Clay Center, KS-
Big changes are coming to Clay Center, one of which has caused an uproar this past year, the former Otto Unruh Stadium.
The property, which is located at 501 W. Crawford, is owned by Crawford Investments, LLC, with Matt Thompson, a Clay Center native, and Penni Zelinkoff, who has an address record of Abilene.
Thompson owns and operates Advanced Electric in Clay Center and spoke to KCLY about why he got involved in the purchase of the property.
Thompson stated that when he heard that the stadium was going to be sold, he felt like many others in community, he had mixed feelings. However, he was ultimately concerned that a major developer would purchase the property and do something that wouldn’t benefit the community.
Thompson realizes there’s many different things for the children of the community to do, in regards to parks and playgrounds, but realizes the community needs something more taxed-based.
Much of the old stadium is being salvaged to tie the old stadium to the new location that is currently under construction. The goal posts are getting rebuilt for the Clay Center Community High School, being sandblasted and powder coated by Double L Manufacturing. The city removed much of the grass for the new soccer field. Some of the stone and arches are being stored with the hopes of repurposing them for the new Mark A. Chapman Stadium that is located behind the high school on 9th Street. The light poles are also being repurposed at the new stadium, which was a large cost savings for the school. Thompson also said that the “away” grand stands, from the west side of the field, will be donated within the community for use.
For now, no official notice or plans are being released about what is to come on the property, regardless of the rumors that are being spread about a hotel. Thompson said that those rumors are not confirmed or denied and that they have not spoken with anybody about a hotel, but he has hopes that they can get something to help the community in the location.
But for sure, Thompson said that there will not be a gas station and that they are not trying to bring business to Clay Center that would be in direct competition with what is already in the area.
With tons of options out there as to what to do with the property, he ultimately wants people to be able to stay in town and keep the money local to benefit the community.
For now, their main priority is to get the plot cleared before they reach out to any developers.
Thompson is confident that the new stadium will be a great addition to the community and that the new location is better for the students and athletes alike.
The bulk of the demolition is anticipated to be completed within the next two to three weeks, and developers will be contacted shortly after, with a goal of having something lined up and ready to go within the next 12 to 18 months.
Janet Schnell covers state and local news for KFRM and KCLY. You can follow the KCLY or KFRM Facebook page for more stories.
KFRM covers news from across the state of Kansas, the Northern part of Oklahoma, and Southern part of Nebraska.
KCLY coverage area includes the nine counties of Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Geary, Marshall, Ottawa, Riley, Republic, and Washington.
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