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Sedgwick County Wants Federal Restrictions Lifted From Two Parks


Sedgwick County Commissioners want more flexibility when it comes to deciding how to use land at two parks.

They approved resolutions last week to ask the federal government to lift restrictions on Lake Afton Park and parkland in the northeast part of the county.

The restrictions limit the county’s use and transfer of land at Lake Afton Park because the county accepted a federal grant in 1966 to help pay for a comfort station.

Assistant County Counselor Justin Waggoner says the grant was for about $7,000, and came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act which restricts what can be done with property that was developed with that type of money.

Waggoner says Lake Afton Park’s 800 acres were fully functional for multi-use prior to 1966, and shouldn’t be subjected to the restriction.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau says the county will seek legislative changes to end the restrictions.

"While we don’t expect to do anything with Lake Afton, being released from this encumbrance will just guarantee that we can do whatever we want with that park and make changes and whatever and not have to go through this again," Ranzau says.

The restrictions came into play recently when the county was deciding what to do with the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch, a former youth residential center at Lake Afton.

To get around the restriction, commissioners voted to demolish the ranch and return the property to parkland.

The same federal law also affects the 650 acres of Northeast Sedgwick County Park at 77th Street North and 127th Street East.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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