Vote expected on proposed Lawrence rec center - KCTV5

Vote expected on proposed Lawrence rec center

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LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

The city of Lawrence might be one step closer to getting a new multi-million dollar recreation center.

Since 2011 the city has been searching for a way to update their parks system.

Rock Chalk Park has been a project the city of Lawrence has been working on for years, but a decision might be made on it Tuesday night.

"I think Lawrence would benefit greatly from a new rec center," Kara Fabin said.

Fabin and her son Zach are big fans of the Holcom Park Recreation Center. The only problem is it's 25 years old and small. Fabin said a new larger recreation center could bring people together.

"It's a place for people to come and exercise and have a sense of community," she said.

A yes vote by commissioners Tuesday night could bring about a proposed $25 million recreation center. If it's built, it would be one-of-a-kind with both the city and the University of Kansas sharing it.

The 181,000-square-foot park would house eight full basketball courts, and 16 volleyball courts, but its developers would also work with KU and build on a new track and field and soccer stadium.

It's a huge project and it's one the mayor agrees is needed.

"We certainly need some more space. We have leagues that are only six games long for our kids and no place to practice, so we are short spaced," Mayor Bob Schumm said.

The city plans to buy the land near Sixth Street and Kansas Route 10 in Lawrence for about $800,000. Initially the county-wide sales tax from 1994 would pay for the majority of the project over 20 years.

As for long-term funding the city said a new recreation center could attract new events to it. Also KU athletics will pay nearly $39 million over 30 years to lease the facility. City leaders said it was the partnership with KU that really made the project work.

"Because we are co-locating on this on this site we can share a number of the infrastructure costs," Schumm said.

The vote on the rec center could come Tuesday night, but it could also be delayed a week. The mayor said there are still a few other items he'd like the commission to have a little more time to review.

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