Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2006

KDOT representative upbeat on grant application

January 5, 2006

With the city's application having passed the initial cut of a downtown beautification grant application, City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and a group of community members answered questions Tuesday during a review session for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The review at City Hall, gave the city a chance to give KDOT representative Scott Shields the chance to judge community support behind the application.

Eudora is one of 19 cities to be applying for the grant and some of the $9 million available.

Only a third of the grant applications to the state will be granted, Shields said.

Eudora's grant will ask for approximately $1 million from the state.

"This year it's going to be very competitive," Shields said.

If awarded, the grant would help transform Eudora's downtown into what the committee hoped would be a new gateway into the city. The improvements would include redone sidewalks, greenery and light fixtures.

One of the first questions Shields asked the group, which included state Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, was if the city would be willing to do the project in phases.

"Financially, that would work out better for the city of Eudora to try and phase it anyway," Beatty said.

Options discussed included a two-phased improvement with the first phase would refurbishing Main Street blocks of Seventh and Eighth streets. The second phase upgrade Ninth to 10th streets.

When finished, the four blocks would serve as a revitalized corridor for the community.

"We really need to make sure the identity of Eudora connects with the past and also the future," Beatty said.

The committee also shared with Shields the urgency citizens see in improving the downtown area.

"That was the consensus, if we didn't do something we would lose our downtown," Beatty said.

In addition to forming a committee to see the grant application go forward, the need to preserve downtown Eudora has moved a group of entrepreneurs to form the Downtown Entrepreneur Association. The association works to beautify the whole of downtown and has events to bring people into the varied businesses.

"I think there were several sparkplugs in my recollection, just a general feeling of 'we've got to make the community a better place,'" said Dan Harden of BG Consultants. "That was my impression ---- the pot had been boiling for a number of years."

Harden is the city's consultant for the project.

After Shield's initial round of quesfrom page 1a

tions, those gathered led Shields' around the downtown area, giving him visual examples of what the grant could mean.

If plans go through, the newly beautified downtown could be finished by Eudora's sesquicentennial celebration in 2007.

"Everything's kind of converging here, isn't it?" Shields asked at one point.

Following the walk, Shields left for another application review in Leavenworth.

The state will release the final decision on the grant application in May.

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