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Attorney questions city's authority to issue no-bid contract for Rock Chalk Park

Excellent work. Also, anyone have any info regarding the legality of funding all this infrastructure of a privately owned complex using dollars meant for "recreation"? We all know it's twisted and wrong, but is it legal?

July 1, 2013 at 11:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Cost estimates for Rock Chalk Park infrastructure come in about $3 million higher than expected; Self's foundation to make $2 million donation

This graph depicts what we were told we were getting, straight from the city website. Can we please get this updated now?

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/...

June 5, 2013 at 8:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Cost estimates for Rock Chalk Park infrastructure come in about $3 million higher than expected; Self's foundation to make $2 million donation

Find below a smattering of quotes from this fine news source one can find with a 15 minute google search. Moral of the story: they've never had a clue... but the theme has been that we would be getting tremendous value for the extreme amount of money we'd be spending. Reality is that well over 1/2 of the money now goes to infrastructure - and the value promised is absent. This is what happens when you build a recreation center outside of town, with all of the associated infrastructure costs that come with that. Oh, and you provide that infrastructure for a KU complex (Fritzel owned) just for kicks.

Why would we do this? See this December 7, 2012 quote: "“I’ve always said this project only makes sense if we stay laser-focused on economic development and growing jobs,” Carter said. “If we grow more jobs, that helps make a lot of these issues in the future easier to deal with.” A dubious claim to be sure, but regardless - one has to wonder if this is genuine use for the 1994 recreation vote that commissioners have used to justify the project? Well over 1/2 of the money goes to infrastructure and we use a 19- year old recreation vote for justification?

Quotes:

June 15, 2012: "But as city officials on Friday released the most detailed figures yet for the project, Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm said he’s becoming more convinced the project is a good deal for the city. That’s in part because the new numbers indicate Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel and his company essentially are offering to finance the project interest free, representing a potential savings of about $8 million for the city."

"The $24 million in payments to Fritzel will not cover any of the infrastructure and road costs to serve the site. The city has estimated it will cost about $2.4 million to extend water and sewer service to the site. Currently, the city is proposing those costs be paid for by city ratepayers. "

August 8, 2012: "City estimates placed the infrastructure costs for the new building at $6.45 million. Corliss said some of the infrastructure costs could be paid using funds from a transportation development district sales tax levied on businesses in the area."

November 7, 2012: "City leaders, however, said they believe the new $25 million proposal represents a good value for the city. An architectural report estimates the total value of the city’s new recreation center and infrastructure will be about $33.5 million. "

January 4, 2013: "The city believes the value of the project as it is currently designed is closer to $33 million, meaning Fritzel would be providing the city a value."

We are not getting a value anymore! We're paying straight up expenses, well over half of which are non-recreation, for an expensive project built outside of any existing residential area. And yes, a $2 million donation is great, but it's going toward... wait for it... infrastructure. No bid infrastructure one might add.

June 4, 2013 at 4:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Development shift?

"In the last several years, commissioners have tried to get other retailers, including Lowe’s, interested in the northwest location but have been unsuccessful because retailers want sites surrounded by more residential development"

Think about this folks. Those who get paid to make sound decisions won't build out there because it's, you know, not actually in town. And this is where our city is building a RECREATION CENTER, a place who's sole puropose is to be accessibile to residents for, you know, recreation. Now, one could say that this is also serving a role as an economic driver so there is worth beyond just "recreation" (maybe we'll get somebody to build out there yet!). But one might then realize that this is a disingenuous use of the 1994 vote for "recreation" that the city is using to justify the project. So far, it appears we're building a county club for the future golf course type developments. Dandy.

May 24, 2013 at 8:33 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Wrong concept

Frankie,
I'm sorry to be the one to have to report this to you. You are talking out of your rear.

There are plenty of "old buildings" that get torn down without anyone hearing about it. Some of them were built so poorly as to hold no value. Some of them have been allowed to degrade to the point that everyone agrees they are not economically feasible to rebuild. And some of them get demolished simply because they're in the way of someone's idea of progress.

There are no stories in the paper about many of the buildings that get torn down. But just because there aren't doesn't mean it's not happening. I'm not saying that's not fine... in some cases, tear away. But you and similarly minded folks cherry pick a couple of instances here and there when really you couldn't be more out of touch with what's really going on. Seriously, do some homework, it will make you a more informed LJW commenter.

May 16, 2013 at 4:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Contentious issue of lighted tennis courts near LHS to be discussed again by city commissioners

And so Mr. Schumm is already seeing the folly in the ridiculous rec center: a whole lot of building with a whole lot of stuff built out of town where no one can conveniently access it. Baffling.

May 8, 2013 at 11:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Trail network

Clark,
This is a great letter and exactly the sort of thing our city should be working on. However, the city commission has opted to tie up 20 years worth of recreation dollars into a giant rec center outside of town that aims to be both a local gym and a regional gym but will likely stumble over itself and fail to do either well.
I hope you're young enough to enjoy the paths we'll be enhancing in 20 years because that's where the money is going until then.

I do hear there will be a trail out by the rec center so I suppose in the meantime you could drive out there to go for a walk!

March 28, 2013 at 9:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Bond reservations

You refer to the previous school board members and are correct that there were some dubious folks running the show. However, I've been nothing but impressed with the current school board and they have my full confidence. The prior school board neglected the elementary schools for years, I'm glad to see that's being addressed.

March 24, 2013 at 10:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Compton says he thinks convention center would be good addition to downtown Lawrence

The 80's called, they want their comment back.

January 22, 2013 at 5:51 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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