Rock Chalk Park Recreation Center
The City Commission has approved plans to proceed with Rock Chalk Park. Construction is underway.
Project Renderings and Plans
View the latest recreation center architectural plans and renderings.
Renderings and plans (11.1 MB PDF)
There have been extensive discussions and meetings involving the City Commission and the community regarding Rock Chalk Park and a new city indoor recreation center. The process leading up to this point has changed over time but is now focused on a partnership between the city and Kansas Athletics to co-locate at a site north of 6th Street, off of George Williams Way near the northeast corner of the 6th Street and K-10 intersection.
The Rock Chalk Park site, located off of George Williams Way, consists of a total of approximately 89 acres, adjacent to 46 acres which is already owned by the City and includes the area along Baldwin Creek. The site was recently rezoned by the City. The portion of the property proposed to be transferred to the City for the recreation center and associated amenities includes 26 acres, 5 of which would be a pad-ready site for the recreation center. All this property will eventually be transferred to the City in fee-simple title. The site includes ample space for the proposed facilities as well as additional unique amenities, such as shared use paths, as shown on the site plan.
A development agreement has been drafted between the City of Lawrence, RCP, LLC (a KU Endowment-related entity), Bliss Sports, and Bliss Sports II, setting forth the terms of agreement amongst the entities for the construction of the city's recreation center and associated amenities, the transfer of property to the city, and the construction of infrastructure that will jointly serve the KU Athletic facilities and the City's facilities. The city's portion of the project is capped at $22.5 million after a generous donation from Bill and Cindy Self's Assists Foundation in the amount of up to $2 million. At their June 4 meeting, the City Commission voted to proceed with the Recreation Center and is currently finalizing all of the necessary agreemnets to make the project a reality. The project is expected to open in 2014.
What does the city get for $22.5 million?
The following provides a graphical representation of the development agreement. Please note, the renderings and plans provided show the cross-court configuration. The courts will be striped to allow for half-court and full-court use for basketball, as well as 16 full-size volleyball courts.
How will the city pay for this project?
A countywide sales tax was passed by the community in 1994. The city uses its share to fund, in part, parks and recreation facilities and programming. City staff is projecting net operating costs of the facility at $350,000. This figure is the difference between projected operating revenues and costs, and is detailed in the attached spreadsheet. The City would bond the project to fund the capital costs of the construction of the recreation facility and the infrastructure. The capital costs could be financially accomplished within existing resources (sales tax and City capital budget), assuming projected natural growth in sales taxes over time. The attached spreadsheet details these projections for sales tax collections and the City's capital budget includes $3 million in 2013 and $1 million in 2014 for the project. Additionally, the funding for the capital and operational expenses for the recreation center will still allow the City to complete routine maintenance project that it currently completes, within existing resources. A listing of these types of maintenance projects for 2012 is also attached. Start-up equipment and furnishings costs (basketballs, bleachers, security system, concession equipment, etc. - anything that is not a fixture) for the facility, will be solely the responsibility of the City, funded from various recreation accounts. This amount is in addition to the $22.5 million cap.
The city believes that the project be an extraordinary opportunity for the community. Not only does it address our much-needed indoor gym space needs, the project provides the opportunity to host sports tournaments in our city, capturing sales tax revenue from retail sales to out-of-town visitors and recapturing revenues currently lost to other communities. Additionally, the project provides a synergy with the KU Athletic facilities, a synergy that would be unique for the State of Kansas and the entire region. The collaboration allows for the maximization of shared infrastructure. Also, the city's past fiscal restraint has placed it in a position to take advantage of this opportunity to leverage the future growth of existing tax dollars. Now is a unique opportunity to add this recreational amenity that will benefit the community for many years to come.
At their June 4 meeting, the City Commission voted to proceed with the Recreation Center and is currently finalizing all of the necessary agreemnets to make the project a reality. The project is expected to open in 2014. The staff report is available here.
Construction of the Recreation Center is expected to commence in the summer of 2013 with completion expected in 2014.
- Recreation center renderings and plans
- Rock Chalk Park Staff Memo
- Project chronology (to Dec. 2012)
- Site Plan
- Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis
- Basis of Design Report, Oct. 17, 2012
- November 8, 2012 Public Meeting Handout
- 11/08/12 Letter from the University of Kansas Endowment Association
- Letter from University of Kansas Endowment Association
- LPRD Presentation