Closed college track rankles KCK taxpayer

08/13/2014 8:24 PM

08/13/2014 8:24 PM

The problem

Terry Winchell knows his tax money helped build the track at Kansas City Kansas Community College, and he’s beyond irritated that the college won’t let him use it.

More than once, he says, the track has been closed to the public, ostensibly because of construction, rule violations or damage inflicted on the facility.

The damage isn’t apparent to Winchell, but he speculates that it was caused by children attending nearby soccer games — kids who should be watched by their parents. One answer, he believes, is to patrol the area more heavily and penalize the violators and their parents.

“By closing it like this, it penalizes all the people that actually use and paid for the track,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

The answer

College officials say they don’t relish closing the track to adult members of the public, but they also must protect the taxpayers’ investment.

After considering several options, officials chose to install an automated gate system. Until that’s ready, the track will remain closed.

“Walkers will register with campus police, get an access badge and have access to open the gate during specified hours,” said Brian Bode, the college’s vice president who oversees administrative services.

“We hope to have a means of tracking usage and a means to block abusers of the track from future use.”

The Watchdog hopes a satisfactory arrangement can be reached. If amenities can be shared, it’s better for all.

Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to watchdog@kcstar.com. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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