Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2004

City’s ‘shopping’ list grows

More people necessitate more capital improvements

February 26, 2004

The improvements city leaders foresee during the next five years range from mundane necessities to projects that could excite the average Eudoran.
"Some of this stuff has no 'sex appeal,' like sewer lines," said City Administrator Mike Yanez. "And some of this is visionary."
City leaders gathered last week to suggest capital improvements during the next five years.
City Hall
Improving convenience for Eudorans paying their bills, city leaders would like to install a system at Eudora City Hall that would allow residents to pay with credit or debit cards. City Clerk Donna Oleson said the office often had such requests from bill-payers.
Moreover, she said her staff was quickly outgrowing the city offices, catalyzing the need for a new city hall building in the near future. City leaders discussed land the city had to the north of the current building and whether it would be better to add on or to construct a new building, possibly turning the current facility into a community center.

Parks and recreation
In addition to the typical maintenance issue
associated with the city's parks, Bobby Arnold, parks and recreation director, offered several projects that would change how Eudorans play. A skate park was something Arnold said parents had asked him about. However, it was a project about which he and other city leaders had reservations because of liability issues.
Arnold also suggested a community recreation center that could include not only sports facilities but other recreation opportunities as well, such as a senior-citizen lounge.
Cost can depend on how ornate a community wants to go with its center, but Arnold said in some cases community centers could pay for themselves.
The facility was needed, Arnold said. Even though Eudora USD 491 had been generous in sharing its facilities with the city, there were soon going to be too many activities going on to accommodate everyone adequately, he said.
"Community centers can be so many different things," Arnold said, emphasizing that gymnasiums served as more than just sports facilities.
Arnold said he'd seen libraries included in community centers.
"There's so many possibilities," he said.
Some also included an indoor pool, which brought up another vital parks and recreation issue the city will have to face in the next five years -- what to do about the current pool.
With a bond issue for a new pool failing twice, Arnold said the city would have to decide how long and how much money it wanted to spend to keep the current pool running.
Other plans include expanding Pilla Park to the east, adding batting cages at Luci Kaegi Park, and adding a park south of Kansas Highway 10, where Arnold said a lot of recreation program participants lived.
A small way to make a big impact would be to expand landscaping, like adding flower beds to area parks, Arnold said.
"It's just a good reflection on us," he said.

Police and fire
In addition to a new public safety building (see related story, Page 1A), Eudora's police and fire departments anticipate needingvarious equipment and upgrades to run their departments.
Police Chief Greg Dahlem said as the Eudora Police Department grew it would need more equipment for its officers, although the department might not always be able to provide each with his or her own vehicle. Dahlem also said he would like to equip each of the officers with the same pistol.
"We try to keep everybody familiar with the weapon," he said. "If there is ever a situation we need to change magazines or share magazines, we can do it."
Fire Chief Spencer McCabe talked about a thermal imaging camera that allowed firefighters to see heat, detecting victims and pets in burning structures.
"You can see mice running behind the couch," he said, attesting to its precision.
McCabe said the thermal imaging camera would also allow firefighters to see fire inside a wall without causing more destruction by breaking into the wall.

Streets and utilities
The street project that could make a lot of Eudorans happy is the anticipated need to clean up the stream running through Eudora. City Superintendent Jim Boyer said the city would need to remove dead trees and other debris from the stream. Doing so would allow water to flow better, lessening the chance of it backing up.
In addition to previously-discussed street projects, like Church and Main streets, city leaders explored the benefits of a one-time expense to asphalt streets rather than the constant maintenance required by chipping and sealing.
The city's sewer system is looking to get an emergency generator. The electric utility foresees automated meter reading and possibly a new substation, which would be determined by the city's growth rate.
Anticipated needs for the water department include connecting a new well site to the water plant and correcting pressure problems south of K-10

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