Archive for Thursday, February 13, 2003

Leadership needed for Eudora’s downtown revitalization efforts

February 13, 2003

The periodic e-mails we receive from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing announcing the latest round of grants for downtown revitalization makes it seem the money is there for the asking. In all likelihood, time-consuming work on the local level led to the success stories.

On several occasions in the last few weeks, City Administrator Mike Yanez has expressed the view that Eudora's downtown should be a viable part of its future. It is just this kind of vision and leadership we hoped for when the City Council hired Yanez last year. But with the swimming pool bond issue slated for April and the possible renovation of the current middle school on the horizon, Yanez appears to have plenty on his plate for the coming months.

There has been recognition in the past that community stakeholders should take leadership roles in downtown's redevelopment, and it must be conceded changes at this newspaper have contributed to the lack of progress in those efforts. Downtown property owners would be natural leaders for such an effort, but all residents should be given a voice in what could be a source of community pride.

A consensus might also be reached how best to encourage investment downtown. One potential measure would be a downtown redevelopment district such as the one created in Gardner. Property owners in such a district would be eligible for rebates on increased property taxes paid on improvements. There is a move in the Kansas Legislature this year that would allow a similar rebate on sales taxes within a redevelopment district.

There is plenty of work and research to do on the issue. We hope someone or some group steps forward to lead the effort so that Eudora might someday announce its own success story.

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