Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2012

Clinton Lake resort discussions resurface

September 6, 2012


The leader of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has begun exploring the feasibility of a resort development at Clinton Lake.

“We’re still in the beginning stages, but I can tell you that it is an idea that is very important to me,” said Robin Jennison, KDWPT secretary.

Jennison confirmed he has met with state Rep. Tom Sloan, state Sen. Marci Francisco, and various city leaders about the idea of a major lodging and resort development located inside Clinton Lake State Park, which is just west of Lawrence.

“With K-10 (the South Lawrence Trafficway) on track to be completed, that really adds to the potential of Clinton,” Jennison said. “Clinton is one of our great lakes. It may have one of the nicest marinas in the state, it has a stable water source, and it is close to a vibrant community. It has a lot going for it that would be attractive for a resort.”

Jennison, however, said it likely would be at least another year before the state is ready to begin accepting proposals from private developers interested in building a resort.

He said the next step in the process is having more detailed discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Jennison said he is optimistic the corps will be open to a long-term lease for a resort on federal land at the lake.

The last time a resort project was seriously considered at Clinton was in 2001, and the issue of a long-term lease was a stumbling block, Jennison said. The cost to extend city water and sewer service to Clinton State Park also was a concern.

But Jennison thinks new corps policies will help with the lease issue, and he said the Lawrence city limits is significantly closer to the state park than it was in 2001.

“Plus, I think our timing may be right,” Jennison said. “The potential growth the city is talking about with a new sports complex could tie in very well with what we want to do.”

Jennison said the state likely will be willing to consider a variety of ideas from private developers about what type of resort would be appropriate for the lake. In 2001, a development group had proposed a 150-room hotel with a conference center.

Jennison said that type of development is still what he has in mind, but he’ll be interested to see other proposals too.

Megan Hiebert, owner of Clinton Lake Marina, said she’ll also be interested in seeing how the process progresses.

“They will have a lot of things to look at,” Hiebert said. “They’ll have to select an environmentally appropriate site for sure.”

Jennison said there were about four locations in the state park that could be considered. Previously, developers had focused on a wooded point near the marina, but Jennison said it is recognized that site could create some ecological concerns.

Hiebert, who has met briefly with Jennison about the resort idea, said she’s ready to hear more about what the state has in mind.

“I definitely like the idea of additional tourism at the lake,” Hiebert said. “I think it could create a really positive economic impact for the whole area.”

Jennison said he anticipates having a public meeting to discuss the resort idea early next year, if the process remains on track.


kuguardgrl13 5 years, 8 months ago

A hotel? Gross. Build some cabins with a rec hall/conference hall and a fire pit. You don't see hotels on lakes. That's tacky and ruins the atmosphere.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

They actually HAVE cabins you can rent nightly at Clinton. They have recently built more of those, I think there are 6-8 of them now, in Campground 1. They are quite nice looking from what I have seen.

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree build more cabins, have rangers do nightly talkes around a camp fire, thats more outdoorsey than a hotel--------

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

There are actually many talks and seminars that go on at Clinton, both on the State Park side and over on the Federal side at Bloomington East and West. If you subscribe to the Clinton Park facebook pages, you can get all the details on the next ones!

hujiko 5 years, 8 months ago

Please, no. Some areas should never be developed. Clinton's scenery is perhaps the best thing going for it.

nut_case 5 years, 8 months ago

I concur! I wouldn't even build cabins - leave the lake natural!

Terry Sexton 5 years, 8 months ago

I vote cabins & please note this is only one potential example of economic growth that can occur as a result of magnet projects like the rec center.

Jeff Barclay 5 years, 8 months ago

Will they also expand area for recreational boating? On nice days there are boats on top of each other trying to tube and ski- very, very difficult to ski. Resort? Very bad idea!

Matt O'Reilly 5 years, 8 months ago

I hope they don't end up plowing under some of the great trails that exist at Clinton Lake. Keep it cabins, or at least smaller sized.

lunacydetector 5 years, 8 months ago

since it's so close to lawrence, they need a really nice resort that would draw thousands of paying customers.

cowboy 5 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't mind a nice resort with some waterfront . Jeez , what else is there to do around here. Put an awesome restaurant and a nice environmentally conscious designed hotel and spa. I'll go. Just don't let some loser like compton or any local architect have anything to do with it.

something like the boulders in north Scottsdale , design molds into landscape , lovely place , great dining , spas , golf , add a waterfront . Do it !

BringBackMark 5 years, 8 months ago

Gee, drive from KC to stay at a hotel and look at a big mud hole, or drive 3 hours to Tablerock.... What a decision!

Ken Lassman 5 years, 8 months ago

Doesn't Fish and Wildlife understand that what the main draw for an urban Lawrence community is access to some trails, woodlands, prairies and water? Another golf course when there is already one below the dam that is underutilized is just not getting the concept. Resort? Why do we need another hotel?

There is a profound lack of imagination in such schemes, and also a lack of understanding about the true value of having wild habitat so close to an urban setting. C'mon, F & W folks, get with the mission!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

This is the model for the new US economy-- tax breaks and government subsidies to wealthy developers to plow under/pave over a park to build a resort for the wealthy-- but it'll create (well, transfer, more likely) a few jobs for minimum-wage service workers, so they call this "economic development."

deec 5 years, 8 months ago

It's the global model. There's a big fight in Northern Ireland right now because the developers want to build a mega-resort and golf complex one mile from the the Giant's Causeway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

They're probably just following the model of Donald Trump and the way he crapped all over Scotland and anyone standing in his way in trashing an irreplaceable coastline of sand dunes, all for an unnecessary golf course and resort for the wealthy (and to pump up Trump's already mountain-sized ego.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Here's an interview of the documentarian who chronicled Trump's travesty-- an excellent expose of how sick and corrupt and ego-driven capitalism has become.’s-callous-capitalism/

deec 5 years, 8 months ago

I think I read that Trump was also pressuring Scotland not to build wind turbines off the same coast he destroyed because it would allegedly ruin the view.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Yea, he's shown making those statements in the documentary. He comes across as a complete AH, and I don't there is a shred of manipulation of context to make him look that way. He's the poster child for how arrogant plutocrats can be.

repaste 5 years, 8 months ago

Something about paving big chunks of our state parks does not sound quite right.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

They took out all the trees and put them in a tree museum, And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see them.

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Thanks, Joni.

KSManimal 5 years, 8 months ago

If people want a resort hotel, they should build it in a city where habitats are already paved over and the viewscape is already concrete and steel; and preferrably on private lands. Leave our state parks and other reasonably un-developed public lands alone.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Kansas already has the fewest public lands of any state in the union. Let's not put even more of the little we have into private hands.

cowboy 5 years, 8 months ago

We aren't talking about the giant redwoods here , lose about 100 acres of ragweed and gain a resort. Do any of you ever leave lawrence on a vacation ?

Ken Lassman 5 years, 8 months ago

Get a clue if you think that the land around Clinton is just a ragweed patch, cowboy. I think the library has a copy of the book "Wild Douglas County" that describes the native oak hickory woodlands, prairies and wildlife around the lake, or drop in and ask the state park officials for some brochures.

Better yet, walk a dozen miles on the varied trails or shoreline and find out for yourself first hand. You might be surprised at what all you find along the way, and it'll be more than plastic bags and ragweed pollen. Don't forget your camera!

cowboy 5 years, 8 months ago

Get a Clue...Yep folks are traveling in from around the country to look at our sacred frigging pastures , get over yourself , it ain't Yellowstone. I have traversed alot of trail at Clinton on foot and horseback. Local losers like yourself think this habitat is all that , it is simply overgrown farm ground and not "special" .

Ken Lassman 5 years, 8 months ago

Who said it's Yellowstone? And what's wrong with enjoying the "back 40" more than some godawful sprawl hotel? I've been in pretty much every county in our state and found plenty of pleasant cricks, pastures and woods in pretty much all of them. This corner of the state, particularly south of the Kaw, could stand to have more stands of woods, prairies and the like, even if some of it is CRP prairie, creek buffers and overgrown fields reverting back to woods. There's certainly a chunk of that kind of land around Clinton, but it's still wildlife habitat and some of that land is flat out gorgeous. Ask one of the rangers out there to give you directions to the Colblentz prairie, or see some of less disturbed sections of native woodlands in the Deer Creek valley or around Woodridge.

If anything, private landowners around the public lands around Clinton should be encouraged to manage their land as native habitat, perhaps creating corridors up to the Kaw River Valley, over to Lone Star or down the Wakarusa Valley and over to the Baldwin Woods. Now in a generation or two, you'd have some real wildlife corridors and great places to go, instead of Johnson County gone to seed as far as the eye can see.

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