The Garden City City Commission held a town hall meeting Tuesday, mostly using the time to review reports from The Friends of Buffalo Dunes Golf Course and The Big Pool.

Lona DuVall, president and CEO of the Finney County Economic Development Corp. and a board member for The Friends of Buffalo Dunes, presented the golf course’s current plans and requests to the commissioners, particularly one for a new clubhouse.

DuVall said the current clubhouse, which she said is less than 4,000 square feet, lacked sufficient space in the restrooms, pro shop and snack bar and had limited space for tournaments or other activities. Building a new, 6,000-square-foot clubhouse on the property has become a top priority for the Friends organization, she said, and they hoped to complete it within 12 months. She said the project would be managed by The Friends of Buffalo Dunes, and she didn’t anticipate using public funding for the project.

Should the plan go through, the current clubhouse would be repurposed, possibly for storage or overflow programming, DuVall said. The organization also is considering other projects, such as a new driving range and a redesign of the course’s flipped 18th hole, though these plans are still in development, she said.

Assistant City Manager Jennifer Cunningham followed DuVall to present an update on The Big Pool following this season’s opening weekend. Cunningham said the pool had brought in more than 1,200 more people and racked up more than $2,100 more in concessions than last year’s opening weekend.

She reminded those in attendance that the pool’s splash park would be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., opposed to the rest of the pool’s 1 to 7 p.m. hours, and said she constantly saw kids at the former attraction. There were several misconceptions and new information Cunningham told the commission she wanted to clear up. The pool no longer required swim tests for slides, but did require them for the pool’s new Aquaglide challenge course, she said. Swimmers wanting to slide have to be at least 48 inches tall.

The pool will hold lap swims and water aerobics classes and host swimming lessons from the Garden City Recreation Commission, Cunningham said. Many events, including age-specific swims, movie nights, concerts, a glow stick night and a dog swim, will be held throughout the summer. A full schedule can be found on the city’s website.

Visitors are not allowed to bring food or drinks, except clear bottles of water, or personal flotation devices to the pool, but can bring their own chairs, Cunningham said.

Cunningham said to call her at (620) 276-1157 for facility rental, parties and questions about season passes.

No community members took advantage of the town hall’s open discussion, though Communications and Project Manager Ashley Freburg read a Facebook message the city had received from a community member who expressed frustration over zoning codes preventing him from building a structure on his property. Neighborhood and Development Services Director Kaleb Kentner clarified the community member’s comments shortly after, saying the person had not been the only one who had run into the issue, which is one with the 50 percent rule regarding block coverage. He said the planning commission is considering changing the rule when they update building codes.

Jason Hase, head golf professional at Buffalo Dunes, and Roxanne Morgan, executive director of the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau, also came to the podium after the public comment session was called, both to discuss Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.

Hase answered Mayor Roy Cessna’s questions about the course's increased traffic and upcoming Junior Golf sessions, and Morgan addressed the course’s economic value to the community.

Morgan said the course had hosted many sports and social events, including Leadership Kansas, charity tournaments and competitive championships. The economic impact of all the events totaled $2,598,779, she said, proving it to be a worthwhile investment.

The commission took no action, as is always the case at town halls.


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