Archive for Thursday, February 12, 2004

City ready for subtle makeover

February 12, 2004

A series of projects that would spruce up Eudora are hoped for the city this year. Mayor Ron Conner delivered a state of the city address Saturday night during the Eudora Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, appealing to the Chamber's help with projects like improving downtown and creating better signage at the city's entrance points.
"I feel it's the time to modernize the gateway to our town," Conner said.
Such signage was intended for the 2004 budget, he said, but money was tight. New Chamber President Theresa Abel, who is also the Eudora News general manager, said the Chamber would continue working on a project started about two years ago to place signs at Eudora's four entrance points. The signs would allow business plaques to rotate among the four signs.
Another facelift Conner recommended -- and which was met with cheers -- was getting new holiday decorations to display downtown.
"The ones we have right now were put up when I was a kid," he said.
Eudora was due an economic facelift, too, as Conner cited the need to entice retail growth to Eudora. Not only were sales tax dollars being taken out of town, but Eudorans were also left with the burden of paying for infrastructure and services largely through residential property tax.
However, Conner said the recently-approved comprehensive plan should work toward alleviating such burdens through its identification of future commercial areas.
In addition to the comprehensive plan, Conner said in the past year the city had accomplished other tasks, such as a study of improvements to Church Street from 12th to 28th streets, as well as hiring a full-time fire chief, new police chief and new recreation director.Infrastructure would take a front seat in the upcoming year, he said, naming projects like: working on an eastside park, activating a fourth water well, improving Main Street, getting the east sewer interceptor on board, and fixing street drainage issues.
On a cosmetic note, Conner said the city planned to repaint the city's water towers and give them a new look. Moreover, Conner said the Kansas Department of Transportation deemed the Church Street interchange worthy of lighting, which Conner said would create a "safer, more enticing entrance to our city."
The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce president, who also shared his thoughts on Eudora's economic development, emphasized the role Kansas Highway 10 played. Larry McElwain, who owns the Warren-McElwain Mortuary Eudora Chapel, said he could remember traveling the old K-10 highway in the mid-1960s.
"The changes are just amazing," he said. "You've got a city on the move out here."
McElwain also praised what was going on in Eudora in terms of job training through the schools.
"When our kids have the opportunity to learn a skill that may keep them in the area, that's a great thing," McElwain said.
He also appealed to Eudorans for help in economic development not just in Eudora but in the county and region, including the biotechnology initiatives, about which Rep. Boyer spoke about later (see "Eudorans," Page 1A).
"That's an initiative that's just getting launched," he said.

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