New boat ramp in Belvue means big changes

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BELVUE, KS — Instead of being at the Statehouse, Governor Sam Brownback spent Thursday morning, in a canoe. His four hour trip down the Kansas River was to show off the recreational and economic value of the 173 mile river.

Nicolette Schleisman explains how a newly dedicated boat ramp is hoping to be an entryway for tourism in one community.

It is the first time LeRoy’s Landing at Kaw River mile 118 has gotten official use

“We need to talk about what we have. and we need to be happy about what we have. this is a glorious place,” said Governor Sam Brownback.

This ramp was officially opened Thursday, welcoming everyone to launch their boats, fish or go camping.

“The volunteers made it happen, everybody had to work together and a lot of people donated stuff. It turned out really good, I think the more people who get involved, the more people will take care of it,” said LeRoy Brunkow, Belvue Mayor.

But if you ask those who grew up here, some say they never though it would be a possibility.

“I mainly remember this place as where the Belvue dump was. we would dump everything here. And so it’s changed a lot since back then,” said Diane Miller Pageler.

Diane Miller Pageler grew up in Belvue, she now just comes back to visit her family.

“I was shocked. It’s beautiful. It’s a great place for fishermen to come, canoes to come, anyone who enjoys the water,” said Pageler.

She and mayor, LeRoy Brunkow hope the boat ramp in their city will help bring in more visitors to their small town.

“Anytime you can call people into town, get em around your town or something, it helps business if you see people coming in and out,” said Brunkow.

Hoping to open up the area to tourism, starting with one ramp.

The Kansas River was designated as a National Water Trail in July 2012 by the U.S.  Department of Interior. It is one of about a dozen nationwide.

Sam Brownback
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, left, raises his paddle at the end of a canoe trip along the Kansas River near Belvue, Kan., Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Brian Leaders, with the National Park Service, paddles with the Governor. Brownback hopes to encourage more recreational use of the river and dedicated the Belvue Boat Access at the end of the canoe trip. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

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