Politics & Government

Wichita’s Clapp golf course proposed to close Aug. 2. What comes next?

Bar K: ‘It’s the happiest place on earth’

Bar K off-leash dog-park is set to open Aug. 14 at the Berkley Riverfront Park. It will have a jungle gym, splash pool and more for dogs, and coffeehouse, bar, cafe, lawn games and more for humans.
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Bar K off-leash dog-park is set to open Aug. 14 at the Berkley Riverfront Park. It will have a jungle gym, splash pool and more for dogs, and coffeehouse, bar, cafe, lawn games and more for humans.

If you’ve been waiting to play Wichita’s Clapp Golf Course, you might want to move fast.

Wichita city staff is proposing to permanently shut down Clapp as of Aug. 2, although it’s not yet clear what would replace it.

The City Council vote to finally shut the course is expected to come Tuesday.

The Park Board voted to close it in September of last year, but the council has kept it operating on borrowed time while an 11-member study committee looked at proposals to redevelop the land as a park.

A plan presented to the council at a workshop in May proposed that there would be no further golf uses at Clapp, with the possible exception of Frisbee golf.

The new park could be anchored by a private business called Bar-K, a dog-friendly bar and restaurant concept that has been successful in Kansas City.

For an admission price, the business provides supervision and space for dogs to romp while the humans eat, drink and socialize with each other.

Also, up to 40 percent of the new park could be water, with boat rentals available to paddle around and fish the ponds.

And another business possibility could be to use the dirt excavated from the ponds to build a grassy mound that could be covered with artificial snow and used for winter sledding.

The hope is those private-sector business ventures would generate some revenue to support public recreational amenities.

No decisions have been made as to what those will be yet, but a sky trail/rope course, picnic areas with firepits, an outdoor amphitheater and pickleball courts have been suggested among the possibilities.

The council will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 455 N. Main, Wichita.

Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.
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