LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence is spending more than $22 million for the new Rock Chalk Park Sports complex in northwest Lawrence while the city has also placed donation boxes at recreation centers in other parts of town to get money to help maintain current equipment.
“I think in many regards it is kind of a slap in the face to residents who live in other parts of town,” said Anne Schulman, a Lawrence resident who uses the recreation center at Holcom Park, one of the area parks with donation boxes for equipment. “The equipment there is not in a real up-to-date condition. They are pouring all of this money into Rock Chalk Park, and they are asking for donations here.”
Tim Laurent, Lawrence recreation operations manager, told The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/SdFLQ9 ) the donation boxes aren’t a sign the city is struggling to fund the maintenance of existing facilities and equipment now that money is being devoted to Rock Chalk Park. He said residents who take Parks and Recreation classes pay a fee to reduce the use of general taxpayer funds, while people who use the fitness rooms aren’t required to pay fees.
“If the folks actually using the equipment are willing to pay, then we wouldn’t have to pass as much of those expenses along to the general taxpayer,” Laurent said. He also said the donation boxes were in place well before Rock Chalk Park and estimated the three donation boxes haven’t accumulated more than $250 in a year.
He also said the city plans to place a donation box at the recreation center at Rock Chalk Park, scheduled to open in September.
“I have no concern that we’re going to let these existing facilities fall through the cracks as this new facility comes on line,” Laurent said. “I understand why it may be a concern, but it is something we take very seriously.”
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com