Design, structural improvements crack open city’s front door’
Eudora appears to have another grant option to spiff up the city's "front door."
The state has a grant program through which cities can get up to $300,000 for improvements -- such as a decorative streetscape for downtown Main Street -- that doesn't require forming a downtown association or matching funds from the private sector, City Administrator Mike Yanez told the Eudora City Council at Monday's meeting.
The need for a separate chamber of commerce for downtown businesses and equal investment from business and property owners is what halted Eudora's attempt to get a community development block grant to pay for decorative improvements like brick sidewalks, landscaping, decorative lighting and benches along downtown Main Street.
Yanez said the city engineer would present more information about the grant at a later date.
"Once we get all the moving parts together, we can come to the City Council with a full project," Yanez said.
Main Street also stands to get infrastructure upgrades from 10th street to possibly as far as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks north of downtown. Because it is a joint city-county project, both jurisdictions' engineering staffs are working to develop an equitable county payment for the project to improve that section of Main Street, which is also Douglas County 1061.
Dan Harden of BG Consultants, the city's on-call engineering firm, said outcomes of the infrastructure project would include overlaying paving and solving drainage issues along the street. One of the main goals, Harden said, would be to improve the overall appearance of the road, which he said served as Eudora's "front door."
Looking at detail photos of patchy asphalt and crumbling curbs of Main Street, Council Member Rex Burkhardt said it gave him the opportunity to see the roadway as people do when coming into town.
Mayor Ron Conner said he saw the project benefiting more than just those driving down Main Street.
"I think this is something the city needs to do," he said. "I think this could go a long way to revitalize downtown. It's not going to do it all by itself, but it's an important part of it."
The infrastructure improvements are expected to cost about $650,000 split between the county and city, and the decorative improvements are expected to cost about $500,000. Harden said the city could break down the projects during several years to make them more feasible, but he reminded the Council that smaller projects mean economies of scale are reduced.