Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

State scraps latest plan for Clinton Lake resort, but tourism leader wants to keep idea alive

October 4, 2013


The latest plan for a resort at Clinton Lake State Park has been scrapped by state officials, but the state's top tourism official said he hopes a new proposal for a Clinton resort will develop.

"I'm not ready to give up on it, because I'm convinced that type of facility could work at Clinton and would be great for Lawrence," said Robin Jennison, the state's secretary of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

But Jennison confirmed that state officials have rejected the lone application the state received this summer when it put out a request for proposals to build a 175-room hotel, resort and conference center at Clinton Lake State Park west of Lawrence.

Jennison declined to discuss specifics of that proposal, which was submitted by Overland Park-based LodgeWell Resorts, but in a letter to city officials the state evaluation team said it became "apparent that this project would not/could not be financially feasible for the State of Kansas."

Lodgewell officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Jennison, however, said he wants the state to craft a new request for proposals that perhaps would attract more interest from developers. He said the previous process may have misled potential developers into thinking the state was only interested in receiving proposals for at least a 175-room facility. A feasibility suggested the market could handle that size of hotel, but Jennison said the state likely would be open to a smaller resort.

"I know I talked to one developer who thought that was just too big," Jennison said. "Maybe we want to do some type of boutique hotel instead."

Jennison said the state also needs to have more detailed conversations with the city of Lawrence about how much it would cost to extend city sewer service to the state park site.

A timeline for creating a process to accept new resort proposals hasn't been determined yet, Jennison said. He said he wants to give developers more time to study the potential of the market than was available during this last process. But he said he doesn't want the resort idea to just fade away, either.

"We don't have a timeline, but I can tell you that I'm going to start working on it immediately," Jennison said.

The state's Department of Administration and its Department of Commerce also were involved in seeking the last round of proposals, and likely would need to be consulted on any efforts to restart the project.


nick_s 4 years, 8 months ago

Bad idea. Lawrence & Clinton will never be a regional attraction. Please dont try to turn our lake/town into something hokie. Leave it alone. Thanks, but no thanks Sam & crew. Sounds like another sweet public/private partnership where the citizens of Lawrence get the shaft.

Has Robin Jennison even been out there recently? Having been to the swimming beach on the Southwest side of the lake recently, I will say it is terribly low & muddy. Not incredibly appealing to the regional boating community I would imagine. Not that I didnt enjoy myself, but if coming from out of town, with several other regional lakes in the area, it wouldnt be my first choice. I could be completely off base, but I dont see Clinton being a huge draw.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 8 months ago

Probably never noticed, but I've blogged every time the Corp Vs. Kansas comes up. Good grief, for years and years. Met with officials in Topeka, and bore so many friends need to rest it. Which I plan on doing. I give up, let Kansas stay Kansas I guess.

Best outdoor and so much prettier a state than most know. Heck, even in the state folks poke fun, but I challenge those who mock to really travel the state. So much history, so many wonderful sites. We are not a mountain, nor an ocean border state, but we do have merit.

I'm a almost a 3 decade transplant. Love Kansas, love Dougie County. In fact el wifo and I just dined on Mass Street for perhaps the last time this glorious afternoon. El wifo and I met here. So many great things in Larrytown, including this newspaper.

I'm giving it all up. Wonderful rural home built by local carpenters, never ever will have a home like this again, sure of this. A home like mine would never be possible in 30 states in our nation, not affordable. I see this type of living all over Kansas, and we should never apologize to our East and West coasters about affordability.

The feeling Lawrence has when the seasons change, including tw seasons extra here. Winter Spring Summer Fall and when the students leave and come back. Everything great about this area, from tractor pulls in Vinland, to old punk rockers playing live downtown. Who can forget shotputters tossing lead balls downtown.

But.... am moving to state which allows boatdocks, homes on the lake, and eaze of access to the water. My new home is 2 city blocks from the lake (golf cart 3 minute trip) and a boat waiting at the dock.

FarleyM 4 years, 8 months ago

Sorry. But, Kansas is not a destination. It is fly-over country. People on the coasts think of Kansas....well never.

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Not only a flyover because of limited tourism possibilities; in fact Kansas was assessed to be the least likely location for tourism and the most boring state in the Union. Regardless of what Brownie wants to do for developing tourism, it ain't gunna happen. Couple this with a backsliding political situation dominated by wingnuts, Kansas will loose any good will it developed in the past and will continue to reinforce it's standing of the nations laughing stock.

FarleyM 4 years, 8 months ago

You are delusional if you think people of consequence think of Kansas at all. Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, are places that are used to hide things of value in case of national emergencies.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 8 months ago

Years ago I used to take clients, (I worked for an international business) I too thought Kansas had nothing, yet Euros, and other clients especially Asian customers kept asking and asking, about the wide open land they were traveling through.

They would ask to stop my trip and just wish to look at our vast wonderful countryside.

More and more Western Kansas landowners are finding out how profitable to lease hunting land to NYorkers/East Coast hunters. Five hundred acres could be worth 20-30 K just to let a few hunters access. Hopefully no more hunters are giving away hunting land for free. Do we tax it?

The U.S. is thirsting for a Nat Park which is horse friendly. There are more than you think type people who would love to ride horseback/wagon camp over several days. Hint...Tall Grass

Several of our ponds are rated extremely high on great fishing areas.

Open eyes Kansans.................You sit on a great pc. of Earth.

FarleyM 4 years, 8 months ago

Open eyes and fill it up Kansas with people? Crazy thinking.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Where's the money? Tax dollars for a resort instead of public education? There is something wrong with this picture.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 8 months ago

Missouri funds many many many state projects with Kansas touiristo bucks.

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