Archive for Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Recreation plans

It’s not too soon to start planning for a recreation center in northwest Lawrence.

July 15, 2009


Lawrence city commissioners shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea of starting to plan for a new recreation center in northwest Lawrence.

Only one of five commissioners had much of anything positive to say about City Manager David Corliss’ inclusion of $300,000 in next year’s budget to design a new recreation center on city land near Overland and Wakarusa drives. However, as Corliss pointed out, the city promised voters that revenue from a countywide 1-cent sales tax would fund recreation projects. The city has almost paid off the Indoor Aquatic Center and it needs to look to the future.

Commissioner Aron Cromwell made the valid point that the city needs to make sure it can afford to operate all of its current facilities before building more. Commissioner Mike Amyx made the less compelling argument that it was difficult to justify spending money to design the center when the city was eliminating its Human Relations Division. Finding ways to consolidate city personnel and save tax money doesn’t seem like a reason not to pursue a recreation improvement. Only Commissioner Lance Johnson saw the need even in tough times to “keep looking forward.”

Lawrence has done a lot of growing since the city built its last recreation center and that growth has left many residents living far away from any center that offers space for individual and organized sports and fitness activities. Recreation centers are located in the center, east and south part of town, but there is no center in the entire section of the city north of Clinton Parkway and west of downtown.

A facility is badly needed in this area. This may not be the year to start construction on a new recreation center, but that doesn’t mean the planning process shouldn’t begin.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Let's hear more about the Clinton Lake Regional Park that should more than meet the needs of any part of town. A 1,505 acre park with baseball and soccer facilities that is taking money from that 1994 sales tax as we speak. Why is this largest rec center in Lawrence park not sufficient?

That city owned land at Overland and Wakarusa may be more necessary for another elementary school which would save taxpayers money.

The 25 year expansion of the tax base did nothing but expand our property tax bills and create higher taxes and user fees. Why did that happen? Where is the money?

Why not spend some money determining why that expansion of the tax base has done nothing but increase our cost living that which is contradicting to a tax base expansion? Taxpayers want to know.

pinecreek 8 years, 9 months ago

How about something new--give the money back to us? We (the common taxpayers) pay for all of these amenities. Times are tough, focus on the actual essentials--roads, fire, police, utilities. This one is a 'nice to have', not a 'must have'.

It's also about time to start having benefit districts assigned to some of these amenities--they don't help housing values in other parts of the city, only those nearby. You want it, you pay for a larger part of it. It benefits you, not me.

igby 8 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe their talking about more taxes for another rec. center.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 9 months ago

The government needs to get out of the fitness center business. I can't believe we're even having this debate.

unelectable 8 years, 9 months ago

If we want to talk about parts of town that are lacking resources then let us talk about a fire station north of the river or gods-forbid a grocery store east of Louisiana Street or in North Lawrence.

true_patriot 8 years, 9 months ago

How myopic - we can't afford (among other things) to pay a pittance for the tradional wading pool that drives a strong sense of community and character and yet the Journal-World in the middle of an economic crisis is still pushing for wasting money we don't have for studying and drawing up plans for a boondogle. The money for the study alone would pay for a full century of summers of wading for Lawrence children.

It would also bring the buses back so our grade-school children don't have to walk miles and cross dangerous major traffic arteries. It's a crisis - it's time to finally take a break from out of control development running this town and use a measured, conservative and logical approach to planning Lawrence growth that preserves the human and character aspects of this town and forces large development projects to shoulder more risk and responsibility. This has worked well in other communities subjected to runaway development and would work well in Lawrence as well.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe the city could give the people of North Lawrence a rec center to take their minds off of the fluff (sarcasm) they keep demanding. Or maybe someone could take them some cupcakes.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

This more about all other sides of down subsidizing the west side growth industry.

"The massive glut of capricious construction raises serious environmental and economic issues such as:

  • the impact of traffic on air quality standards
  • the threat to water quality and acquifers
  • the mismanagement of stormwater and sewage
  • the reduction of wildlife habitat
  • the loss of open space and unique natural areas
  • the homogenization of rural landscapes
  • the expense of costly new infrastructure
  • the deterioration of historic commerical centers
  • the overdependence on the automobile and superhighways Not sensible growth is defined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as "poorly planned, low-density, auto-oriented development that spreads out from the center of communities.

" It creates that doughnut effect in some cities where acrylic and asphalt suburban shopping malls form a ring around the dead center, where the old downtown sits decaying.

Between 1960 and 1975, the state of Pennsylvania lost a total of 3,600,000 acres of farmland. That's like losing a geographic area the size of Pittsburg every six months. THIS IS STUPID!

Here is how the Bank of America, California's largest financial institution, described the impact of not sensible growth in that state:

Urban job centers have decentralized to the suburbs. New housing tracts have moved even deeper into agricultural and environmentally sensitive areas. Private auto use continues to rise. This acceleration of not sensible growth has surfaced enormous social, environmental and economic costs, which until now have been hidden, ignored, or quietly borne by society.

The burden of these costs is becoming very clear. Businesses suffer from higher costs, a loss in worker productivity, and underutilized investments in older communities.

Suburban residents pay a heavy price in taxation and automobile expenses, while residents of older cities and suburbs lose access to jobs, social stability, and political power. Agriculture and ecosystems also suffer....We can no longer afford the luxury of no sensible growth. "

budwhysir 8 years, 9 months ago

I suggest a study group to see if the opinion in this letter is valid. On the other hand, I am sure ALL the citizens of northwest Lawrence feel the exact same way. I for one would hate to live in an area that doesnt have a facility like this. No, I dont mind the pot holes and worn out sewer lines or the funds to send my kids to school, all I want in life is a building for recreation and work outs that I will NEVER have time to go to. And think of the jobs this place would create. Even on the northwest side of town we should have 24 hour security guards and state of the art systems in place to catch those teenage hoodlooms that are skipping school and staying out all night cause there is not enough funding to keep them in school.

Yep I would say that if we are getting rid of our human relations division for the city, this would be a great time to push this right up the hill. No one to stand in yer way. I just hope we have enough police officers to respond to the break in calls over on that side of town. After all the crime rate is up and we cant even keep our human resources division up and running. How long till we start cross training our firefighters to be all in one. Paramedic, firefigher, police officer. If they could be dog catchers we would have it made

royalpain 8 years, 9 months ago

unelectable - Checkers and Dillons are grocery stores located East of Louisiana. The city doesn't fund grocery store construction anyway, though.

disgustedagain 8 years, 9 months ago

Some west Lawrence bigwigs or developers have been pressing Corliss for the rec ctr clearly. It's a relief to see that the pro-business city commissioners recently elected are reluctant to appear so clearly in the pocket of the local developers. At least this year.

LadyJ 8 years, 9 months ago

We built them a pool and a high school. They will drive downtown to shop, go to the library, and the arts center but they won't drive to Holcolm? They have the only McDonalds with a playroom do we complain about not having a comparable McDonalds?

royalpain 8 years, 9 months ago

LadyJ - are you serious? McDonald's? Not exactly a bastion of exercise, fitness or recreation. The city did not fund the construction of McDonald's. Let's make a deal - we'll keep our area nice and clean while you keep looking for a place for the homeless to sleep, OK?

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