Archive for Friday, June 21, 2013

Editorial: Resort support

It’s exciting to see state officials taking a strong renewed interest in developing a resort at Clinton Lake.

June 21, 2013


The idea of building a resort at Clinton Lake has been around for awhile, maybe the time finally is right for this development.

For one thing, the project has a strong champion in Robin Jennison, who heads the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Jennison reportedly is negotiating a 50-year lease with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accommodate a 175-room hotel inside Clinton Lake State Park, which is located on the north side of the lake, just west of Lawrence. On Tuesday, he told the Journal-World that he already had visited with four developers who were interested in taking on the park project. The state has set a July 17 deadline for developers to submit proposals.

A feasibility study prepared by a national hotel consulting firm presents an attractive vision for a destination resort at Clinton Lake. In addition to the hotel, the study envisions a conference center with a 6,500-square-foot ballroom and about 9,000 square feet of additional meeting space, three restaurants ranging from full-service to casual, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools and facilities for water sports and other recreation activities, including hiking, sailing and access to the nearby city-owned Eagle Bend Golf Course.

The goal is to create an attractive venue for a variety of events, ranging from corporate retreats to weddings and family reunions. State officials hope the resort would draw visitors from a multi-state region, but, if done right, it also could be a perfect spot for many local and Kansas University-related events or even individuals who just want to enjoy a meal at a lakeside setting.

The idea of a resort at Clinton Lake has been around ever since the gates were closed on Clinton Dam in the late 1970s. Discussions got more serious in 2001, but prospective developers couldn’t attract the kind of local financial support they needed to get the project off the ground.

Extending city water and sewer service to the site was, and still is, a key factor. In 2001, extending city utilities to the site was estimated to cost $1.2 million. Construction costs have risen over the last decade, but city utility services have continued to march westward toward the lake so the distance an extension would have to cover has shrunk. Jennison also hinted that the state might be willing to offer some financial incentives to help support the project.

The city currently is financially extended in many directions, but a resort at Clinton Lake is a good project that deserves city support. City officials should work closely with state officials to see how they can help make the resort a reality.


streetman 5 years ago

At the rate the lake is reported to be silting-in, a resort may end up overlooking slough.

Joe Blackford II 5 years ago

As a Kansan who majored in Natural Resource / Park Mgmt @ KSU, 1976-78, and worked for the CoE for 6 summers @ John Redmond (aka "armpit of the Tulsa District"), Fall River & Elk City Reservoirs; I came to be familiar with turbidity measurements.

My wife worked @ JR, Fall River & Clinton (1981), so she's lent a Clinton perspective as to the idea of a 2nd lake resort in KS (Acorns Resort @ Milford since 2007).

  • Jennison's 50-year lease ~ what's the CoE's estimate of Clinton's "recreational" lifespan?

The cost-benefit analysis which determined Tuttle Creek Reservoir should be built included positive $ from recreational use. One would think those #s must have since been skewed, as the CoE has abandoned 3 marinas @ Randolph S.P., the entire parks formerly known as Baldwin Creek, Carnahan Creek & Garrison.

CoE / KDWPT keep extending the lives of a handful of ramps by graveling them following every flooding. These ramps "make do" for those with jon boats, little else. Last summer, the floating Wildcat Marina was unusable up until 2013 spring rains. It has now been positioned farther into the lake, as it rested on the dry lake bottom last year.

Shoreline = IF the shoreline recedes & rises, recreational facilities must adapt. There were several Memorial Day weekends when all campgrounds above the dam @ JR were underwater. Our more recently-built reservoirs have placed recreational facilities below the dam. Locating a resort below a dam, with views of its backside, reduces the scenic vistas.

Joe Blackford II 5 years ago

As Kansans, we should remember that we're 50th in per capita public lands. Just like when the Big Red One w/30,000 pop. returned to Ft. Riley, no mention has been made of the proposed resort's reduction of per capita public lands square footage for all Kansans. Allowing a contractor to claim Clinton public lands will help to maintain our least in the US status.

A clue re: state of siltation of KS lakes = following the Dec. 2010 drownings of 3 duck hunters @ John Redmond, the KC District CoE took a boat with side-scanning sonar to JR for the recovery of the youngest victim. The ONLY depths over 7 FEET were in the former river & creek channels. Equipped with a snorkel, most HS basketball teams could ford the entire lake (provided they weren't entombed in the silt). Tuttle Creek Reservoir was intended to have a 50-year lifespan. This applied only to the volume of flood waters impounded, NOT the recreational opportunities.

~ Turbidity, similar to viewing a teaspoon in your tall glass of ice tea, only at JR the spoon would disappear upon breaking the surface. It is the most turbid of the KS reservoirs I'm familiar with. We've observed that water quality @ Wilson approaches that of lakes we frequented while living in Missouri, but as a general rule, IF you can see your toes in the water, you're not in KS anymore.

~ Lifespan although the CoE & KDWPT have contemplated the eventual siltation of KS's projects, neither is foolhardy enough to mention the costs of dredging our reservoirs (must include disposal of ag chemicals in silt).

Keith 5 years ago

Put it by the quarry, then the 'resort' hotel won't have to put Magic Fingers machines on the beds.

John Hamm 5 years ago

Take a good look at Lawrence, Clinton Lake, Kansas weather (hot summers, cold winters) then at Lewisville Lake near Dallas. Then try to tell me this will fly!

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