do not show up in the LJW until all the little backroom meetings have been held, and the plans are in place. Then the LJW presents it as an "idea" when, in fact, it is a done deal.

bthom37 11 years, 9 months ago

I swear my grandmother who used to live in Clinton told me there'd been a similar proposal back in the late 80s, but it died aborning.

I sure hope this goes the same way, but you are correct that the lead time between 'ideas' in the LJW and execution of the ideas is often suspiciously short.

Curtis Martell 11 years, 9 months ago

lawrencechick - I like your name. Signed, lawrenceguy

shanefivedyes 11 years, 9 months ago

I don't hear any boomers crying out for homes and a resort at our lakes. It is very clear that someone wants to make money while they destroy the lakes ambiance. HANDS OFF MR.DEVELOPER

Godot 11 years, 9 months ago

Just returned from a morning drive around the lake. It is so nice and quiet and peaceful the way it is, it would be a shame to see it commercialized. My guess is if you took a poll of the hundreds (maybe thousands, who knows? they are well dispersed) of people who are using the lake and park today, most would say the same thing.

Gopher 11 years, 9 months ago

I've researched this issue a little. Of the 22,500 federally owned acres that encompass Clinton Lake, only 1,455 is leased to Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks for the Clinton Lake State Park. Clinton Lake is not a state park as someone eluded to earlier.

The referenced development in Oklahoma was at Skiatook Lake. The private development (homes, condos, apts.) was off gov. land and resort, marina, cabins was on lands leased to a public entity.

Clinton Lake if developed would more than likely have private home, condos etc. adjacent to public lands and could have some access to the lake if permitted by the Corps of Engineers but those accesses would have to be open to the public.

The federal gov. has never allowed private home development on public lands ever...period that I could find.

The resort development probably would be intially be at the state park at Clinton Lake. Master plan revisions and public meetings would have to take place before other areas like wildlife lands could be changed to a resort type development. That I see would be very difficult to do.

reuben 11 years, 8 months ago

Gopher - where did you come up with this information? I have a story from the Tulsa World, by Manny Gamallo, dated May 28, that says the Skiatook Economic Development Authority (SEDA) had to go to "the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owned the land around the lake."

reuben 11 years, 8 months ago

Gopher, try reading the New York Times article by Doughls Jehl, March 13, 2003. According to this account, "The deal for the 50-year rent-free lease" at Skiatook..."was a sublease, between StateSource LLC and the Skiatook Economic Debvelopment Authority, which had just leased the land free from the corps under an exemption that allows such arrangements for government agencies." "The authority then handed off the property to Mr. Howell..." Who is Mr. Howell? He is the developer and principal in Statesource, and among other things served as finance chairman for "Senator James M. Inhofe, the Oklahahoma Republican who, as the new chariman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, oversees the Corps." According to one source, "My whole impression of this since the beginning was that they were trying to railroad this thing through, trying to ram it down our throats, the corps and the Skiatook development agency and the developers behind them," said Kevin Stubbs, a biologist with the Tulsa office of the fish and Wildlife Service." According to another souce, "In this case, they're essentially laundering land to be used for private development, and the corps seems to have been a willing accomplice." (Steve Ellis, a vice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense)

Gopher 11 years, 8 months ago


To reiterate from what I've heard, the private development (homes/condos) is off but adjacent to gov. lands. The primary lessee on gov. lands is the Skiatook EDA which is a gov. entity. All development on gov. lands is open to the public such as the marina and resort. I agree its a shady deal but probably and unfortunately legal.

reuben 11 years, 8 months ago

Yes, it does appear there were no laws broken, but it calls into question the corp's role with regards to being good stewards of public lands since there apparently was no attempt to solicit bids. The lease is virtually free. Apparently, the retail businesses located in the resort do not have to pay any sales tax. With rent-free for 50 years as part of the lease agreement and a captive market of customers on-site, it seems grossly unfair to competing business outside the resort.

If you can remember where you got your information about the housing I would like to know. I haven't turned up anything to suggest the houses are part of a separate private source not originally transferred to the Skiatook Development authority by the corps.

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