New downtown grant opportunity owes much to Yanez
Eudora received the good news earlier this month that the city could qualify for grant money that would provide downtown with a makeover. Fortunately, the money does not have the same stipulations as the Community Development Block Grant the city attempted to secure last year for the same purpose. The earlier grant required the formation of a downtown association and matching private investment as a condition of the grant -- conditions that proved too difficult to overcome in the grant application's timetable.
City Administrator Mike Yanez was behind much of the efforts in the first grant process, and it was he who apparently built on that effort -- with support from the city engineering staff -- to discover the second source of grant dollars. It demonstrates the virtue of persistence.
In an era when faux town centers are a rage, downtown Eudora with its surviving examples of turn-of-the-century architecture gives the community the opportunity to uniquely define itself, something a number of businesses have already begun to explore.
Although it's fortunate the newest grant opportunity doesn't require a downtown association as a precondition, it would be unfortunate if the district's business owners don't take the initiative to create such an organization. It could play a key role in providing a vision of what the downtown could become and trumpeting the district's uniqueness. That leadership and the energy Yanez provides could produce lasting results for the community.