KDOT to help fund connection that would link Youth Sports Complex and Clinton Lake

photo by: City of Lawrence

A map shows a connection that would link two existing segments of 27th Street, connecting the Youth Sports Complex to the Clinton Lake spillway, creating another point of access for the complex, the nearby dog park and the lake.

Plans are in the works to build a road connecting the Youth Sports Complex to the Clinton Lake spillway, creating another point of access for the complex, the nearby dog park and the lake.

The City of Lawrence has been awarded $1.04 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation for the project, which will install an approximately one-mile paved roadway connecting existing segments of West 27th Street on both the east and west sides of the Clinton Lake Reservoir emergency spillway. The connection will create a continuous roadway from the Kansas Highway 10 and 27th Street intersection to East 902 Road at the city’s Mutt Run Off-Leash Dog Park.

The project aims to provide more direct access to the city dog park, nearby Eagle Bend Golf Course and Clinton Lake, as well as improve access to the sports complex, according to a city news release. The connection would provide a second entry/exit point to the sports complex, which currently has only one access point at the intersection of K-10 and 27th Street and commonly creates traffic backups near the intersection.

“Safety is paramount and improvements to this area will only assist in helping travelers to and from the complex and park and trail areas,” Parks and Recreation Director Derek Rogers said in the release.

The new connection will also lead to some changes at the dog park. Under city ordinance, dogs must be kept on a leash, but the mutt run provides an area where owners can let their dogs run freely. The new connection will run adjacent to the dog park and will call for some changes to the park’s layout, details of which will be determined this fall.

Parks and Rec Assistant Director Mark Hecker told the Journal-World that anticipated improvements to the dog park would include perimeter fencing to separate the roadway from the dog park and relocation and expansion of the park’s parking area. Hecker said the changes to the park were not part of the road project itself, and the plan was to complete them prior to construction of the new park road. He said Parks and Rec would be scheduling public meetings in the fall with dog park patrons to discuss anticipated improvements for the dog park.

The KDOT funding is part of the spring 2020 cost-share program, and the city must pay for all of the design costs and match 25% of construction costs. Currently, there is $250,000 for the project included in the city’s recommended Capital Improvement Plan for 2021. The project calls for a 5,300-foot roadway that is 24 feet wide and accompanied by a 10-foot wide shared-use path, according to the release.

The project is one of 24 projects awarded a cumulative $20 million in KDOT funding, as the Journal-World reported earlier this month. Construction on the project is set to begin in December 2021, a KDOT spokesperson told the Journal-World.

Josh Carson, spokesman for the city’s Municipal Services and Operations department, said the next step in the project would be to advertise a Request for Qualifications for engineering design services.

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