By Associated Press - Thursday, September 4, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Sedgwick County officials are considering their options after none of 10 potential buyers made a bid for the closed Judge Riddel Boys Ranch in Goddard.

The county closed the ranch in July after unsuccessfully trying to persuade the Kansas Legislature to increase funding sent to the county, which operated the ranch. The county sent out requests for groups interested in leasing the property for 10 years and three groups toured the ranch last month.

County officials announced Wednesday that none of the groups made an offer for the ranch, The Wichita Eagle reported ( ).

Assistant County Manager Ron Holt said he and other county officials will meet soon to “consider what options are available for the property.”

The ranch served about 40 boys considered at medium to high risk of committing additional crimes. It provided secured housing, education, counseling and vocational training.

Union Rescue Mission executive director Denny Bender said in a letter to the county that the group decided not to lease the property because it did not want to incur significant financial obligations to renovate a property it wouldn’t own. The group had considered leasing the ranch for use as a rehabilitation center and shelter for the homeless.

The county estimated last year that the ranch would need a minimum of $2.6 million in repairs to continue functioning as a home for troubled boys. It needs upgrades to its boilers, water systems and sewer. It also is not compliant with federal disability laws and has asbestos and lead paint.

The county operated the ranch on behalf of the state, which paid $126 per boy per day. The county said it was spending about $200 per boy per day. The Kansas Legislature gave the county $750,000 in additional funding in the fiscal year that ended June 30 but declined to provide more funding for the current fiscal year.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,

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