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.