DLI likely won’t pay $6,400 bill

The Kansas University athletics department won’t be able to count on a $6,400 check from Downtown Lawrence Inc. to cover the cost of canceling its basketball banquet at the Lawrence Holidome.

The athletics department canceled the post-National Championship banquet in favor of a downtown parade and celebration at Allen Fieldhouse.

Dan Hughes, owner of Sunflower Bike Shop and president of the DLI board, said the wording wasn’t final on a letter to be sent to the department, but the consensus after a Wednesday morning meeting was that paying for the cancellation just wasn’t something the organization could do.

“That’s a significant chunk for us,” he said. “It’s probably about 10 percent of our annual budget.”

Hughes said DLI is a small, member-driven organization that doesn’t take in much money. Additionally, he said, while some businesses certainly benefited from having the throng of people in downtown, for others it may have done little good.

“They can make the claim the parade brought 100,000 people downtown, and I’m sure there are businesses that benefited – and they probably benefited from the tournament in general – but the parade itself for Sunflower wasn’t a big draw,” Hughes said.

But that aside, Hughes said he didn’t want it to seem like he was diminishing the level of excitement the merchants have for KU basketball’s National Championship.

“We’ve enjoyed positive relationships with the athletics department in the past, and we hope to continue those positive relationships going into the future,” he said

Officials at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, which was asked by the athletics department to share the cancellation cost with DLI, have not returned phone calls.