Plans for a new west Lawrence recreation center are taking a twist with talk of the Kansas University athletics department exploring interest in the project.
Lawrence Mayor Aron Cromwell confirmed the city is putting on hold plans to sign a contract with Lawrence-based Gould Evans architects to create concept plans and cost estimates for a west side center.
That’s because city officials want to allow more time for a private proposal that surfaced last week to develop. Details about that plan continue to be sketchy, but it is becoming obvious the private parties are thinking on a grander scale than the city.
Cromwell confirmed the KU athletics department has been approached about participating in some type of tournament and recreation center. The possibility of including track and field amenities at the site has been raised. No commitments from any party, however, have been given.
“The idea of bringing the university, the city and private individuals together is intriguing,” Cromwell said. “But it is complicated to bring that together, and it takes time.”
The city hasn’t yet disclosed who brought the proposal forward to the city. Cromwell, though, said he does expect to give the public more information about who is involved and the basic concepts in the next couple of weeks, after the feasibility of the concept is further explored.
In the meantime, Cromwell said city commissioners will wait to consider approving a $55,000 contract with Gould Evans, which would have created concept plans and cost estimates for a new center. The commission also will wait to approve a $16,500 contract with a Kansas City consulting firm that was to study the feasibility of creating public fundraising campaign for a recreation center project.
Cromwell said if this new proposal moves forward, the scope of the project could change significantly and make any plans by Gould Evans obsolete.
Cromwell did not have timeline for when the project may come back up for a full City Commission discussion.