The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 91
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 91

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 4, 1997
Page 91
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, - * ' . . • 20 SUNDAY.'iUAY'4;'1997 &ALINA J6URKIAL Lindsborg man plans giant treehouse By LINDA MOWERY-OENNING The Salina Journal "1|~ INDSBORG — Dreams come true I in Wes Adell's world. I I In the past 2% years, $1.3 mil«Ji w «!&3 lion has been collected from businesses, individuals, trusts and other sources for development of the Lindsborg Regional Growing-Out and Compost and Wood Utilization stations. It's a project that has focused the attention of the international environmental community on this McPherson County town of 3,300. Now Adell, director of the tree station and a county commissioner, is dreaming an even bigger dream. And, as with the tree and compost stations, he expects to turn into reality his dream of a 150-foot treehouse complex that would anchor the north end of the proposed Meadowlark Trail, a former railroad corridor that a county citizens' group hopes to convert into a 12.6-mile hiking and biking route. The Meadowlark Tree House complex would serve campers and also provide an education center where visitors could learn about plant photosynthesis and other workings of nature. Adell said the cost could top $2 million, but he thinks the money will be easier to raise than if he had proposed spending $500,000 for a more traditional horizontal building. "We could make something Scandinavian that looks neat and fits Lindsborg, but I don't know," he said. "Why shouldn't we add some sizzle of appeal, of attractiveness, of draw? "It would be revenue creating, revenue generating so we don't have to rely on tax dollars any more than we had to. Almost 90 percent of the funding (for the tree station site) has come about this way." Dream gets mixed reviews Adell, who shows what he calls "a kitchen table sketch" of his dream, presented the treehouse idea to Lindsborg leaders several weeks ago. Reaction was mixed. "I am always in favor of dreams and visions," Lindsborg Mayor Don Anderson told the Lindsborg News-Record. "There will always be naysayers, but visions bring progress." Sometime later, the treehouse was panned in a letter to the editor in the same newspaper. The writer was an opponent of the Meadowlark Trail, which has drawn fire from landowners concerned with such issues as recreationalists trespassing on their property and causing damage. The writer charged that trail supporters want "their own little Disneyland" with the treehouse plan. Another citizen, in an anonymous letter to Adell, called the treehouse — and its creator — crazy. The criticism doesn't bother Adell. He thinks the benefits of the treehouse will sway people in the end. Giant cottonwood With his plan, the treehouse would stand atop a tower with elevators, stairways and rooms dedicated to such things as leaves and animals. The base of the complex would be covered by dirt so as to appear underground. The base would house rest rooms, showers, a gift shop, a meeting room and offices. The whole concrete and steel complex would be built in the shape of a cottonwood, with recycled plastic being used to form limbs and other parts of the tree. It would be built in Old Mill Park near the Smoky Hill River and the proposed trail, which would connect Lindsborg to McPherson, the county seat. Adell believes the treehouse, which would be surrounded by windows and used as a snack bar during the day and a place to be rented for parties and other events at night, would attract tourists to Lindsborg and central Kansas. Visitors could look out across the countryside for miles. During the Christmas season, the treehouse complex would be decorated by thousands of tiny white lights. By talking about it, Adell can almost touch his dream. "We're missing out in Kansas," he said. "We're last in tourism, and this is a real opportunity we can work on." Adell said he has found "some tremendous support" for his idea and the expected approval of the trail by the federal Surface Transportation Board should give the treehouse concept added momentum. Central Kansas Conservancy, a 105-member nonprofit group, hopes to acquire title to the 66-foot-wide former rail corridor in late April from the Union Pacific Railway. KANSAS LEARNING CENTER FOR HEALTH i ** Valeda, the transparent, talking woman ** Health education ** Exhibits on the human body Hours - Mon.-Fri. 8 am to 4 pm Sun. 1 pm to 5 pm (Mar.-Nov.) Admission: $2.00 - adults, $1.50 - students 505 MAIN STREET HALSTEAD, KANSAS 67056 (316) 835-2662, 800-798-2124 KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal Wes Adell dreams of a 150-foot treehouse that would look out over the proposed Meadowlark Trail, a hiking-biking trail planned between Lindsborg and McPherson. How the trees and their leaves lunctlon How birds and squirrels use trees COTTONWOOD TREE (the state tree of Kansas) Handicapped accessible elevators Recycled plastic with the grain and color of tree bark ROOMS Root Room How tree roots work MEADOWLARK THEARE (meeting room) MEADOWLARK TREE HOUSE Lindsborg is the sight for this proposed tourist attraction Wheatland Antique Mall ctr«,UX>it.fl. olntoM^mHniUKindcMtciMea rauowiNv frtctt- iotouotl twoUoMt, tmkn (t-ektmi, italtr tftiu luuiloUt, not or omtltiuunt From Victorian To Primitive Over 40 DMl«r* (913)266-3266 212'S.W.37th,Topeka, KS (1 block N of 1-470 oil Burllngame Rd. at 37th In the Burllngame South Shopping Center, Mon.-Frl. 10-5:30. Sat.-Sun. 10-5 VISA, Mastercard, Discover FOREVER & EVER ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES multiple dealers Glassware • Jewelry • Toys Fishing Items • Primitives • Pottery Tues.-Sat. 10:00-5:30 Sun. By Chance 108 N. Santa Fe • 825-8850

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