Downtown’s future bolstered by interest
There was evident last week that key ingredients are present that will ensure the prosperous survival of downtown Eudora. The ingredients weren't the announcement of a windfall grant or the relocation of a core business. What was demonstrated last week was that Eudorans retain an interest and affection in the historic district.
Those feelings were evident when Eudora High School business students agreed to help tidy up downtown. It was also demonstrated when David Alvarez and Tommy Pyle approached a Eudora City Council member about starting a downtown farmers' market. The market would give Eudora gardeners a place to sell their excess produce. It would give residents another reason to visit the retail district one day a week during warm-weather months.
The small increase in traffic a farmers' market would bring would be welcomed by the district's businesses, but it won't spark a revitalization of downtown. But it plants a small kernel that could if it is followed with other new and creative ideas about how the two-plus blocks of storefronts and civic buildings can evolve in Eudora's third century.
Downtown will prosper if it offers entrepreneurs profitable opportunities. City government can help with that cause by being open to new suggestions, as it was with the farmers' market initiative.
City government can also help by providing a vision for what the district could become. A key element in that task is City Administrator Mike Yanez's search to secure grant funding for a facelift of streets and sidewalks for the district. Eudora residents can contribute to that cause by writing letters in support of the application. Those letters should be sent to Yanez at Eudora City Hall, P.O. Box 650, Eudora 66025, but should be addressed to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
In a sense, downtown is owned by everyone in Eudora. It shares features with other historical downtowns, but is a unique asset that offers all in the community a link to the past and shared public space. We would encourage residents protect that asset by writing letters in support of the grant application.