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Archive for Monday, November 20, 2006

Is it time to pay for play?

Leaders seek input on complex idea

November 20, 2006

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Lawrence, say "so long" to your chance to see state championship high school football.

That's not a commentary on the prospects of the Free State or Lawrence High football teams. Instead, it is about the ability of Kansas University's Memorial Stadium to play host to the big state championship game, which historically has been a boost to hotels, restaurants and other merchants.

"We feel like a little ant in a big old bowl," Rick Bowden, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Assn., said of Memorial Stadium. "The atmosphere is just so much more conducive if you put 7,000 people in a stadium that is built for that instead of in a 50,000-seat stadium."

Saturday's state championship contests will mark the third consecutive year that Lawrence has not been host to a championship game. That's the longest stretch the city has gone without one since the state started assigning sites in 1983.

Lawrence doesn't have to look far to see where the business has gone. Topeka last season was host to two state championship games in its 4-year-old Hummer Sports Park. It'll have another one this year.

Hummer Sports Complex

Dave Graversen, of Hummer Sports Park, gives a tour of the complex, describing the Topeka facility. Enlarge video

The complex boasts a 6,000-seat football stadium and a 2,000-seat soccer field that both have the same type of artificial turf as Memorial Stadium. It also has two fully irrigated baseball fields, two softball fields, an eight-lane track designed for college meets and a 50-meter indoor swimming pool that has been used as part of an Olympic qualifying meet.

But it all came at a cost: Topeka school district voters in 2001 approved $17.5 million in bonds to build the complex. They spend about another $800,000 a year to maintain and operate the park.

Now, Lawrence residents are being asked whether they would like to get into the same game. Partners for Lawrence Athletics and Youth - or PLAY - will put on a public meeting at 7 p.m. today at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., to receive comments on what recreational facilities Lawrence needs and whether residents should invest in a multimillion-dollar sports complex.

"I'm hoping the community really takes a look at its needs and then takes that next step and does something about it," said Bonnie Lowe, a Lawrence bank president and former mayor. "In my opinion, the reason we're in the dire straits we are is because we've had a lot of discussion but no action."

'Heads in beds'

The Hummer Sports Park is named after a former Topeka police chief, not the Rolls-Royce of sport utility vehicles. But Topeka leaders did build the complex to be a Cadillac version of a sports park.

"In my opinion, the school district did it right," said Dave Graversen, assistant manager of the Topeka sports park. "They didn't go cheap. They created what I think is one of the premier parks in the Midwest."

The idea from the very beginning, Graversen said, was to create a park that could accommodate more than just the normal events generated by the district's three high schools. Thus far it has been doing just that, Graversen said.

The park has been the site of the 2005 National Baseball Congress World Series, high school championships for boys and girls soccer, AAU track meets and games for the 2004 U.S. Olympic softball team. Even the University of North Carolina women's soccer team agreed to use the field for a pair of games.

"We can stay busy seven days a week during a lot of times of the year," Graversen said. "I don't think a lot of people realize how many people these events can bring to town. It definitely puts heads in beds."

On the road again

That type of economic development potential excites Lowe, but it is not what spurred her to form PLAY nearly 14 months ago.

Instead, it was the impending closure of Sport 2 Sport, a privately owned facility that provided gym space for youth volleyball, basketball and other sports. When that facility - just west of Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive - did close, she was fearful of what it would mean for her two daughters who participate in club volleyball.

"We have four practices per week in Topeka for our two," Lowe said of her two daughters, ages 13 and 16. "It is about two hours per practice, so I spend a lot of time in Topeka."

But Lowe said that's the price parents pay if they want their children to play club sports. Many Lawrence Parks and Recreation programs are full because they don't have room to add teams to a league or to start new leagues that would provide higher competition levels, she said.

She's confident that Lawrence would have enough youths to fill new leagues. She said on one of her daughter's volleyball teams, six of the eight team members are from Lawrence.

Fred DeVictor, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, confirmed that his department doesn't meet all the demands of youth league sports. He said the department is particularly strained in its ability to accommodate indoor sports.

"We have long been on record that one of our needs is indoor space," DeVictor said. "We would love to have a fieldhouse that could have three or four gyms in it."

Outdoor space, though, also is on the list of needs. DeVictor said it is a struggle for many baseball, softball and soccer coaches to find space for their teams to practice even once per week.

The football field conditions for Lawrence's two high schools, which play most of their games at Haskell Stadium, also have been concerning Kansas State Athletics Assn.

"There are definite concerns about the field surface at Haskell," Bowden said. "I've had administrators from Lawrence apologize that the field isn't in any better shape than it is."

Picking priorities

The PLAY idea largely will rest in the hands of elected leaders. The city, county, Lawrence school district and Lawrence Chamber of Commerce all agreed to fund a $63,000 feasibility study.

The study, being conducted by Lawrence-based Treanor Architects, is expected to be done in 60 to 90 days, Lowe said. In addition to providing cost estimates, it will include a random survey of Lawrence households to gauge support for a project.

But details of the project still are undetermined. Any Lawrence sports complex almost certainly would be different than Topeka's. Lawrence, for instance, has a relatively new indoor aquatic center. The Topeka park also doesn't offer indoor gym space.

Details such as whether voters would need to approve a bond issue or whether a recreation park could be a part of some sort of sales tax proposal also are unknown.

But one piece of advice from Topeka is clear: It will take money.

"A facility like this is not going to be self-supporting," Graversen said. "It is really a quality-of-life project."

The biggest unknown for the PLAY idea, though, is how it will stack up against the long list of other projects that the city is contemplating.

"We have to start prioritizing some of these projects," Mayor Mike Amyx said. "There are lots of needs out there; lots of wants, too. At some point we're going to have to say some of these good ideas are going to have to wait in line."

Amyx rattled off a list that included a proposal for a new downtown library, additional street maintenance, North Lawrence storm drainage, the need for new industrial parks and an $80 million sewer treatment plant the city has agreed to build.

"Taxpayers can only afford so much," Amyx said.

Comments

Smakm95 7 years, 5 months ago

I'm a firm believer in investing in our youth with the hope of giving them an opportunity to follow their dreams. We all have come across potholes in our lives that have caused, in some cases, damage beyond repair. In those instances how many of us have wished we had someone cover that pothole for us?

To me, sports are invaluable in the fight to protect our children while at the same time create opportunities to teach them some of lifes most important lessons. Self repect,accountability,hard work,fair play and teamwork. All of which are important to the development of healthy and successful young men and women.

As a city, what's our priority? Investing in our youth's future or the potholes in the street? To me it's easy. I'll take my chances with the potholes in the street, I can drive around them. If I have an opportunity to cover up a pothole in a childs life I say no price is too much.

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

I guess I don't understand the assertion that sports are fine at the Junior High and High School level - but that kids should just play outside and should not play organized sports younger than that.

Organized sports, in my personal experience, teaches children how to play on a team, to participate in a group. It teaches children fair play. It teaches them to be active (which is especially important these days with the prevalence of television a video games as babysitters for working parents).

You cannot just send a child outside today - to roam the neighborhood playing with other groups of kids. Something tragic would occur and then - bam - lawsuit.

By participating in organized sports, children learn respect for teammates, for coaches, for referees, for the opposing player. Waiting until junior high and high school is too late.

And, frankly, if our junior high and high school children are going to be competitive on their junior high and high school teams, then they can't start playing their sport in the seventh or eighth grade.

Academics and athletics are all important for a well-rounded child. It's time we realized that and acted accordingly instead of calling and demanding proof for others' statements without providing proof of our own.

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Shardwurm 7 years, 5 months ago

Well, I think we should spend the money.

Afterall, high school championships are the only championships being won in Lawrence...

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Wallabe 7 years, 5 months ago

Correction - Instead of focusing so much on sports lets focus on academics.

Oh, wait, maybe we could spend money on getting the downtown homeless population jobs and housing. I am so sick of this town and its infatuation with sports!

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Wallabe 7 years, 5 months ago

Instead of focusing so much on sports within the college arena lets focus on academics so that tech industries can be drawn into the community.

Oh, wait, maybe we could spend money on getting the downtown homeless population jobs and housing. I am so sick of this town and its infatuation with college sports!

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bucks1 7 years, 5 months ago

I honestly can't see why things can't get done around here in Lawrence- okay- I'm being a little sarcastic...theres the SLT...no wait....ummm the Library...no...wait...that new Wal-Mart...no, thats not done either...wait I know...a district sports complex...no that's not it...

I've got an idea- lets build multi-family housing, apartment complexes and the such at such an alarming rate that the housing costs for single family housing goes through the roof, there is no such thing as a start-up house, and the city population grows at such a rate that no one can afford to live here and there aren't enough services/recreation/employment opportunities for the citizens that they must work in Jo Co or Topeka.

Wait...we've already nailed that one.

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7 years, 5 months ago

Confrontation- As I said earlier. My kids will never get to enjoy any kind of new youth sports facilities. Thats how long it will take and how closed minded people like yourself and city (Not Town) politicians are. This is for the future. I or my kids get absolutely nothing out of this but we are willing to pay for this (via taxes etc.) beacuse it is so needed for the kids!! This makes your comment invalid and quite stupid.

As far as over involving your child, thats where its time to be a parent and keep that from happening. I know I do as well as many other parents I know.

I cant wait to hear what silly comment is coming next from you. I just hope you read the post before you lash out at real parents.

If you really want I would be more than happy to donate a few trophies for you to put in your trailer home.

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Confrontation 7 years, 5 months ago

mistygreen and copesis1: Soccer moms like you believe that the rest of us should pay for your children to fulfill your dreams. Where are the studies that say that these young children benefit from sports (in regards to education)? I've seen studies for Jr. High and High School kids, but where are the ones that say first graders excel in science if they play soccer? Didn't you just see the study about the harm of over-involving your child? I suppose that doesn't matter much when you can have a case full of your child's trophies (since you didn't have your own). I'm all for sports at the Jr. High and High School levels. I support more money for education INSTEAD OF building soccer fields. If you want your first grader to blow a knee in the peewee league, then you should have to pay for it 100%.

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

That's fine - I don't mind the question. It's a legitimate question.

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

SoundMind- the reason why I asked because the way you communicate reminds me of someone on the commitee. I had a few serious conversions with this person a few years back.

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

No. I am not on the committee, nor related to any of them in any way.

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

Private forces would be great but I bet the city/school district wants the taxpayers to payy for this.

By the way SoundMind- are you on the PLAY board or related to one of them?

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

"Isn't Shawnee Heights part of the town Topeka? If not I better let a few of my cowaorkers know their kids go to Shawnee Heights but they CANNOT live in Topeka!!"

I'm not sure I understand the question. Shawnee Heights is USD450. Parts of the school district are within the Topeka city limits.

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

If you want all the facts, then go to the meeting tonight. This is in preliminary stages, only. Treanor Architects is currently gathering information to assess the community's needs.

I think there are private forces that will come forward to support this - monetarily and otherwise - once a more concrete picture of needs is formed.

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

Isn't Shawnee Heights part of the town Topeka? If not I better let a few of my cowaorkers know their kids go to Shawnee Heights but they CANNOT live in Topeka!!

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

It sounds great in theory but I CANNOT see how it will work. Problem People mess it up.

My concern who is going to run it and pay for it?

School district- the same group of people who complain we don't have enough money for fund programs?

City- the same people who are supposed to fix the streets.

County- the same people who are supposed to fix the streets and bridges.

Where is the funding going to come from? I would rather have ALL the facts. That is something Rick Gammill and Scott Morgan really do not do a good job of letting us know because they want their way or shall I say WEASELMAN's way!!!!!!!!

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

There is only one "Topeka" school district - 501. There is the Auburn-Washburn suburban district, the Shawnee Heights suburban district, and the Seaman suburban district. Each suburban district has its own football stadium.

PLAY is currently taking input and conducting a study to evaluate needs in Lawrence. Nothing has been decided at this point.

Questions posed at the stakeholders meeting included what venues are used for each sport, how many recreational versus competitive users, schedules for each venue used, including games and practices, the last 3-5 years of individual and team participation numbers, current cost per participant, costs expended by each stakeholder toward fields/court rental, maintenance, etc.

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7 years, 5 months ago

Commuter- All sports, all ages, boys and girls. Thats how I understood it from the whole PLAY issue. A very good question though.

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BigAl 7 years, 5 months ago

I do agree that Haskell needs to be replaced. That old stadium just cannot continue to meet the demands of two high schools and Haskell University. I have talked with people from Haskell and although they want to be a good neighbor, they recognize that their stadium cannot keep up this pace.
Also, a few years ago, I coached a girls basketball team and gym time was extremely hard to come by. In fact, we often shared with other teams. Lawence has definitely fallen behind other communities when it comes to this type of recreational sports.

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

Mistygreen-

Great example. i was only using Johnathan Beasley because I know someone who was a reall good friend of his. this person would tell me all kinds of stuff that really depressed me about college football academics.

Really there are only a few programs that really encourage acdemics but the poor IVY lEague gets killed from other programs.

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

remember the Topeka Schoool District passed a bond issue to build Hummer Sports Complex. Is anyone aware there are two school districts in Topeka and only one of then uses the complex.

Do you think Topeka school district ( they one who owns Hummer) built it as a way to try to influence people to go th their school district.

I have kids but I want to hear more from PLAY. Are we going to build just for FOOTBALL?

What about guaranteeing Volleyball time, what about gymnastics, tennis, soccer etc. To me these are more important than football, baseball and basketball- Funny two of the three are mens sports.

The other sports have better grades. Funny isn't it. I would like to see the graduation rate for both high school & college for:

football men's basketball baseball

softball gymnastics cross country track volleyball

Wonder where the higher average gpa is?

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SoundMind 7 years, 5 months ago

There appears to be quite a bit of misinformation and sheer (incorrect) guesswork being thrown about, here. Perhaps I can provide some insight.

PLAY is a committee of interested citizens - a partnership of the City, USD497, Douglas County, and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. Its goal is "Evaluating the present state of athletic facilites and sports programs in Lawrence and to investigate the need for first-class sports/recreation facilities in our community."

The Committee member are: Kelly Barth, Mark Buhler, Dave Corliss, Fred De Victor, Rick Gammill, Mike Grosdidier, Sue Hack, Paige Hofer, Bonnie Lowe, Pam Madl, Julie Manning, Scott Morgan, Wayune Osness, Linda Robinson, Bob Sanner, Ernie Shaw, Doug Stremel, and Doug Vance.

On November 8, the Committe had a stakeholder meeting. It invited one member of local sporting organizations, such as the Lawrence Girls Fastpitch Association, the Lawrence Phenix, Kaw Valley Soccer, Kansas Soccer Academy, and Hoopsters basketball to send one member. This meeting was the first step in that was conducting a focus group with these stakeholders.

I can tell you that, indeed, our youth athletic facilities are a joke to other area communities. Other area high schools that come to Lawrence to play, for instance, soccer, are constantly surprised and dismayed at the lack of quality facilities in a town of 80,000 people.

The softball/baseball fields and gym facilities in Lawrence are at a premium. Basketball teams are only allowed to practice one time a week, for 55 minutes, because of the space squeeze. When Sport2Sport closed down, the town lost any sort of an organized, more competitive girls basketball team. The options for girls right now in this town are either play Rec ball - or play with the boys in Hoopsters.

Ball fields are at a premium as well. The fields cannot be reserved for practices with any regularity and a team's coach must be first out of the box on Monday morning at 8am on the horn to Lee Ice to be able to reserve a field.

Oh, and KVSA pays the city of Lawrence over $40,000 a year to "maintain" the soccer fields out at YSI. I do not know for sure, but I assume that Lawrence Youth Football league also does the same for the football fields.

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7 years, 5 months ago

Hepburn-Nice post. You hit it square on the head.

Confrontation- Its obvious you have no kids. Either that or you and your kids were "picked last".

Remeber everyone. This is for the kids. My kids will be too old to enjoy whatever we can acomplish. Even with that in mind you have to fight for whats right and whats best for the kids!!

Adding turf to Haskell is not the answer. Haskell is awful. Its time we sideline "tradition" and keep up with the growth. Its time to start a new tradition. A tradition thats good for our kids. All kids.

Im curious. Has any of the negative post people seen Hummer Park in Topeka? If you havent you need to go see it then go see Haskell and Holcolm, THEN post what you think.

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mistygreen 7 years, 5 months ago

commuter-thanks for clearing that up. I was getting very confused. You do make a valid point about education, and some athletes are poor students. For example, I used to date a football player in high school and he would copy my assignments, tests whatever, and guess who got the better grade...yep, the football player. Unfortunately that was my fault for letting it happen. But guess who has the better paying job in the real world? Yep, that would be me. You mentioned Johnthan Beasley, as an example, but how many students do not need to be tutored? If the student needed help, and accepted it, doesn't that in the long run make him a better student/player/person? Oh yeah, and while we are on the topic of tutoring/cheating. Wasn't that an issue earlier this year with the KU Football team and their NCAA probation?

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

I am soory typo- Not all athletes are good in school. Johnthan Beasley (KSU Quarterback) wasn't a good student but KSU had a lot of tutors to help HIM and write his papers but he was good at football.

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commuter 7 years, 5 months ago

Mistygreen- Your comment- "why you ask, because kids that do particate in sports or other activities have a sense of belonging and are better students. If you doubt, just ask anyone in education. I'm sorry if you weren't picked for a team." I find thgis really funny. I know Dexter manley was a great student- No wait he couldn't READ. Teachers just passed him because he was great at football!!

Not all athletes are good in school. Johnthan Beasley (KSU Quarterback) wasn't a good student but KSU had a lot of tutors to help me and write his papers but he was good at football.

I am curious to know who is on the PLAY board- I am assuming someone from the district, LPRD, Kaw Valley Soccer and construction companies.

Not all towns and cities have to be the same. Why can't the district fix up LHS and Free State to play football there? Do they need to have two seperate facilities?

As for making more room for the kids to play indoor sports- I am suspicious. I have seen too many bait & switch tactics from USD497 and Mr WEASELMAN!!!!!!!!!

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Bruce Bertsch 7 years, 5 months ago

The facilities at Haskell are BIA/DOI owned. Want to go through the red tape to get that upgrade done? If the owners would be willing to accept the donation and installation of turf, maybe it would be possible.

I moved to Lawrence from a suburb of Wichita that had a population of about 6,000. It has better facilities than Lawrence with the exception of the aquatic center.

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BigAl 7 years, 5 months ago

I never really did understand why Lawrence has the ONLY 6A schools in the state without their own football facilities.

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mistygreen 7 years, 5 months ago

Confrontation-Why are you so anti-sports? What about the kids that want to play? Not all parents are obsessed. There are some parents that have talented kids, but the parent has no clue. So they allow their child to participate. Should kids wait until the appropiate age or grade in school? Not really...why you ask, because kids that do particate in sports or other activities have a sense of belonging and are better students. If you doubt, just ask anyone in education. I'm sorry if you weren't picked for a team.

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opinion 7 years, 5 months ago

Hepburn,

Excellent and accurate post.

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Confrontation 7 years, 5 months ago

"And to Confrontation - Getting kids into sports is one of the best ways to improve their school work, especially for girls. They play sports, get themselves organized and succeed."

Why can't they play sports when they get to the grade levels that offer them? Getting your kids involved in club sports is not necessary, and I don't want to have to pay more in taxes to support it. If you are obsessed enough to drive to Topeka or elsewhere to have your kid follow YOUR dream, then don't complain about the lack of facilities in Lawrence. Pay it out of your own pocket. You are your own problem.

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Shelley Bock 7 years, 5 months ago

Use YSI? - Impossible. To advance that as a possibility ignores the absolutely dangerous single entry way into the complex. Try getting 3 - 5,000 spectators, bands, teams, etc., in and out of there for a football game on a two laned road.

KDOT controls growth at YSI. They won't allow any more lights or expansion of the access road. Without it, no changes. To really make YSI work, the city or state would have to build some sort of overpass system at the cost of millions more. Besides, that area is technically in the Clinton Dam flood area. Not that it will happen, but what would be the outcry if the Dam releases enough water into the Wakarusa to flood a costly building?

And to Confrontation - Getting kids into sports is one of the best ways to improve their school work, especially for girls. They play sports, get themselves organized and succeed. Several years ago Free State girls basketball starters averaged a 3.9 GPA with two valedictorians. They could care less about your video games. Heck, one of them now has a Masters in exercise science. All but one of them received athletic and academic scholarships and played collegiately. The one that didn't receive athletic assistance went to a school that didn't reward such, but she did become a national champion in a track event.

Lawrence high schools compete in the Sunflower League. Sooner than later, those teams from Johnson County are going to stop regarding Lawrence facilities as an antiquated joke and to regard them as too deficient and dangerous to be venues for play. (Within recent years, high school soccer games were nearly cancelled because of unplayable conditions at YSI.)

Why can smaller communities have better facilities? For instance, DeSoto's soccer field is lighted, fenced and without more than adequate seating. All could be done at Free State with modest expenditures. However, would LHS continue to play at YSI where the fields are over used by recreational soccer all the time? Improve Haskell, that's an option, but that's been stated for years. When will there be change and improvement?

The time is now for PLAY!

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macon47 7 years, 5 months ago

Ok: mr and mrs breeder,WHAT WILL IT COST THE REST OF US? How much do you expect the rest of the city of Lawrence to pony up so your kids can have the ultimate playhouse? Just how many games do your rug-rats need be happy? Why did you have to have so many kids that we need to support them for you? Have you heard of abstinence, or birth Control?
I remember in the summer my highlight was spending some time with my grandparents. Today the grandparents raise the kids, and the parents visit in the summer. What trash!

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Esq2eB 7 years, 5 months ago

"No one came to Lawrence so it could become Topeka or Overland Park."

Yeah, heaven forbid Lawrence have jobs and facilities for it's residents and visitors to use like Overland Park and Topeka. That would be horrible. Instead, it should continue to send its work force and residents a half hour either way on the turnpike to find jobs and facilities.

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macon47 7 years, 5 months ago

"Its obvious the people who have posted either do not have kids or their kids are older and out of the house." it is a lot more obvious a bunch of breeders want the citizens of lawrence To pay for a place for their kids to play. I agree, if it is such a great idea and their will be such a demand, let it be a fee based private enterprise. You will see all the soccer mommies and baseball daddies heading the other way if they cannot get it for free by Letting the taxpayers pay for their pleasures.

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mistygreen 7 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence is a one sport town. BASKETBALL. When I moved to Lawrence several years ago, I tried to get my daughter on a volleyball team. We had to go to Topeka, or Kansas City for volleyball. Now if she wanted to play basketball, I had no trouble finding a team. As for paying for a new sports complex, it will never happen, as that will also be studied, cussed and discussed and dismissed just like every other progressive issue that this town has tried to change. Good luck to those trying to get it passed. Gee what is the worst that could happen? We pay a few extra dollars and the kids benefit, could that be so bad? Personally, I think the kids are worth the expense.

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LTJayhawk24 7 years, 5 months ago

One solution for football and soccer would be to put turf down at Haskell Stadium. Also, spend some money to improve the concession and restroom facilities on the north side, and add concession and restroom facilities on the south side. It would be a facility that both high schools' football and soccer teams could use for games. It could also be used for Kansas state championship events.

Here is my question to PLAY...where are you going to build this facility? Where is there land in Lawrence? My guess would be somewhere on the west side of town. How expensive is that land going to be? How can kids from the east side of town (many of whom come from lower economic families) get to a facility on the west side. Are we building a facility that will be more accessible for privileged kids on the west side?

I doubt anyone on the board of PLAY is proposing to build a facility on the east side of town. Let's make sure that if we do something to improve facilities, that ALL the kids in Lawrence have the same opportunity to use that facility.

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macon47 7 years, 5 months ago

let the kids mow the yard or rake leaves if they want exercise. thats what my dad had us do

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Confrontation 7 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps some of these parents should just stop living vicariously through their children. Why do kids have to be participating in several sports? Want them to burn calories? Take away the video games and get them bikes. Also, stop bringing home pizza and Doritos. Want them to get scholarships? Try something new: Education/Book Smarts. I know it is taboo, but your kids will turn out just fine.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

A bypass,not a trafficway, will require some local tax money. While it looks like more fed money MIGHT be allotted all of the original fed money was spent on the two lane speedway. Look for a tax increase to build any road.

The super duper complex in Topeka is not paying for itself so I read a while back and concessions are expensive.

Is there any reason why the YSI facility cannot be improved or better maintained with help from the city?

Lawrence does not have enough hotel/motel accomodations for big time tournaments. Participants are going to be driving no matter what. JOCO and Topeka have fine facilities be thankful for that. Some of our public schools have a lot of grass space that could be utuilized for soccer and sofball.

Lawrence is a small town. JOCO and Topeka have far more taxpayers which is the way I like it. No one came to Lawrence so it could become Topeka or Overland Park.

Now if some of the powers that be want to spend THEIR own money to build this complex fine. Put it at 6th and Wakrusa or off K-10 in SE Lawrence. If it makes money for private investors wonderful. If it doesn't donate it to the city.

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bangaranggerg 7 years, 5 months ago

There goes $63,000 dollars... we'll build a stadium called the "toilet bowl" great for flushing down perfectly good money. That is the average yearly income for a lawrence household just spent on bs.

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papasax 7 years, 5 months ago

What Lawrence needs is "MORE ROUND-ABOUTS'-MORE ROUND ABOUTS" what a waste of taxpayers money!!!

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bucks1 7 years, 5 months ago

I think this would be a great project for Lawrence youths and the school system. This could be a two phase project, first the outdoor facility with a football field, multiple soccer fields, baseball and softball fields. Then an indoor facility could be built down the road with basketball/volleyball and fitness space. All this could be housed on the east side of town on K-10 or the west side on 6th street near K-10 interchange. If it is put on the east side of town, you could even attempt to include Eudora schools in on the project to share costs.

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couranna1 7 years, 5 months ago

It's kansas high school football who cares

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Jamesaust 7 years, 5 months ago

I thought that this boondoggle was dead? How is it managing to stay afloat? Whose hands are getting greased?

There is no way on God's green earth that I'm agreeing to pay for a scheme that will benefit the few at the expense of the many. And EXPENSE is the operative word here. Gee, if this was such a money-making move for local business then local business would agree to "self-assess" itself to pay for it. Noticed any volunteers? I haven't either. That's because it won't return the cost to the treasury.

If State officials don't want to play at Memorial Stadium because the venue is "too big" (!) then let the kids play at the downsized Hummer.

Why again would anything be scheduled in a "me too" facility 30 miles away from the state capital? Anyone? Anyone?

On a side note, the Onion reports that Lawrence officials plan to spend $500,000 to study the idea of bringing an NBA team to Lawrence if the taxpayers can be persuaded to pony over $100 million for a facility. Unfortunately, that facility would be "too big" to attract State athletic events.

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7 years, 5 months ago

Its obvious the people who have posted either do not have kids or their kids are older and out of the house.

The city facilities for youth sports in this town is awful. Its that simple. Yes we have a couple indoor places that are nice but it cannot handle the needs. The place where Lawrence scores an F is Baseball, Football, Softball and Soccer. Our "city" fields are so bad many teams from other cities and towns refuse to play here. We have no football fields at all. We have to rent fields from private enterprises and those fields arent that great either.

Sorry to bust any bubbles here but Lawrence is a city NOT a town. We could only wish our city was run as well as any town.

In my travels I see many towns and cities a lot smaller than Lawrence. I also see their facilities and am just shocked how awful my city has become. Its an embarrasment. Who suffers? Our kids!

This isnt a new problem. This is a problem we have had for a very long time but has been ignored by our town politicians playing city politics. Everyone in office is afraid to speak up and take a positive stance for the kids and fight for is what is right. They are more concerned with their political seat and dont want to commit political suicide to say and do whats right.

You know I was born and raised in Lawrence and I am currently raising two kids here. I use to love this city. Frankly Im sick and tired of the BS. This is a no brainer and if the city politicians and the people of this city cant see how deperate the situation is then it may be time to pull up roots and move on to greener fields.

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whatintheworld 7 years, 5 months ago

Gym space is tight right now. Especially since sport to sport closed. Not originally from Lawrence and have always wondered why the high schools don't have there own football field. Being from a small town, Ku and Haskell do seem too big.

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mom_of_three 7 years, 5 months ago

YSI has soccer/football fields and 4 small baseball/softball fields. Build an indoor facility in the vicinity and/or a high school football field, and we would be able to host more tournaments and provide more revenue for the city.
It would be nice to attend a basketball tournament in Lawrence, without going to several different school gyms. Sport2Sport wasn't big enough, either.
No, we aren't as big as Topeka, but there are towns our size which have better facilities than we do.

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KsTwister 7 years, 5 months ago

Leaders Seek Input. How about a boot?

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macon47 7 years, 5 months ago

HEY:That sure would be neat to have, lets just buy it And put it on the credit card! Is that how everyone lives today? Do you absolutely buy everything in sight regardless of how much money you have? We want parks, better schools, good streets and sewers, a mass transit system, A gazillion dollar library and now we have to have an athletic stadium the rival Of eastern Kansas. Do you folks ever quit spending money you don't have? I know some of you live under the premise , "let the other taxpayers pay for it" but we are spending our cities money even faster than they can tax us.

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Kookamooka 7 years, 5 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong....is the gist of this story that we can't host a STATE championship game because our venue is to BIG???? They want us to spend money to build a SMALLER one? Just so people won't feel like ANTS? That's just weird? The local football teams have used Haskell in the past, is that too big too?

The KU football team is about to bulldoze a section of the most beloved green space (parking lot) on campus in the name of FOOTBALL.

Lets build a public skating rink instead so our kids can learn how to play Hockey and Figure Skate. Believe it or not, those are legitimate sports too!!

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monkeyhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Some must view Lawrence as succerland. Two school bonds were passed a couple of years ago and didn't the district just raise the mill levy to the max "because they could"? On the local news last night this woman was talking about indoor basketball courts. Today it is a super duper football and soccer stadium. What's next, the Wizards? Even one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, Johnson County, smelled a rat on that one.

Some of you big (tax) spenders out there (city commission, etc.) need to realize that Lawrence is just a tiny town. You seem so desperate to spend our money to see if you can get others from outside the area to come and spend a little of theirs. All the while, you want Lawrence to maintain its small town charm. How about some grand ideas on how to DECREASE our taxes for a change? Some would truly embrace a study on that subject.

If the citizens of Lawrence actually have to come to these gatherings to protest frivilous spending, we would have to make that a full time job. Just table all this uneccesary expense on special interest and pet projects and run the city in an efficient manner. Maybe when we see what direction our city is going in 5 or 10 years, you can think about folly.

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macon47 7 years, 5 months ago

sasquatch, i guess you have deep pockets at your house. do you just buy what ever looks good at the time? alot of us in lawrence are not as well off as you, and have to worry about where we spend our money. the city should be as considerate of our tax dollars

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conservative 7 years, 5 months ago

Sasquatch,

It's a matter of limited amounts of money. Let's make sure we have adequate funding to fix the infrastructure before moving onto wants.

Solomon, the SLT doesn't get into this equation. It won't be built with city money.

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Sasquatch34 7 years, 5 months ago

Solomon- Yes, because we cannot solve one problem, lets ignore other problems or opportunities to improve our city....good plan.

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macon47 7 years, 5 months ago

"A facility like this is not going to be self-supporting," Graversen said. "It is really a quality-of-life project."

i think we have enough luxuries in this town that are not self supporting, i worry more about my own quality of like , than building a duplication of something 25 miles away to attract a once a year tournament.
people would be more infavor of this if it was self supporting, but the parents would balk.

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Eybea Opiner 7 years, 5 months ago

Let's don't do anything else until all the streets in Lawrence that need repairing are repaired, and the SLT is built.

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