Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

Bits and pieces

Changes inevitable for small-town Eudora

April 6, 2006

I was glad to see the editorial last week in the Eudora News regarding the bypass off of Interstate 70 at Tonganoxie, which will be sending traffic south into Eudora to reach Kansas Highway 10.

The editorial did a good job of subtly suggesting that Eudora planners need to be especially vigilant in how this will affect Eudora, stating that it will "require an adroit dance by city leaders."

I looked up the word adroit and found it to mean "skillful and adept under pressing conditions," which is the perfect word to describe how our city fathers should be responding to this decision by the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

Personally, I keep asking myself if this is something that is in the best interest of our little city here on the river. For one thing, I have yet to hear just why this is necessary and who is most likely to benefit.

The KTA doesn't seem to feel any compunction about explaining that fact leaving a lot of questions unanswered.

As to "10,000 cars coming through Eudora," as suggested by Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger, I can't imagine that number is accurate; but it did make me pause to consider just how we can accommodate a great number of cars, not to mention trucks, that would be using Eudora as a thoroughfare to K-10.

The plan seems to include an upgrade of the road north into Tonganoxie but no firm commitment (only a promise) of an upgrade of the two-lane road south into Eudora.

There are those who say it will be good for business, but I can't imagine that much traffic coming down our Main Street. Surely it will have to be diverted either to the east or west quickly after entering the city.

Church Street's K-10 exit is already congested in the morning, after school and in the evening with residential traffic.

An exit off Winchester would be a diversionary solution, but a Winchester exit onto K-10 has always been denied with the idea that we already have two exits, which are adequate for a town our size.

Normally, I understand that growth is inevitable. Perhaps such an occurrence will help make that state grant to upgrade Main Street a reality. Yes, maybe downtown business owners are desirous of such a plan and yes, it may bring new business into downtown and help maintain that part of our community, but as of yet, too many questions remain unanswered as to why, how and who benefits the most.

Another important issue is the community building at 10th and Main streets. It seems to have become a huge white elephant with the cost of maintaining it too much for Eudora USD 491. Yet, it is in the center of our community and draws people there, not only for recreation, but is the center of the GED program and the trade schools.

Other important issues are also being decided that will make huge changes in our community in the future.

What is to become of Nottingham Elementary School and Laws Field as that property relates to the new proposed recreation center? It is my understanding the school administration and school board want that property to remain as green space. Hopefully this will be the reality since the concentrated residential building in Eudora has made green space almost non-existent.

Laws Field will always be a sentimental issue for many of us, but everything changes, and times and people become part of history and perhaps not relevant to the times.

So much is at stake here. Not only hard, logical business solutions, but solutions that will affect our community historically as well as emotionally.

Whether you are following any of these decisions, they will impact all of us eventually.

Remember what a big issue tearing down the old high school was several years ago? That was only one change. Now we are faced with many pressing changes making the old strain to encompass the new.

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