Residents concerned about future of Clapp golf course

WICHITA, Kansas – Dozens of residents made their voices heard Thursday night, saying they would like to see Clapp golf course preserved as-is.

The city would like to make around $3 million in improvements to the course to boost attendance and potentially re-establish it as a learning course.

The proposals for improvements to the course include:

  • Install a driving range
  • Shortening the course
  • Pitch-and-Putt course
  • Learning and events center

But one of the ideas to pay for the improvements continues to draw controversy. An option for funding the improvements could include selling an almost 2-acre parcel at the corner at Harry and Oliver. That proposal drew fire from golfers who want the whole piece of land preserved.

“There’s nothing wrong with that golf course the way it is,” Bob Runyan, who had just finished a round of golf at the course Thursday, said. “[Clapp] donated that land with the stipulation that it remain a golf course. Now where they get the idea that they can change those things, I don’t understand.”

“We can point to Clapp park and say this is ours and this is one of the best things in our community and we want to keep it in tact,” Monty Cruse, a neighboring resident and golfer, said. “We don’t want a business coming in there and spoiling that for us.”

Since the land was donated to the city before 1990, the park board has the final say over its fate, not the City Council.

Some park board members are hopeful to find other ways to pay for it – like bonds or special tax assessments.

“There should be a variety of ways that we could help finance the improvements that are needed in this very old park that has had no major modifications for the last 30 years,” Hoyt Hillman, the park board member who represents the district including Clapp golf course, said.

City park staffers said the improvements are needed to increase revenue streams and attendance, since the city’s golf department is reliant only on the revenue it generates.

 

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