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More twists with recreation center project: KU Endowment now requiring city to pay for land; UPDATE Self's Foundation again planning donation to city

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Think of it like a buzzer beater, or more accurately, like three of them. The buzzer is about to sound on this more than year-long debate on whether the city should move ahead with a $25 million recreation center in northwest Lawrence.

City commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday will consider signing an agreement that moves the project toward a bid letting.

But before they do, three new twists and turns to this ever-changing proposal have come in just before the buzzer. Here’s a look:

• If you are like me and thought Kansas University Endowment was going to donate the 26 acres the city’s recreation center will sit upon, you were wrong.

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.

The $780,000 will be applied to the $25 million maximum price KU Endowment has guaranteed the city project to come in at. In other words, the fact KU Endowment is charging the city for the land won’t increase the maximum price the city will have to pay for the project. So, you’ll have to decide how much any of this matters. I’m not exactly sure at the moment why KU Endowment wants the land to be paid for rather than donated, but I’ve been told that because of the way the deal is structured with various LLCs and such that donating the land may be problematic from a legal or tax standpoint. But I don’t have firm details on that. If I get some, I’ll update this.

But the idea the city will have to buy the land does seem worth noting because one of the reasons the city is pursuing this project is because it believes it is getting a value. Yet, the city is now paying $780,000 for a 26-acre recreation site when it already owns a large site near Overland and Wakarusa drives, which the city long touted as an excellent site for a center. Some folks may be surprised that the city would pay for a new recreation center site when it already owns one.

I suspect a few people also may note that when the city was considering building the project on the west side of the South Lawrence Trafficway, it was proposed the city would receive a donation of 50 to 60 acres of land — from the Schwada family — that the city would own outright. That proposal didn’t call for the city to pay for the land.

Corliss said the $30,000 per acre the city will pay to KU Endowment is equal to what KU paid for the property. Again, the $780,000 doesn’t increase the maximum price the city will have to pay for the project. But it does increase the chances the check the city writes to KU Endowment will be bigger than it would have been otherwise.

• UPDATE: Well, count Bill Self and his Assists Foundation back in the game. I just talked with Erin Zimney, executive director of the Assists Foundation, and she said the organization is still very much planning on making a donation — likely in the $1 million range — to the city's recreation center. That was welcome news to city officials because on Thursday afternoon City Manager David Corliss told me the city no longer was planning on receiving a donation from the foundation. I had heard that same sentiment from other city officials in off-the-record conversations as well. Zimney said she's not quite sure why the city thought the donation was off the table, other than the city and the foundation had not talked about the possibility in recent months. The last public statement from the Assists Foundation was in March, when the project was still slated for property on the west side of SLT. "Our plan has always been to support a recreation center, if indeed it does happen," Zimney said. She said Self and his wife, Cindy, were both very excited about what a recreation center could provide for area youths. Zimney said the foundation likely would wait until after the city accepts a bid to build the recreation center — which likely would be in mid-April — before it formalized a donation to the city. Zimney said she did not think the foundation would be financially supporting the KU portion of Rock Chalk Park, although she said board members found that project to be exciting as well.

If you remember all the way back to November 2011, when the city was contemplating a $15 million center on land at Wakarusa and Overland drives, one of the driving forces was that KU Coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation was prepared to make at least a $1 million donation to the project.

Well, Corliss now has confirmed to me that the city is no longer expecting that donation. This isn’t much of a surprise because the idea of a donation from the Assists Foundation hasn’t come up much recently at City Hall. Ever since the project grew and moved to the east side of the SLT, I had gotten the sense that the idea of a donation to the city was up in the air. But now we have a city official confirming it.

I’ve heard it is still possible that the Assists Foundation may make a donation to the project, but its money would go to KU Endowment. I haven’t yet chatted with the Assists Foundation, but I’ll attempt to do so and provide an update.

• You also may remember that one of the added benefits of having a recreation center that is much larger than a standard recreation center is that there would be room to house a “wellness center.”

Indeed, the 181,000-square-foot design has about 7,000 square feet for a wellness center. What it doesn’t have at this point is anybody to run it.

The assumption has been that Lawrence Memorial Hospital would operate a wellness center, although what exactly would be included in that center hasn’t been very well defined yet. But city officials have confirmed that LMH hasn’t made any commitment to be part of that wellness center, and is not likely to make a commitment before the city will bid this project.

In other words, the recreation center will include about 7,000 square feet of what the building industry calls “spec space.” It is still possible LMH will want to do the wellness center. I cover the LMH board and the subject has come up, but so far the board hasn’t engaged in a full-blown discussion about becoming involved in the project.

Various city officials told me the city always can request proposals from other health care companies that want to run a wellness center in the city.

That could get very interesting. There is speculation that KU Hospital would be a group interested in running a wellness center in the city. And who knows if other Kansas City or Topeka hospitals would be interested in the space as a way to better attract Lawrence patients to their hospitals.

The question becomes whether the city — which technically owns Lawrence Memorial Hospital — is really interested in allowing the city-owned recreation center to be used as a way for a potential LMH competitor to gain a toe-hold in the community?

Another option is the city could use the 7,000 square feet of space for additional recreational purposes. There already are groups that are looking to change the design of the center. A group of local handball and racquetball players have asked the city to consider building a couple of courts in the center. An even more unique proposal has come from horseshoe pitchers.

Apparently, indoor horseshoe pitching is becoming more popular, especially since the sport’s demographics are trending toward the older side these days. Many older pitchers no longer like to be out in the summer heat or winter’s cold to pitch in tournaments.

Now, if indoor horseshoe pitching gets added to the facility before Tuesday’s meeting, that truly will be a buzzer beater worthy of Sportscenter.

Comments

Stop_the_Madness 1 year, 10 months ago

It sounds like the value of the improvements to the land have been reduced by $780,000.

Catalano 1 year, 10 months ago

And this from the staff report:

If the City does not proceed with recreation center:

§ If city doesn’t proceed with recreation center, then the city would agree to reimburse RCP for its actual costs to prepare the pad-ready recreation center site and would negotiate its participation in the necessary infrastructure supporting the KU facilities.

So how much would that cost us?

Taxpayer2 1 year, 10 months ago

What has changed to the bottom line? Still $25M. Still getting a $1M donation that goes away without this. Still have an opportunity for a wellness center. Nothing has changed. Build it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

If it's such a great deal, it ought to be easy to convince the voters in a referendum election. Wouldn't you like the ability to vote for it, taxpayer2?

https://www.change.org/petitions/city-commission-city-of-lawrence-public-vote-on-the-public-financing-of-the-regional-rec-center

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

We voted on the library. We voted on the T. We vote on lots of things. We deserve a vote on this, too.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 10 months ago

More shoes have dropped on this project than an octopus with a Nike contract. Every week or so, some new detail dribbles out. It is time to say NO until the public really knows all the details of this murky project and not wait until it's underway .

Pepe 1 year, 10 months ago

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse of a deal for the city, this comes along. Please commissioners, don't do this.

deec 1 year, 10 months ago

This thing has been a scam from the get-go, and it just gets dirtier and dirtier.

irvan moore 1 year, 10 months ago

a week before voting to approve the taxpayers are made aware of more changes to what we were led to expect, mr. corliss and the city commission really need to stop and get all the details out in the open. honesty and openness in government is important, i'm going to go out on a limb here and say i believe mayor schumm is an honest man and will call a halt to this project and go back and start over, hopefully i am correct

Keith 1 year, 10 months ago

Smoke and effin mirrors all the way down. And yet our bought and paid for commissioners will make sure this gets done before the upcoming elections so there's really nothing we can do about it.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

This project is getting more outrageous by the minute. The current City Commission's arrogance in continuing their efforts to "push" this project through is appalling.

mdlund0 1 year, 10 months ago

It would seem that we have lots of carts and no horses. KU endowment already bought the land, so it would seem that the city has some arm twisting that it could do here: Donate the land or we're out and the utilities are on you. Also, "Spec Space" with no tenant before a decision is made? Seems a bit dangerous.

jack22 1 year, 10 months ago

But Fritzel said he was doing this becasue he loved us and now he wants us to give the flowers and ring back?

lawrencechick 1 year, 10 months ago

Once again, can we please get back to building the original West Lawrence rec center. If we have all this extra money, build another outdoor pool which is a guaranteed success. Anything else should be a private venture.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

I like your idea. I think most of us agree that there is a shortage of indoor recreational space in Lawrence. An appropriately sized rec center in the West Lawrence area, where most of the newer development has occurred, is probably in order. Also, a second pool, perhaps next to the rec center, would seem to make sense. The downtown pool is well used and typically crowded. A pool in West Lawrence would attract not only current users of the downtown pool, but also folks who now choose not to go all the way downtown and hassle with the crowd and parking.

Surely we can do both for far less than 25 million dollars on land the city already owns. i

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

This city memo indicates the cost coming in at 32 million $$$$$$$ http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/assets/agendas/cc/2013/02-19-13/rcp_staff_memo.html

Is this number before or after "these new twists"?

How can the city vote on this matter? This memo implies the CC may vote this Tuesday.

leftylucky 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe the city should charge 2 million a year for the environmental damage to baldwin creek park and drainage rights .

pizzapete 1 year, 10 months ago

Prime farm land goes for about $4,000 an acre and I'm not even sure this land would be considered good farmland. Sure after the city invests $75 million putting in new roads, sewers, traffic lights, etc., it could be worth $30,000 an acre, but why in the heck should we be paying full price for the land if we're the ones paying for all the infrastructure needed to make this land so valuable or even useable?

Catalano 1 year, 10 months ago

Chad...what was the cost per acre of the land purchased at Overland and Wakarusa? And how many acres is that? That's a critical piece of info we need. Thanks.

lunacydetector 1 year, 10 months ago

the assists foundation was the original driving force behind this recruiting mecca....why did they bug out and when did they do it? If bill self isn't going to be a part of this, then the city should drop the whole thing.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 10 months ago

Gets worse and worse as the days go by, and that's before a shovel has moved a speck of dirt.

Taxpayer2 1 year, 10 months ago

On the one hand, if you reveal all information as it becomes available people think it is dishonest and controlling the message

On the other hand If you hold information until it is all worked out people are accused of a back room deal. Doesn't seem to be any way to win with this crowd. The real problem here is trust.

jack22 1 year, 10 months ago

"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

It has nothing to do with how the information is revealed to the public, whether piecemeal or once all the details are worked out. In a true, decent and honest democracy, the important public debate occurs AFTER ALL OF THE IMPORTANT SPECIFICS are publicly known.

The problem we have here is that most of the city commissioners have seemed hell bent on pushing this through without knowing all of the specifics, and without receiving informed opinions from the public on the entire project.

For the last several months, it seems that every week or so a new detail emerges that the public needs to digest and question.

My question: Are you through guys, or are there more specifics about this deal that will be forthcoming?

My advice: Whoa, pardner, let's slow this thing down. Take your time. Once a complete proposal has been hammered out and finalized, then, and only then, should the REAL public debate start. And since its so close to the upcoming primary and subsequent election, wouldn't democracy be better served if the project becomes the major issue of this election, rather than being pushed through by a lame duck commission?

Has the current City Commission no shame or respect for its constituents?

Like pregnancy, there is no such thing as being "partially democratic." Anything short of true, full and complete democracy is tyranny of those with power.

Catalano 1 year, 10 months ago

This is just contributing to making Lawrence a very dark spiritual place.

mdlund0 1 year, 10 months ago

Well then, perhaps you should have bought it before KU Endowment got their hands on it. I wonder why you didn't...

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

"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.

Corliss said the $30,000 per acre the city will pay to KU Endowment is equal to what KU paid for the property"

$30,000 per acre for unimproved property is NOT a bargain. Simply because KU paid that price does not make it a smart buy nor a bargain.

$30,000 an acre is " boom town economics" and inflationary on top of that. Remember when USD 497 paid $23,000 an acre for 75 acres? Is it any wonder land owners love to see taxpayers dollars come running to bail them out of a reckless purchase that was bought when the Bush/Cheney bankers were financing just about anything with a bit of fraud attached to it.

NO IS THE ANSWER --- go use land WE TAXPAYERS OWN NOW!

Put this matter to a vote!!!!!!

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Taxpayer may have paid that price on Overland Park however that is no justification for paying premium prices again. THAT IS NUTS.

These type of projects increase the value to property surrounding a project which is why the real estate industry should be setting aside land at no cost to taxpayers. Not only does it increase value it also makes the surrounding properties easier to sell ........ can we say more attractive!

City hall needs to get off the corporate welfare bandwagon.

Pull the plug. Taxpayers have NEVER had the complete picture nor have WE ever had accurate numbers.

If the project goes over estimates does anyone believe taxpayers WILL NOT get duped again?

Time to pull the plug!!!

Budgets_Smudgets 1 year, 10 months ago

Paying anything to KU Endowment (or whatever entity...RCP, is involved) is a payment to the Fritzel familty. The City of Lawrence is transferring public money to a private family. And to a privately owned family controlled sports center, which will be controlled by a lease agreement that Not One Single Person has yet seen.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

I would say City Hall build a $30 million $$$$$$ Vo Tech campus that could be supported with student fees 24/7. Allow the management to be USD 497. This is far better use of those 1994 sales tax dollars.

Students graduate with the fundamentals of how to support oneself instead of damaged bodies that increase the cost of health care.

I have read recently that corporations are looking for VoTech grads and those with 2 year degrees as well. So the story went is this type of education is valued at a salary of $64,000 whereas a high school diploma brings about 35,000 - 42,000k.

Taxpayers get results with new small business ventures thus more employment.

I vote higher education over a field house. Higher education has been worth lots of $$$$$$$ to Lawrence,Kansas

Pull the plug on the Field House!!! More speculation than substance = risky investment.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

"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."

Who made that decision? Which city commissioners are behind this nonsense?

This project has been deemed fiscally reckless = time to pull it from the agenda and pull the plug.

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

57chevy 1 year, 10 months ago

Sounds like I am the last supporter of the rec center that reads the LJ world. Let me just state that I wholeheartedly agree that the city commission couldn't have done a worse job getting the rec center approved and built. But lets blame the commissioners for this and replace them at the next available election rather than scuttling a critically important addition to Lawrence. The biggest health problem facing the US and coming faster than we are ready for in our children is obesity and lethargy. Anything we can do to encourage some form of athletics is crucial. A rec center will do just that. If it gets a dozen kids to be more active and prevents them from developing adult-onset diabetes and all the other complications of being fat and lazy, then it is worth it. I expect it to do even more to promote health. If it does, It will actually save money in the long run. Clearly, the financial arrangements need to be carefully scrutinized and, if somebody is screwing the city, lets throw them in jail. But, lets not punish the children and young adults of Lawrence for the impompetence of the City commission or the greed of local developers.

Catalano 1 year, 10 months ago

"But, lets not punish the children and young adults of Lawrence for the impompetence of the City commission or the greed of local developers."

Then let's build a CITY rec center on CITY-OWNED PROPERTY that taxpayers have already paid for. It'll be a lot closer to the children who need it NOW, rather than some time in the far, distant future. Heck, some of them might even be able to walk to it.

jack22 1 year, 10 months ago

Don't kids already have playgrounds, tracks, and basketball courts at their schools? And isn't a good deal of this center going to be set aside for people to sit and watch KU events with no participation at all from the community? Why are we being forced to buy a jet airplane when all we really need is a Volkswagen? And why are we being asked to buy any land from Fritzel when the city already has property available waiting to be developed?

MarcoPogo 1 year, 10 months ago

Are you saying that the Holcomb Park area is full of thin, fit kids? Cuz that's wrong.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

You seem to be ignorant of a wide variety of facts.

Joe Hyde 1 year, 10 months ago

So much smoke. So many mirrors. So many different looks as the terrain closes in. This is a box canyon ambush that Lawrence taxpayers are getting stampeded into. How can KU Endowment guarantee that the city taxpayer portion of this combo project won't exceed $25 million...when solicitation for bids have not yet been advertised on the open market?

Sounds to me like KUEA hopes the sale of those 26 acres will appear normal and legitimate in order to help ward off an NCAA investigation (among other worries). An investigation which could, if things were to go totally haywire, result in the NCAA hitting KU athletics with the "death penalty".

Clark Coan 1 year, 10 months ago

We really should have a right to a referendum on this. It would probably be approved by voters but let the voters decide! I already advance-voted for Amyz, Soden and Criqui.I bet they would put it up for a vote.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

I know Michael Rost would. See his comment below. I went to Ms. Soden's facebook page to try to find her position on the matter. Looks like somebody has already posed the question to her, ie., does she support putting the rec center to a public vote. Hopefully, she will respond. I am curious of her answer.

1 year, 10 months ago

I think we should go back to building the neighborhood-sized rec center at the city-owned property next to Free State High School, like we had planned on doing up until November 2011. Then we can have a more leisurely community-wide discussion on #1. do we want a larger building at RCP? and #2. what do we want that larger building to be?

Leslie Soden lesliesoden.com

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 10 months ago

Shady developers with sketchy backgrounds, shadowy behind-the-scenes deals and no disclosure until it's a done deal. What's not to like about this?

bmoody51 1 year, 10 months ago

Please do not refer to the City Commission in total. One Commissioner, Mike Amyx, has voted against this project since its inception.

irvan moore 1 year, 10 months ago

i agree, mr. amyx has been an advocate for the citizens

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

There are plenty of opportunities for parents and children to get exercise in Lawrence,Kansas. It's getting some parents to do their job that's lacking.

It was safe for Amyx to vote no just before the election. There were four other votes to keep pushing no matter what. He has never pushed for a vote on this matter.

Keeping the same faces around changes nothing and Mike has been a commissioner for a total of about 20 years. Amyx with Dever and Schumm = more of the same

I say Rost - Soden - Criqui with Dever and Schumm will provide a better opportunity for some change. I prefer 3 new faces to any incumbent.

Yes put this matter up for a vote.

I say what is lacking is an opportunity for Vo-Tech training without driving for 30-45 minutes = $10-$15 in gas round trip.

Jayhawks64 1 year, 10 months ago

Chad,

• If you are like me and thought Kansas University Endowment was going to donate the 26 acres the city’s recreation center will sit upon, you were wrong

Please be specific: What made you think KUEA was donating the land?

rhhays 1 year, 10 months ago

First and foremost, this project should have gone to the residents of Lawrence for a vote. That would have enabled us to ensure the majority of the citizens want it, provide their buy in, and provide an idea of the number of people who want to use the new rec center.

Since it does not look like the residents are going to be given an option to vote for this project, the City Commission needs to require the entire project's plans and contracts to be made public, so the residents of Lawrence can review the entire project and then be able to provide their Commissioners with input on how they would like to see this project implemented. It is essential for a City Commissioner to enable their constituents to become informed about every aspect of a project their city is involved in. This is done by complete transparency of the entire project.

If elected to the City Commission, I pledge to be committed to transparency so my fellow residents can review the entire project as a whole to provide me their opinion as to whether the city should go forward with a project. Then I pledge to advocate for that opinion.

Representative government is based upon the idea that those who are being represented can become informed about their government’s proposed activities so they can then convey their informed opinions to those who they have entrusted to represent them in government, their elected officials.

If you would like to find out more about my thoughts about being a Lawrence Commissioner, please “Like” my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/HaysForCommissioner and go to my website at: http://www.reesehays.com

Reese Hays, Candidate for Lawrence City Commission

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Reese, I agree with you. Now, put your money where your mouth is and make the same comments at Tuesday's city commission meeting, and you will have my vote.

MichaelARost 1 year, 10 months ago

I signed the petition and believe this project should be subject to a full public vetting process which includes a referendum.

I find it deeply troubling that even at this late date many in city government do not appear to know exactly what is going on. It's a lot of money to commit to a project when no one seems to understand all the details.

MichaelRost2013@gmail.comp>MichaelRost2013@gmail.com>

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Bravo, Mr. Rost. You have my vote. If you are serious about winning this election, please go to the Commission Meeting on Tuesday and vocalize the position you just articulated. It's time to put a stop to this runaway train.

You are absolutely right. "This project should be subject to a full public vetting process which includes a referendum." To date, the vetting process has been an absolute sham.

Anything less is very unKansas-like and exceedingly undemocratic.

Matthew Herbert 1 year, 10 months ago

What an embarassment to our city that we have an elected commission that is still even considering this proposal.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months 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.

Catalano 1 year, 10 months ago

Hmmm. Seems the city forgot to add the "enclosure" when posting correspondence from the National Parks and Recreation Association today:

http://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2013/02-19-13/nrpa_ltr_city_mgr.pdf

I think "enclosures" count as part of the public record, don't you?

Looking forward to Chad's article.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

That's a very interesting link. And according to it, Lawrence already has well more than than median average of publicly owned basketball courts.

friendlyjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Lawrence doesn't need every idea that pops into a commissioner's or KU staff member's head. Lets not send money for once and enjoy that feeling. What started a gesture from Bill Self has become a burden for the tax payers.

leftylucky 1 year, 10 months ago

Turn the endowment into the IRS . Form 13909 . in the Kansas business entity database Ku endowment id number is 0237305 Kansas athletics id number 0338327 Assists foundation id number 3990926 Take away the tax exempt status of these non profits.

KEITHMILES05 1 year, 10 months 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.

jack22 1 year, 10 months ago

You make it sound like if we don't build this all the tournaments KU already brings to town are going to suddenly dry up or something. KU isn't going to have more tournaments just because they're moving the location and staging them farther from campus. I'm pretty sure KU and the city of Lawrence will continue to grow and prosper whether we build this or not. I actually think it'd be better if they build it closer to campus and we as a city built our own facility on land we already own.

But I think you're right, us normal people want a recreation center because we're tired of yelling at those young folk to get off our lawns with their baseballs, footballs, and other fun. All us grumpy old men need to band together and move to the West side of town where all the normal people live.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"they never owned it or even used it"

You're either lying or just ignorant of the facts.

Hudson Luce 1 year, 10 months ago

This, exactly: "What the commission needs to do is: 1. All five unanimously vote to not pursue a city rec center. Pull the plug, revive the issue in two years. 2. Spend the next two years in cleaning the town. Alley improvements, gap sidewalk improvements throughout the entire city."

If you look at East Lawrence and North Lawrence, and the existing neighborhoods east of Iowa Street, there's easily $25 million in infrastructure upgrades and repairs which need to be done. It's a foolish waste of money to spend it on still yet another recreational center, we need to fix and upgrade what we already have, rather than go into debt building new facilities and letting what we have now fall into disrepair and ruin.

If land developers want a recreational facility in order to enhance the saleability of their projects, they should build them as part of their project as a dedication to the city along with other needed infrastructure.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

This has been smelling like a bailout I do declare. Kinda like the previous USD 497 BOE did for Steve Glass if my memory serves me well on 75 acres of unimproved land. Pasture and farm land @23,000 tax $$$$$$ per acre.

If voters support incumbents,a former city commissioner and anyone who would think like this... it's saying this is okay let's do it some more.

Isn't odd we're always told it's the lower income neighborhood children that need this type of access yet it is 10-12 miles away from those who most need it?

Pull the plug!

SouthernMan 1 year, 10 months ago

Incredibly weak mayor and even weaker city administrator. This deal should've been done months ago. Any wonder why nothing gets done in this community?

Anthony Mall 1 year, 10 months ago

It seems not one if these idiots has a clue as to what's going on!!! Why the rush?? Why has this changed for the 30th time?? Seems like someone is pushing this through as fast as possible and something doesn't add up here!!! Scrap the whole plan and go back and draw this up without all of the rush...

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

The city’s largest neighborhood group is now officially calling for a citywide election on the project and is expressing concerns that the proposed bidding process won’t adequately protect the public.

Board members of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods unanimously agreed to submit comments expressing concern about the proposed process to build a regional recreation center as part of a public-private sports park just north of the northeast intersection of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway.

“As we see it, the project as proposed falls far short of the desired standard of public bidding and cost certification,” Laura Routh, the newly elected president of LAN told me this morning. “Under the conditions outlined thus far, we have no assurance that taxpayers will get full value for their money.”

LAN also took the position that a citywide election on the project should be held, “given the magnitude of the project and the resulting long-term debt to be incurred by taxpayers.”

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/town_talk/2013/jan/4/lawrence-association-of-neighborhoods-ca/

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

“I have done a lot of feasibility studies on that stuff,” Beckner said. “You have to be real serious to make it work. Every event out there is contested at this point, and by several groups. And there is not a lot of money in it to begin with. You have to have the hotel and restaurant space to make it work.”

jhawk1998 1 year, 10 months ago

The City should not be buying land when there is city-owned or potential donated land available. Furthermore if the idea is to provide recreational facilities to those on the west side of town that can't afford gym memberships then building it out in the country does not serve that population. Stop the bs and call it what it is. Then let the voters decide.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

In a civilized manner let YOUR commissioners know!

Mayor Bob Schumm schummfoods@gmail.com Home (785) 842-6729 Work (785) 842-7337

Vice Mayor Michael Dever mdever@sunflower.com (785) 550-4909

Commissioner Hugh Carter hughcarter@sunflower.com (785) 764-3362

Commissioner Mike Amyx mikeamyx515@hotmail.com Home (785) 843-3089 Work (785) 842-9425

Commissioner Aron E. Cromwell aroncromwell@gmail.com (785) 749-6020

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

The birth of this fiasco began about here at least this is about when the public at large got wind of it. This is a high dollar PLAY concept make no bones about it. Does it ever stop? http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

PLAY Overview http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

PLAY Committee Members Kelly Barth, Mark Buhler, Dave Corliss, Fred DeVictor, Rick Gammill, Mike Grosdidier, Sue Hack, Paige Hofer, Bonnie Lowe, Pam Madl, Julie Manning, Scott Morgan(USD 497), Wayne Osness, Linda Robinson(USD 497), Bob Sanner, Ernie Shaw, Doug Stremel and Doug Vance.

The Mission Statement of PLAY http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

Background and Process http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

The first step in the needs assessment was to collect data from a variety of sources. Three methods were developed to collect data for this study. The design team has completed the following: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

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