Former Sedgwick County ranch for troubled boys to be torn down

August 02, 2017 - 2:33 pm

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — By a 3-to-2 vote, the Sedgwick County Commission had decided to tear down a longtime ranch for troubled boys; commissioners Richard Ranzau and Jim Howell were the votes in favor of maintaining the facility.

The commission voted Wednesday to approve contracts to remove asbestos and then demolish the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch near Goddard. The property will be returned to park land for Lake Afton Park.

The decision comes after years of debate on the fate of the ranch, which opened in the 1960s. It was owned by the state but operated by Sedgwick County. The center closed in 2014 after the state refused to increase payments to help the county fund operations.

The county tried to sell or lease the property since the ranch closed but was not successful.

Commissioners who supported the demolition said it would cost too much to repair and renovate the youth residential center.

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