Archive for Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rec option

July 29, 2009


To the editor:

As a homeowner living just west of Free State High School, we are concerned about the suggestion that the city spend $300,000 to study and design a recreation building. To paraphrase President Obama, this idea is stupid! The city does not have $300,000 to spend on a project that will be used by a very small percentage of the population.

In a city that fosters the “green” philosophy, I would think that there would be a strong desire to keep the land natural. Travel to Germany and observe the green space set aside by communities Lawrence’s size. Instead of recreation buildings and athletic fields that only cater to a small segment of the community, they have parks that have been left natural with mature trees and fields full of native plants with walking paths that meander through the area. On any morning, rain or shine, you see folks from the very elderly to young mothers pushing baby strollers walking along the pathways. The only equipment provided by the city is an occasional bench for resting or an area set up for stretching, but nothing of great expense.

Why doesn’t Lawrence think “out of the box”? For way less than $300,000, you can landscape the area, cut in paths and pave a small parking area and not spend taxpayer dollars on a consulting firm from outside of the city. Lawrence has an excellent parks staff that could easily create this type of park that would require little to no maintenance.

The Thomsens are from Lawrence


kansasmutt 8 years, 10 months ago

Great idea, but it will never happen in Lawrence. See, Sue and Chuck, if the city was to not spend the $300,000 .00 that would be cut from the next years budget total.Departments can`t save money or have money left at the end of a budget year , or the next years budget will be smaller and that is not what they want. The idea of spending $300,000.00 on a study for this is crazy and as you said will go to a firm outside of lawrence most likely. I am lucky i guess , i live in a town that has come to see the real world ways and is changing how it operates. We have suffered like you, but in the next 10 years we are set to be a very smart city and be able to save . Our city leaders are changing how things are done and cutting waste.

kla4one 8 years, 10 months ago

Really great idea. Too bad it'll never happen. Seems like the powers-that-be are completely focused on a new, shiny building. At least it won't be built any time soon. Maybe by the time it gets past the planning stage (and ridiculous expense), we'll have a new city commission that will consider something more out of the box. I can't say I'm hopeful.

royalpain 8 years, 10 months ago

JackRipper -

Until you quit "ripping" on those who apparently have more resources than you, your arguments will continue to read as "poor little me". What do you have against Dog Days? If you aren't an experienced runner, do you really believe that you have the authority to preach about the pitfalls of "high dollar shoes". I've read plenty of your comments hear, and to me you just come across as a bitter person who despises those who have become more successful than yourself. What do you have against people who make more money than you?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Allow more wildscaping which would cost taxpayers nothing.

As the letter writer suggested keep some meandering trails. There is a lot beauty in a natural setting.

Wild scaping can be better than mowing acres,upon acres,upon acres and upon acres. It is a fiscal responsible approach.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

If the 1,500 acre ongoing multimillions Clinton Lake Regional Park were not well underway and the high dollar USD 497 athletic projects were not under way, both of which provide much for the westside, maybe the rec center would be okay. Not now.

Thus far I do like Comm. Cromwell's approach because we do need to take a hard look at how many ways the 1995 sales tax money could be better spent.

Tax Increasing Projects On the Table: Clinton Lake Regional Park = at least 15 million USD 497 Atlhletics Project = $15-20 million 31st Sreet expansion = several million trafficway = $200-$300 Million New water & sewer to airport = 3 million Sewage Treatment Plant = $90,000,000(million) Farmland = it's a secret in millions West Side Rec Center = $7-$10 million easy School Building Maintenance = $20 million =========================================== Mill Levy increase

Do politicians always come up with the best ideas? Do developers? Does the Chamber? Does the school board? The answer is no across the board.

The question becomes why not ask neighborhood associations to submit ideas as to how to use the 1995 sales tax money instead of spending recklessly? Then put those ideas on a ballot for the community to decide.

phaederino 8 years, 10 months ago

"The question becomes why not ask neighborhood associations to submit ideas as to how to use the 1995 sales tax money instead of spending recklessly? Then put those ideas on a ballot for the community to decide."

Let's do that with Porkulus 2.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 10 months ago

Does Germany have the same obesity problem the US (and Lawrence) has? If not, then I think we do need more rec centers than they do. How many people in Lawrence make use of the current green spaces versus the current rec centers? I live in SW Lawrence and have used the weight room at Holcom, but it is not very big and could use more machines. East Lawrence actually has the nicest rec facility. I, for one, am much more likely to use a rec facility than a green space.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 10 months ago

Jack - you are so right. Our obesity problem is that we are lazy. So making excercise equipment more available will increase the likelyhood that those of us who are overweight will make an effort to do something about it and decrease their ability to make excuses.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

$300,000 could fix a lot of sidewalks through old west and old east Lawrence.

$7-$10 million could rehab a ton of existing sidewalks.

Whatever happened to the walkable community project?

Tons of people use sidewalks daily for exercise in all parts of town. Seems to me that is where the investments should be made.

Add a weight bench and maybe an elliptical trainer to the home plus sidewalks = set to go. Elliptical trainers can be helpful for bad knees that running creates. Then hit the aquatic center.

puddleglum 8 years, 10 months ago

how about a rec center inside the wal-mart? you could eat ding dongs then sweat them off

Kookamooka 8 years, 10 months ago

What the people of the west side want is a cookie cutter rec center courts, weight room, community space. Basketball being the BIG push. As if every kid in Lawrence doesn't already have a basketball goal on their driveway already.

The ironic thing is...the city was offered the chance to buy the First Serve tennis center and it was TOO expensive. How short-sighted was that in retrospect?

lwctown 8 years, 10 months ago

To the writer of the article: Darn good idea....I like it. Sometimes less gets us way more.

BigPrune 8 years, 10 months ago

The sales tax increase of 1995 was supposed to have a sunset clause. Whatever happened with the sunset clause and which City Commission voted to extend this tax increase indefinitely? I haven't been following this story too closely. Also, wasn't the YMCA going to put something in Lawrence? I recall an article from a few years ago....maybe we leave it up to private enterprise instead of trying to dictate what someone can do on their property, after the fact.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The property must belong to the taxpayer. If not it is too expensive for taxpayers.

$10,000,000(million) for a rec center = money must be available.

I say the money can be spent more fiscally responsible:

$1 million for maintenance of existing rec center maintenance annually

$2 million each year into the pot hole repair cookie jar to allow for substantial rehabilitation instead of just patchwork by shovel.

$7 millon for side walk rehab and maintenance each year thus eliminating the need for the newly proposed sidewalk tax.

BTW taxpayers keep an eye on the Clinton Lake Regional Park project that which is a city park department project.

John Hamm 8 years, 10 months ago

Oh my gosh! Somebody on the West side of town with intelligence and a sense of fiscal responsibility. What a great idea - too bad "it'll never happen here." Frank Zappa

kansasmutt 8 years, 10 months ago

Why not fix some sidewalks and install workout equipment like on Clinton Parkway , for people to use along the sidwalks and in parks all over the city. This would be cheap and it can be done city wide. north side, east side , south side center and west side. If they dont get used , then it is just do to people being lazy. The ones along the walkways on Clinton parkway get used all the time.

been_there 8 years, 10 months ago

When the existing rec centers were built the reasons probably had nothing to do with exercise equipment and grownups . It was probably more about giving the kids somewhere to go other than hang out on the streets. Remeber when they decided to keep the basketball courts at the community building open till midnight so kids could play basketball instead of hanging out on the streets downtown? That sure didn't work too well, did it? They need to keep count of who is using these centers, adults or kids. I am more likely to support something for kids as opposed to adults who can find other alternatives.

Carol Bowen 8 years, 10 months ago

We could have a YM or YW, but the city hogs the market.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 10 months ago

Seamus and Jackthe Ripper- In my opinion, Lawrence doesn't have a YMCA because the people on the commission wanted the city to run the REC business because the city knows best. Great another city service that taxpayers have to pay for. Where I grew up there was a YMCA and other local organizations that ran the REC leagues. We do have the LAC if you want to get a membership!!

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