Urbandale, Iowa, names trail for Bob Layton

WICHITA — Before he left his position as city manager of Urbandale, Iowa, to take that role in Wichita, Bob Layton learned the city planned to honor him by naming a trail after him.

The irony, not to mention “the funny part of the story,” he says, is that he cut that project out of a capital improvement program right before he left.

So instead, he says, city officials said “that they’re going to name this trail some day in the future after me.”

Saturday is that day.

Layton, an avid runner, will attend the dedication of the one-mile trail through a park.

“We felt it was appropriate to name the trail after him because it represents one of his passions and because he himself helped to develop the master plan for this park,” Urbandale Parks and Recreation Director Jan Herke told the Des Moines Register.

These days, one of Layton’s favorite running areas is through College Hill, where he often runs with friends.

So is that where he might like something named for him one day? Has he given it any thought?

“Probably some on-street bike trail or something, I don’t know,” Layton says.

He does know, though, that he’d prefer for it not to be anytime soon.

Why not?

“To have something named after you in Wichita, you would need to be deceased.”

You don’t say

“I feel like I’m in a congressional hearing.”

– City Manager Bob Layton, responding to intense questioning about the city’s water future from Council member Jeff Blubaugh

You don’t say

“One of my pet peeves is we do tend to work at the pace of government.”

— City Manager Robert Layton, speaking at the Wichita Professional Communicators luncheon today, referring to a new customer service call center he is pushing to have ready by January

“Countryman’s Kansas” to sign off in two weeks

WICHITA — “Countryman’s Kansas” started as a 13-week trial talk show in 1989 but grew into a 21-year regular Saturday feature on KNSS, 1330-AM.

That’s going to end in two weeks.

“I had hoped to make it to 25 years, but it didn’t work out,” says host Gene Countryman.

“It kind of came out of the blue.”

Entercom Wichita vice president and general manager Jackie Wise says she’s shuffling the Saturday morning lineup and moving “Health Insurance Advocate” from noon into the 10 a.m. spot.

She says it’s a “really hot topic right now.”

Wise offered Countryman the noon or 7 a.m. slot in exchange, but he’s not interested.

Countryman says he was offered the 7 a.m. slot 21 years ago.

“It was too early then . . . and it’s too early now.”

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Drake alum Bob Layton’s team — along with his attire — takes a drubbing

WICHITA — Wichita State’s 61-38 trouncing of Drake on Friday had to be painful for any Drake University alum, but perhaps particularly so for Wichita City Manager Bob Layton.

Layton took some ribbing for wearing a Drake sweatshirt to the WSU home game.

“I have gone all season without seeing Eric Sexton except for that game,” Layton says of the WSU athletic director.

Sexton helpfully suggested where Layton might find some WSU clothing options.

“He told me where I could go look at them, yes.”

Layton informed Sexton that he has a WSU sweatshirt that he really does wear.

And Layton wants Wichitans to know he is a loyal WSU fan.

“I talked to coach (Gregg) Marshall this summer, and I said I will be a loyal fan except for two games this season.”

To those who tease or criticize him for sporting Drake’s logo instead of WSU’s, Layton says, “It’s hard to give somebody grief whose team is suffering as bad as ours was.”

WaterWalk may be home to a Marriott hotel

WICHITA — It looks like a hotel could be coming to WaterWalk, but no one is talking about it yet — at least not publicly.

Hotel developer Jim Korroch may be bringing a Marriott flag hotel to the property.

Korroch also owns the Courtyard by Marriott in Old Town and the SpringHill Suites by Marriott next to his Residence Inn by Marriott in the Plazzio development at 13th and Greenwich.

As early as 2004, WaterWalk developers discussed having a hotel at the downtown development as long as it didn’t hurt the city’s business at the Hyatt Regency Wichita next door.

Now, former minority partner Jack DeBoer is in control of the struggling development, and it looks like he’s trying to secure a deal.

But, as is his new policy, DeBoer won’t confirm or deny anything to do with WaterWalk until it’s a done deal.

Several previous deals have been announced for the project only to not materialize.

The city may be involved in the potential WaterWalk hotel.

“I will confirm that we’re looking . . . at a possible hotel project,” says City Manager Bob Layton.

He won’t say what the potential deal is or that it’s even with Korroch or WaterWalk.

“Our discussions are very preliminary.”

You don’t say

“I’m going to go down to Florida and demand it.”
— City Manager Bob Layton joking that if the City Council accepts Florida billionaire Bill Koch’s proposal to lease the Boathouse for $1 a year for 99 years, he’ll personally collect it

You don’t say

“I’d never get there. I’d be left for dead along the side of the road.”

– Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, laughing about an invitation from City Manager Bob Layton to run nine miles with him

You don’t say

“Not to talk too much smack, but a couple city planners soundly beat the city manager in the 10k Saturday.”

Jess McNeely, a senior planner in the city’s planning department who ran the race in 36:56 along with fellow senior planner Scott Wadle, who ran the race in 37:01 (compared to City Manager Bob Layton’s 38:39)

City manager runs for his life

laytonMoses Tum may have won the Bank of America River Run 10K in 32:02, but it was Wichita City Manager Bob Layton’s time that was the talk of certain circles Saturday.

The 53-year-old ran the race in 38:39 and finished 29th overall.

He may have even solved a city issue or two while running. That’s often how it happens for the daily runner, though that’s not what regularly gets him out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to run.

“It’ll hit you,” Layton says of how ideas will come to him. “It’s kind of surprising how that happens. That and shaving. For some reason (men) come up with some of our best ideas then.”

Runner Jim Ryun inspired Layton to take up track and cross country in high school. The mile, which he ran in 4:35, was his race.

“I couldn’t run quite like Jim,” Layton says.

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