Partial land sale among ideas to fund improvements at Clapp golf course

WICHITA, Kansas - City park staff acknowledged Tuesday they are studying the possible sale of some land at the L.W. Clapp golf course in south Wichita, among several options to fund improvements.

The flags at the pins on the golf course are now joined by utility markers at the corner of Harry and Oliver, a 1.8 acre parcel of land the city could sell to fund what the city calls much-needed improvements for the course.

“That is not the only option,” Troy Hendricks, golf director for Wichita’s parks department, said. “There are several options and ways we could fund these improvements. And that’s why we’re here, to get the community’s input on what they would like to see us do.”

The city says two separate developers approached staff about selling the land last year, but no formal offers were ever made.

Park officials asked the public for ideas to fund up to $3 million in improvements to boost attendance at the course.

The proposals include shortening the course, installing a driving range and pitch-and-putt along with an events center.

“Rounds of play at this golf course are still declining,” Hendricks said. “We need to do some improvements to this facility to bring people back into it.”

The ideas of how to pay for it include a request for proposal to sell the corner plot, either by itself, or along with adjacent land on Harry or Oliver. Another idea would be a special tax district. General obligation bonds, while presented as another option, are not viewed favorably because of the debt incurred.

While some say they are fine with selling part of the land to ensure the course stays open, most residents say they would like the course to stay as-is.

“Obviously, I’d rather not lose the golf course because it’s pertinent to the area,” resident and golfer John France said. “However, if it’s something we have a choice in, I’d rather not see it. If we can find some other way of financing it, that would be great.”

City leaders say this is the beginning of an ongoing process. They will hold another meeting on July 10 at 7 p.m. at Boston recreation center.

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