Archive for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Watershed district files petition against ball field owners near Lake Alvamar

January 26, 2011


Members of the regional watershed district are asking a judge to rule in their favor in a dispute with a landowner over expansion of a dam in southwestern Lawrence near Lake Alvamar.

The Wakarusa Watershed Joint District No. 35 on Jan. 13 filed a petition in Douglas County District Court that argues the district is not required to pay owners of Sport 2 Sport One LLC to remove two baseball fields that are near the dam, which is west of Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive.

Topeka attorney John Hamilton said development in the area in recent decades means the dam, also known as the Yankee Tank Dam, needs to be expanded to meet state requirements to guard against a major flood.

Repairs include making the dam several feet taller and expanding the foot of the dam, which would move the dam into the area the fields now occupy.

Hamilton said the expansion would not affect the neighboring indoor tennis center owned by Kansas Athletics Inc.

The watershed district argues that it was granted an easement on the property in 1967 and that although baseball fields were constructed within the easement, the district had a right to use the easement to “maintain, inspect and repair the dam.”

According to the petition, the owners of Sport 2 Sport have declined to remove the fields unless the district were to reimburse them for the value of the structures, fixtures and improvements.

An attorney for Roger Morningstar, managing partner of Sport 2 Sport, declined comment Tuesday. His side has not yet filed a response to the district’s petition in the case.

Hamilton said the district’s members are asking a judge to rule in their favor in the dispute because they have an August deadline to be able to get federal funding for the project.

A coalition that includes local, state and federal governments, the watershed district and neighboring property owners have agreed to contribute funds for the estimated $1.8 million dam project to prevent damage to Kansas Highway 10 and Clinton Parkway during a major flood.

— Reporter George Diepenbrock can be reached at 832-7144. Follow him at


timeforachange 7 years, 4 months ago

The damn protects city property including highway K-10 and the soccer and baseball fields owned by the city just southeast of there, and Clinton Pkway. Seems logical to me for state, and federal funds to repair it. After all state and federal funds built it, and it's still run by Wakarusa Watershed district, a govt entity.

Keith 7 years, 4 months ago

There's no sport more exciting that rich folks suing each other. Pull up a chair, grab a beer and enjoy.

timeforachange 7 years, 4 months ago

The damn protects city land, streets, and other infrastructure used by the citizens of the city. The dam creates a lake whereby there are 13 lots that have lakefront property. These lots have significant added value to the city and are taxed accordingly generating extra money for the city. The dollars to repair the dam are coming from Obama's stimulus package and the property owners themselves. I have not been able to find any evidence the city is funding even one dollar of the repair. Once the lake was drained the property owners land value was greatly depreciated. Therefore the city is losing thousands of dollars in tax revenue while the city waits on the dam repair. The best thing for the city is to get the dam repaired, the lake refilled, and the lot values back to where they were. Then the city can go back to collecting the high tax revenue. And let's think long term. These lots will most likely have expensive homes built on them overlooking a private lake within city limits, so the city will reap those tax benefits for years to come as well.

unite2revolt 7 years, 4 months ago

I wonder what sport 2sport would thing if they just removed the dam and let all the rainwater flow onto their baseball fiends and parking lot.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.