Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cooperation urged as grant proposal pitched

September 22, 2005

In an attempt to shore up weaknesses in the city's previously failed attempt at a downtown revitalization grant, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and a committee of community leaders brought plans for a new proposal to downtown businesses this week.

The committee began to promote the project to the owners last week by sending a letter delineating their plans for the project. The letter told business owners and renters about the importance of the downtown as an anchor to the city and reminded them of Main Street's diversity of businesses.

According to the letter, "...we need to expand and grow our downtown. As part of the process the Eudora Downtown Project Committee has identified the need to upgrade the appearance of our downtown."

At a meeting Tuesday, the committee unveiled aspects of its newest plan for the business owners. The committee presented business owners with the smells and tastes of downtown cuisine and presented them with the advantages of commitment.

Along those advantages were the tools Beatty and the committee offered businesses to make the grant a reality. Chief among the tools will be the availability of a low-interest loan for storefront improvements offered by Kaw Valley Bank. Once a building owner puts in the time and effort to improve the buildings, they could receive a tax rebate for the assessed value of the improvements for the next 10 years.

"We had some interaction and comments with the grant, questions answered and overall it was a very good meeting," Beatty said.

This particular gathering comes after weeks of meeting and focus on the project. The previous meeting, which took place a week earlier, solidified more aspects of the plan.

"We did an update and approval of the design, and we expanded the grant to two blocks instead of just one," Beatty said.

The funds from the grant, if approved, could help many aspects of the city. Such improvements might include street improvements, lighting upgrades, landscaping and other general beautification measures, the letter said.

According to the letter, "These opportunities are being presented because we need your support to bring about a successful project."

The letter and meeting will be followed by individual visits from the committee to local businesses to further cement their commitment to the project.

For now, the committee has informed the business owners of what could be accomplished with the grant, and what's needed of them. The next step will be to get signed letters of commitment from the business owners.

Once the committee has the letters, they will present changes to the planning commission and eventually send the grant to the Eudora City Council for approval. After that, it will be submitted to the state for consideration.

"If the grant is approved, we'll open up to lots of public input. That's the next phase," Beatty said.

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