By Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The city of Lawrence is being asked to help the state financially back a $70 million outdoor recreation center at Clinton State Park that could include whitewater rafting.

Other potential activities at the proposed center would be a 1,500-acre facility hosting outdoor activities including zip lines, biking, running, hiking, climbing and paddle boarding. State tourism officials have been working on the project for years.

The company Plei would run the center, according to the Lawrence Journal-World ( ). City Manager Tom Markus said Lawrence would have to look for money outside of its current budget if the City Commission agrees to help fund the center.

State tourism officials said the financing tool most likely to be used for the project would be sales tax revenue bonds, which allow state municipalities to use bonds for financing commercial, entertainment and tourism development.

“I think, realistically, it’d have to be new sources,” Markus said. “New development sources plus the sources that would spin off of the retail and the ticket sales that would occur at this location would be critical to determining if this would work.”

The project is set to be presented to the Douglas County Commission on Wednesday.

“We have a lot of commitments on all of our money for quite a while right now, and before we could even think of proceeding, I think with our financial background, we would have to know exactly where every penny was going,” Mayor Mike Amyx said.

State tourism officials said they’ll continue to pursue the project.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

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