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Archive for Saturday, July 25, 2009

City ponders west Lawrence rec center

Lawrence Resident Abby McNaught uses the Holcom Park Recreation Center five times a week because it’s close to her home and has everything she needs for her workouts. Holcom is at 2700 W. 27th St., and the city has no recreation center west of it. However, plans are in the works for a possible new center near Sixth Street and Kansas Highway 10.

Lawrence Resident Abby McNaught uses the Holcom Park Recreation Center five times a week because it’s close to her home and has everything she needs for her workouts. Holcom is at 2700 W. 27th St., and the city has no recreation center west of it. However, plans are in the works for a possible new center near Sixth Street and Kansas Highway 10.

July 25, 2009

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Possible funding for recreation center

City commissioners will meet Tuesday to discuss the possibility of funding for a new recreation center. The issue will be brought up during the weekly meeting Tuesday night. Enlarge video

A proposal to spend $300,000 to design a new west Lawrence recreation center has become a bit of a jump ball, after a group of citizens have begun lobbying for the project.

City commissioners will take up the issue at their Tuesday evening meeting when they set the budget for 2010.

“Our ability to put facilities on this side of town hasn’t kept up with the population growth,” said Jana Dobbs, a Lawrence banker and member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board who started an e-mail campaign for the project. “I’m afraid if we don’t continue to look forward and plan for it now, that we’re really going to be behind the curve.”

City Manager David Corliss as part of his recommended 2010 budget included $300,000 to design a new recreation center for city-owned ground at Overland and Wakarusa drives in northwest Lawrence. The plan would put the city in a position to begin building a new center in 2011.

But at a study session earlier this month, a majority of commissioners expressed concern about the timing of the project. But this week, after receiving multiple e-mails and phone calls, some commissioners said they wanted to see what could be done to get some planning for the project done this year.

“I have heard nothing but positive comments about the desire of the community to have additional recreation space,” Commissioner Mike Dever said. “I haven’t heard any negative comments about the need.”

Dever said he was interested in exploring whether there was a private architecture firm in town that could donate some preliminary work. He said there may be some concept plans already available from the PLAY group, a group of citizens that previously has pushed for more recreational facilities in the community. Dever also said he might be willing to support devoting some city staff time to the project, but still thought $300,000 for the proposal would be tough to justify.

“I still think that would be premature,” Dever said.

Mayor Rob Chestnut said he also wanted to discuss the subject more, and particularly wanted more information on when the debt on various other parks and recreation facilities will be paid off.

Commissioner Aron Cromwell said he supports the idea of a west-side recreation center, but said he thought the design work likely should be pushed back until 2011. He said he would support using the $300,000 in Corliss’ recommended budget for maintenance of existing facilities.

“I just don’t think we’re going to be in a position to build it in 2011,” Cromwell said. “I think we’re going to be hard pressed to keep our budgets level in 2011. I think 2012 is the time we could start looking to build a center.”

Cromwell said he was concerned that design work may have to be redone if it sat on the shelf for more than a year.

Commissioner Mike Amyx said he also would be hard-pressed to include $300,000 in the budget, especially since the city is struggling to provide wage increases to city employees.

Commissioner Lance Johnson previously had said he supported keeping the $300,000 in the budget.

Tuesday likely will be the last chance for anybody to get a major item included in the 2010 budget. Commissioners are scheduled to approve the budget for publication. After the budget is published, commissioners cannot increase the total amount of spending in the budget, nor can they increase the mill levy rate.

Corliss’ recommended budget proposes to keep the city’s property tax mill levy unchanged from this year’s level.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

geekin_topekan 5 years, 5 months ago

Cool. The homeless will have a new place to shower and fornicate out west. Build it! Although, this reeks of socialism.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Commisioners,

*This rec center will cost at least $7,000,000(million) or most likely $10,000,000(million)

*Local voters need the power to vote on new projects that which impact our tax bills and our cost of living which is most every agenda item with the city commission.

*Is the city not thinking about raising user fees again?

*Let the existing 1995 sales tax pay for new sidewalks and rehabilitating sidewalks before taking on yet another multi million dollar rec center project. USD 497 and Clinton Lake Regional Park is more than local taxpayers can absorb.

*Are taxpayers NOT getting saddled with the high dollar USD 497 sports facilities project aka PLAY aka increase in taxes? About $20,000,000(million)

*Are taxpayers not being saddled with tax dollar spending, tax dollar increasing very high dollar 1500 acre Clinton Lake Regional Park project? Another $15-$20 million. The other phase of PLAY. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/may/should_city_spend_20_million_or_more_play_project/

*Ms Jana Dobbs as a member of the Chamber of Commerce and a banker one would like to think the Chamber could think frugal for a change.

*Citizen taxpayers did not want to spend money on a PLAY project so it went through the back door of USD 497. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/may/should_city_spend_20_million_or_more_play_project/

*The west side pushed for PLAY and they got it. How did they get it? New USD 497 sports facilities... USD 497 admitted publicly to that. Now Free State has upgraded facilities why not put those tax dollar facilities to use?

*LHS has upgraded facilities why not put those tax dollar facilities to use?

*The west side of town, Clinton Lake Regional Park, has new facilities sitting on over 1,500 acres at a cost of who knows how many millions as the project seems to be ongoing.

*Between USD 497 and Clinton Lake Regional Park the west side has plenty of opportunities. Why is the West side not making use of the new expensive tax dollar facilities?

*Why is Lawrence economic growth lagging? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/sep/why_do_you_think_lawrence_growth_lagging/

*Local voters need the power to vote on new projects that which impact our tax bills and our cost of living which is most every agenda item with the city commission.

*I say voting taxpayers can make the most fiscal responsible decisions. Certainly cannot be anymore irresponsible.

*Give taxpayers power over their tax dollars and the ability to create economic growth NOT economic displacement. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/sep/why_do_you_think_lawrence_growth_lagging/

*A vote on a project such as this can take place annually in April.

roger_o_thornhill 5 years, 5 months ago

How is this socialism? Seems more like money poorly spent. Do these city folk who come up with plans like this go to midsize city conventions where there are booths that sell ideas like this? Reminds me of just about every retail business I have seen open here since moving in 96--from the mashed potato eatery of long ago downtown to the various cookie stores--that has popped up from time to time. Everything that ever happens here seems to be something that has happened elsewhere and then is copied here (whether it is needed, wanted, or whatever).

P.S.
Main Entry: so·cial·ism Pronunciation: ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm Function: noun Date: 1837 1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods 2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

*How exactly does the city building a rec center fit into this?

khawk1949 5 years, 5 months ago

Too much of the same ole same ole in this town. Already have plenty of fitness center to choose from in this town. West side of town is mostly older retired people in assisted living centers. Never satisfied with what you already have, always wanting more. Always wanting to spend spend spend in tough times. No common sense.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

If impact fees had been charged when all that development was done, there likely would already be a W. Lawrence rec center.

kansasmutt 5 years, 5 months ago

$7 million might be enough to fix the crap streets in Lawrence and atract some people to shop. A rec center, geeez another total waste of money and another way to take money from businesses like a gym. Lawrence just is a a suck xxs town with the ideas of a third grader.

workinghard 5 years, 5 months ago

I guess we need to start a negative e-mail campaign. I just assumed the city would realize now is not the time. You notice there has been no mention of whether there will be crossing guards. Are they waiting til school starts to tell parents? From what I understand, the $300,000 is just to design it. Would it work to have contractors bidding for the job submit designs at their own cost? If it will cost millions as merrill says, than the contractor should be willing to foot the cost. Don't know much about that sort of thing but just wondering if something like that would work.

been_there 5 years, 5 months ago

edjayhawk--I wonder if the school district has fitness equiptment? I know we share the pool, if they have a gym with equiptment at Freestate there could be public hours. But then coaches might have them in use most of the time anyway so that wouldn't work. To build something with the school district would still be using taxpayers money since they get their money from us.

50YearResident 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree with those that say this is not a good time to spend more money for sports. Lawrence is already paying through the nose for dual football fields for the schools and the open end Farmland fieasco project. The $300,000 only buys a plan on a sheet of paper. The actual cost will have to include the cost of land and the cost of the building. Does the city commission have any idea of the final price tag? I bet their estimate is not within $5,000,000, if they even have an estimate.

been_there 5 years, 5 months ago

Before they tore up the track at LHS you always saw people using the track to walk or run, but that is gone now. Do they have a track at Freestate and is the public allowed to use it?

Eileen Jones 5 years, 5 months ago

$300,000 for a "DESIGN" is outright corruption.

We do not need this. We cannot afford this. And if we could, the price is WRONG.

Eileen Jones 5 years, 5 months ago

It costs hundreds of dollars in school fees to send a child to school in Lawrence. I have to budget nearly a thousand dollars for book rentals and class fees for 3 kids.

The law mandates a free education for everyone.

Since only half the residents actually pay the school fees, the rest of us pay more to cover them. And we are already the ones paying the most in taxes.

Something is unfair and, if really investigated, is probably illegal.

My point is that schools cannot afford to provide education to the children of taxpayers, so why do these turkeys want to waste $300,000 for a piece of paper?

CORRUPTION

Eileen Jones 5 years, 5 months ago

Why not expand the existing centers a bit?

Why does everybody have to have something right in their neighborhood in a town that is 5 miles square?

Better to spend a little putting parks in neighborhoods, where kids can bike to and play.

lwctown 5 years, 5 months ago

What is really needed is a West Lawrence Free State.

CLARKKENT 5 years, 5 months ago

what happen to the "good ole days" when there were no rec centers, etc., the people were not as chunky as they are now.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Biking,walking,swimming and elliptical trainers are easy on the joints and good for the heart according to some local medical specialists. Biking,walking,swimming and elliptical trainers are considered among the best because it is low impact exercise.

The west side of town has way more miles of hike and bike trails than any other part of town.

In home elliptical trainers would cost westside taxpayers a whole lot less tax dollar money. We bought one two years ago which proved to be the most excellent piece of equipment to repair a knee( way less expensive than a physical therapist). It's also good for the ticker. http://www.ellipticaltrainerreview.com/Article_Proform_Crossover_Elliptical_Trainer.html Keep an eye open for great sales because they will happen.

The west side has the aquatic center and as I said way more miles of biking,walking and jogging trails than any other part of town which have been built into the hoods at taxpayer expense. So I read swimming, biking,walking and and work out bench(not expensive) can keep a person of any age in shape. Expensive buildings are not necessary as soooooo many have proven over the years. Meet living proof: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul...

The bottom line is make use of existing westside opportunities then bring this up again in five years. This is not a life or death situation.

been_there 5 years, 5 months ago

It's funny, people will drive to go to their favorite restaurant, store, church or bar, but want some things right in their neighborhood. Seriously, you can get to Holcolm in seven minutes or so from far west Lawrence. KU students have a free gym on campus, let them go there. What will be far west Lawrence now will not be in ten years and they will be wanting a rec center. Most of the apartment complexes on that side have gyms on site. Don't some property taxes have special improvement taxes? Mabye they could have vote for West Lawrence residents and if they vote for the rec center most of it shows up on their taxes. Just an idea to think about.

Jaylee 5 years, 5 months ago

they have the lake, the clinton sports complex, 3 (technically 4) golf courses, many complexes with their own workout area, and parks all over with little bits of nature trail, yet their imagination leads them to believe they need another area to work out?

how about we act on thoughts of less frivolous nature?

i.e. a grocery store in EAST or NORTH lawrence?

which is what SHOULD have happened instead of another damn wal-mart a couple direct, main roads away from the first wal-mart!

workinghard 5 years, 5 months ago

After all the fuss Wal-mart made to get that store, I don't go to it, it feels like a warehouse that they just threw stuff into. The atmosphere is terrible.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 5 months ago

Richard Heckler hates healthy people and proper punctuation.

Hey Jaylee, if you want a grocery store north of the river then why not take out a loan and build one? The government isn't in the business of building grocery stores.

disgustedagain 5 years, 5 months ago

Unbelievable. Mike Dever hasn't heard any negatives. Because he only talks to his developer friends I guess. In a year when the city had to cut bus services for children, it's obscene to spend money on another sports facility for West Lawrencians who can use other resources. For those people to go on TV and say they deserve better facilities in West Lawrence is ridiculous. As if West Lawrence doesn't have the best of everything already, while North Lawrence and East Lawrence have to beg for decent school facilities and bus routes that actually go through East Lawrence. (West Lawrence having several lines of bus routes where the majority of residents have a car or three.) Apparently, Dever and Corliss really are in the the pockets of West Lawrence people of I-Deserve-My-Own-Special-Place and developers. Sad. I was being sarcastic in the past when I said things like that.

disgustedagain 5 years, 5 months ago

"Jana Dobbs, a Lawrence banker and member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board" ah Dever only talks with his developer and BANKER friends in W. Lawrence.... I should have known.

workinghard 5 years, 5 months ago

Of course Corliss lives in West Lawrence, don't know where Dever lives.

workinghard 5 years, 5 months ago

Just checked all addresses for city commissioners, and with the exception of Boog, they all live in West or far West Lawrence, surprise, surprise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Boog is no longer on the commission. But I believe that of current commissioners, only Cromwell lives in E. Lawrence.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Boog is no longer on the commission. That said 4 of the five are residents of west Lawrence. Cromwell lives east of Mass and south of 15th.

It does not pay to vote in the greater majority from the westside of town. Next time folks go vote!

workinghard 5 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, clicked on an outdated link when I googled.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 5 months ago

merrill I don't know what medical person told you that, but I know that I hurt when I walk. Sometimes I have to stop every two minutes or so and rest before I can go on. Water exercise is good but my therapy will soon end and there is no way I can afford the classes at the Aquatic Center. As far as I am concerned that money should be spent on scholarships for seniors who fall below the poverty line to get the exercise their doctor has prescribed for them.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Are rec centers really that popular for working out? Are they empty most of the time? How do we know?

It seems like the commercial centers stay busy. It also seems like the largest segment of the population is outdoors walking,jogging and cycling. This is all over Lawrence,Kansas.

Biking,walking,swimming and elliptical trainers are easy on the joints and good for the heart according to some local medical specialists. Biking,walking,swimming and elliptical trainers are considered among the best because it is low impact exercise. We could save tons of tax dollars working out at home plus using hike and bike trails, streets and sidewalks.

The west side of town has way more miles of hike and bike trails than any other part of town and the aquatic center. People are using these walking,jogging and biking trails which leads me to believe the rec center would not be used all that much. I see people on Harvard,23rd,Wakrusa and on those many walking,jogging and biking paths throughout those neighborhoods at various times during the day. The westside folks are already busy exercising.

Are rec centers really that popular for working out?

Swimming, biking,walking and an in home work out bench(not expensive) can keep most people in shape:

http://www.speedousa.com/home/index.jsp?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=plm&utm_campaign=New+Site+Launch+7.31.08&utm_extra=dim1/Swimming:+Swimwear+-+Brand+-+General//dim2/Broad&utm_term=speedo+suits

http://www.google.com/search?q=Bridgestone+Bicycles&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

http://www.newbalance.com/USA/

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00615715000P

http://www.ellipticaltrainerreview.com/Article_Proform_Crossover_Elliptical_Trainer.html

Expensive buildings are not necessary as soooooo many have proven over the years. Meet living proof: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul...

This is not a life or death situation.

7texdude 5 years, 5 months ago

$300,000 for a “DESIGN” is outright corruption.

We do not need this. We cannot afford this. And if we could, the price is WRONG.


Someone needs to explain to me how it costs $300,000 to draft a design for a rec center. I don't get this. If American businesses ran their companies like this they'd be out of business.........oh wait a minute.

If they do this, then it's time to start over in local gov't. There is no positive future in Lawrence with unnecessary, expensive projects like this. Isn't the city struggling to pay to run its existing facilities? Can't the people on the west side use the T to get to the other workout facilities? Isn't that what it is for?

puddleglum 5 years, 5 months ago

west lawrence free state... that is the plan! can someone please build this?

disgustedagain 5 years, 5 months ago

"The west side of town has way more miles of hike and bike trails than any other part of town and the aquatic center. " Absolutely. A rec ctr in West Lawrence is overkill and we can't afford it.

Write an email to the commissioners today.

LisaLipps69 5 years, 5 months ago

How about if the city "pondered" spending that money fixing the streets instead?

Eride 5 years, 5 months ago

How bout the city first fix and provide enough capital to ensure proper maintenance of our EXISTING infrastructure before the city starts thinking about building MORE.

If you can't even afford to maintain what you have how can you afford to build more? Seriously, is every city employee incompetent?

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

These west side commuters need a Rec. center because they spend 2 hours per day sitting on their fat a$$ driving to KC or Topeka. Then they sit in their cubical all day and surf the net while their butts get numb. They need a place to go after they get home and have steak for dinner and cocktails. It's too late for them to play golf because they haven't yet figured out how to make the golf balls light up and match them up with the holes in the dark. This would truly be a challenge for them since most of them play golf because they want to be seen playing golf and playing golf in the dark with night vision goggles and a lit up ball just doesn't seem natural to them.

However, there's a first time for everything and playing golf in the dark is as challenging as any sport can possibly be. It could improve your senses to hone in on the distances without all the distractions of the daylight.

monkeywrench1969 5 years, 5 months ago

Too true Eride. I would say the city employees who are doing the day to day work maintaining infrastructure and safety would have something to say about the city throwing $300,000 toward a plan when they are fighting to get $80,000 for a .5% raise this year

monkeywrench1969 5 years, 5 months ago

ALso by putting in a rec center you may be reducing the tax revenue the gyms are bringing in with fees and activities.

Jaylee 5 years, 5 months ago

gl0ck0wn3r (Anonymous) says…

"Hey Jaylee, if you want a grocery store north of the river then why not take out a loan and build one? The government isn't in the business of building grocery stores."

apologies. i was only trying to objectively state a sensible plan for our city's money. a plan not born of gluttony.

i don't even live in north OR east lawrence.... but if they had ANYWHERE to get groceries worth a damn (or past 10pm or whenever the ghetto dillon's closes), i would certainly consider it.

a friend wants me to move in with him past haskell. house is nice. neighborhood is fine. he keeps a nice, tidy place and i want to live with him, but probably won't be able to because there isnt a thing me or my baby would need that is accessible.

driving 15 minutes through downtown and past campus if i need some flour or eggs is so unappealing!

Godot 5 years, 5 months ago

This absolutely is not the time to even bring this up. The existing rec centers are a wreck. Broken faucets in bathrooms, equipment that is broken, equipment that needs to be replaced (because our citizens absent-mindedly walked out of the center with a stability ball or a pair of hand weights stuffed into their bags) that won't be replaced because there is no money in the budget.....

Many of the Parks and Rec fitness classes are not even full, despite the fact that, thanks to taxpayer subsidies, they cost much less than they do at for-profit facilities.

When and if Lawrence ever starts growing again, and the tax base grows to the point that commissioners are increasing, not decreasing, the "rainy day fund," ---that will be the time to begin this discussion. Then, not now.

4getabouit 5 years, 5 months ago

"Richard Heckler hates healthy people and proper punctuation."

He is also unpleasant to look at and always mad...I suppose because he can't get laid. Frankly, he really needs a place to work out.

Newell_Post 5 years, 5 months ago

Completely unnecessary function of government. Go join the "Y."

mdrndgtl 5 years, 5 months ago

Rabble, rabble, rabble! Grr... Rabble, rabble!

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