Archive for Friday, February 15, 2013

Self’s Assists Foundation clarifies it still plans to make donation to recreation center

February 15, 2013


It appears Friday was a million-dollar day for officials at Lawrence City Hall.

On Thursday evening, City Manager David Corliss told the Journal-World he no longer expected to receive a donation from Kansas University Coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation to help pay for a proposed $25 million recreation center.

But by Friday afternoon, the executive director of the Assists Foundation said the group still planned to make an approximately $1 million donation to the project.

“Our plan has always been to support a recreation center, if indeed it does happen,” said Erin Zimney, the foundation's executive director.

She said the foundation likely would wait until the city accepted bids to build the center before formalizing a donation.

Self’s Assists Foundation announced in March it intended to make a donation to the recreation center. But since then, the project has changed locations and undergone several other changes.

City Commissioner Mike Dever said he suspects the changing nature of the project created confusion about whether the foundation planned to participate.

Zimney, though, said the foundation never meant for the city to think the donation was not going to be made. She said Self and his wife, Cindy, are both very excited about the project.


Phil Minkin 5 years ago

Is the million dollars contingent on the rec center being part of Rock Chalk Park? If the city decides to build on land near Free State do we still get the money or is it a bribe to be a part of the Fritzel Folly?

Bob Forer 5 years ago

What in the world is going on here?????????? The City Commission is planning to vote on this project in four days, and our own City Manager, who is apparently the key provider of information on the project, didn't have a clue as the reliability of a million dollar funding source.

What else does Mr. Clueless not know about this project, and what is he hiding from us? .

How in the hell can Mr. Corliss make an informed recommendation to the City Commission when he wasn't aware of a million dollar source of revenue. A million dollars!!!!! We're not talking about a five dollar donation.

This guy makes the Keystone Cops look like professionals.

My God, this is a city project and outsiders know more about it than the city leadership.


It's time to stop this charade and put the breaks on what has become a runaway train. It's time for the decent interval of a rational and fully vetted decision making process before the City Commissioners attempt to cram a 25 million dollar project down the taxpayers throats, which they apparently intend to do so on Tuesday. This is as dirty as politics get. It stinks to high heaven, its wrong, and its downright undemocratic. Are we living in Kansas, or are we living in Pyongyang?

What is the big rush? If we are going to build new recreational facilities, lets do it right, and come up with a reasonable plan that meets the needs of Lawrencians. More importantly, let's make sure we know what we are voting on before we vote on it.

Folks, I plan on being at Tuesday's meeting and I would urge all of you who are interested in true democracy to attend the meeting as well, voice your opinions, and help take our city back from the charlatans on the City Commission who claim to represent us.

Hopefully, those candidates for City Commission who oppose the current process will be at the meeting as well and voice their objections.

Phil Minkin 5 years ago

Sync, I can't be there on Tuesday, but I strongly support your action. The whole Rock Chalk Park idea reminds me of Lawrence's support of not 1 but 2 outlet malls. Outlet malls were a really big deal early on when they were few and far between, but by the time Lawrence got in they were slightly less common than McDonalds. With similar facilities in JoCo, Wyandotte county and elsewhere RCP is a white elephant waiting to be built.

Bob Forer 5 years ago

Hell, yes. Put it to a vote. We want democracy, and we want it NOW.

City Commission candidates Michael Rost and Leslie Soden have gone on the record supporting a vote on the matter. In fact, Michael Rost has signed the petition. Don't know whether Leslie has, but on her facebook page she stated that she agreed with Mr. Rost.

How many candidates may we vote for in the primary?

Leslie and Michael have my votes. Have any of the other candidates voiced their support for a public referendum on the issue?

leftylucky 5 years ago

IRS form 13909 . Everyone should fill one out. One for the endowment and one for kansas athletics. Probably one for assists foundation also.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

The million from the Self family changes nothing regarding this ever changing transaction.

I would appreciate the Self family donation go to the East Lawrence Hike and Bike trail that connects to the River Levy specifically designed by Mike Myers. The west side has plenty of neighborhood trails.

That said there are still more than $30 million tax dollars involved and the questionable process in general.

"City Manager David Corliss now has confirmed the city is set to pay KU Endowment $780,000 — or $30,000 an acre — for the site."

Again who that made that decision? Which city commissioners are pushing this nonsense?

What financial commitments have been made and signed off on? Why was this done? If it was done. This is no way to do business.

homechanger 5 years ago

East Lawrence has plenty of rec centers. Those of us who pay the bulk of this city's property taxes need a rec center out west.

Joe Hyde 5 years ago

If our city commissioners respect coach Self's personal integrity and his direct multi-million contributions to Lawrence's economy (by virtue of running a clean and winning basketball program), they will find a way to delay this rec center project or vote it down outright.

Doing either will free coach Self from his earlier personal promise to help fund the project. I have no doubt that his sense of generosity and willingness to help with community projects will live on very nicely, and be re-applied at his discretion to other municipal projects that are built on much stronger foundations.

I submit that coach Self's initial involvement in supporting the rec center project was based on perfectly good intentions but a flawed scouting report. He should not be further victimized, made to feel compelled to carry through on a promised $1 million personal contribution just to protect his honor. It is now the job of our city commissioners to protect him -- which they can do by shelving this project and starting anew, next time doing everything by the book.

KEITHMILES05 5 years ago

I've stopped contributing to the Assists Foundation as it doesn't support state wide projects. The only beneficairies have been KCK and Lawrence. The rest of the state gets nothing.

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