No changes to Clapp Golf Course for now

08/11/2014 8:14 PM

08/13/2014 12:34 PM

Clapp Golf Course will remain unchanged, for now.

Wichita Park Board members voted unanimously Monday “to accept, file and ignore” a proposal from the city’s golf advisory committee to redevelop the northeast corner of Clapp near Harry and Oliver. The proposal would have offered up the corner for commercial redevelopment and used the proceeds to make improvements to city golf courses.

More than 30 residents attended the meeting, many voicing their opposition to any changes. Several voiced concerns the property would house a convenience-type store or business.

“My wife and I live two blocks from the QuikTrip that was just recently closed, and I can testify to the fact that these places in the wrong neighborhoods can become a gang magnet,” said developer John Stevens. “In that two-block area from where we lived, we had all kinds of social difficulties.”

Park Board President Bryan Frye said that no business has formerly expressed an interest in the property and that it had not yet been offered for sale.

It is not the first time the golf course has been the subject of city scrutiny. The city proposed closing the course in 2011, but residents objected and the course remained open.

Frye said that he understands there was emotion and concern from the residents but that the proposal had merit.

“The two acres … of the golf course is used but possibly underutilized as a performing asset,” Frye said. “Minor course modification makes sense from a commercial standpoint.

“With the right commercial development, this corner could be a catalyst for the area and a much-needed infusion of cash for the golf enterprise.”

After about a 30-minute discussion, Frye moved that the board take the golf committee’s recommendation and advise the park department staff to develop a marketing strategy for selling the two acres.

But park board member Hoyt Hillman made an alternate motion asking that “the board accept, file and ignore the recommendations of the golf advisory board.” Hillman’s motion was seconded; Frye’s died for lack of a second.

Hillman’s motion was approved 7-0.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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