Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Birdie or bogey on land buy?

August 4, 2005

Like so many others in Baldwin City, we were relieved with the final outcome regarding the purchase of the Kapelle property in west Baldwin where the Baldwin Golf Course is currently located.

From the beginning with this proposed purchase, there were too many questions, too many rumors and not enough facts. Of course, it didn't help that the Baldwin City Council held a secret meeting to approve entering into negotiations to purchase the land. That violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Law is still being investigated.

But, even after word -- real facts -- of the proposed purchase came out, the questions and rumors didn't go away. The council wasn't talking about its plans for the 63 acres which had a price tag of $550,000.

All that was bandied about were terms "greenspace" and "recreational use." That's not much to sink your teeth into. People wondered if the golf course was being bought to continue as a golf course. That certainly didn't make sense and still doesn't.

First of all, the city has no business in the golf business. While there may be money to be had in some places with golf courses, it certainly isn't in Baldwin. Second off, the same things especially apply when the course is a real rarity today -- a sand green golf course.

So, the questions and rumors swirled. They kept spiraling after last week's council budget work session where the purchase was figured into next year's budget and helped raise the mill levy after years of mill levy reduction.

The topic brought a good crowd to Monday's council meeting, which is always good to see. Community involvement is so important. Residents had questions and comments.

And, finally, the council had answers -- some real answers. Oddly enough, the best of those answers was an honest one. There are currently no plans for what to do with the area. Instead, the council has decided to form a committee to look into different options for recreation uses for the land. And, the council also provided some money to fund that effort.

Other items of note that were finally shared were that there are no stipulations about reselling the land and its purchase will not adversely affect the downtown redevelopment efforts.

These are all things we needed to know. If nothing ever comes of the land for recreation and, like so many councils before have done, a new council decides to undo what's been done, the city can sell the land -- for more money. What a change that is from the last two land options the city has invested in, only to walk away.

It looks like an investment in Baldwin's future, no matter what happens. A good investment.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.