The front pages of The Eudora News (June 23, 2005) contained the headline, "Is retail liquor in Main Street's future?"
I applaud The Eudora News for raising the issue of retail liquor sales in Eudora, because new state legislation changes the way Kansas municipalities must respond if they want to maintain bans on retail liquor. However, the article and accompanying illustration raise two concerns.
First, the article's photo illustration apparently misled some members of the public, or at least created false assumptions, about a sensitive topic. I am disappointed that The Eudora News would photograph a clearly identifiable building downtown, use technology to alter the photograph, and feel ethically comfortable enough to label the photograph a "photo illustration," placing it prominently on the paper's front page.
As one of the building's owners, I need to clarify: We have not rented the building for the purposes of selling retail liquor.
Second, if Eudora citizens decide to allow retail liquor sales, I hope the Eudora City Commission, Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor carefully research and think through appropriate locations for any potential stores.
During a meeting at Eudora City Hall in 2003,downtown business and property owners, along with city leaders, heard a speaker from the Kansas Office of Economic Development. As I recall, the speaker urged city leaders and citizens, particularly downtown property and business owners, to work together and identify a specific vision for downtown, a vision that would entice people from both Eudora and surrounding areas.
As far as I know, Eudora has not defined a vision for downtown, although city leaders were making steps in that direction.
I am curious why some city leaders now believe a liquor store would positively impact downtown Eudora. I cannot remember seeing a liquor store in any town or city with a thriving downtown. I doubt a liquor store would bring traffic from surrounding areas because there are at least 25 liquor stores in Lawrence alone.
In contrast, shops such as Eudora's fine quilt shop, flower shop, scrapbook store and tearoom draw many visitors and provide unique shopping opportunities. A liquor store will never have that kind of appeal.
I hope our city leaders will reach out to downtown business owners to outline a thoughtful vision for downtown Eudora, rather than trying to quickly fill vacant buildings.