Archive for Thursday, June 22, 2006

Eudora sustains population growth

June 22, 2006

Even as U.S. Census Bureau estimates show Eudora's growth rate continues to hum along at a healthy pace, city officials are preparing for a boom.

According to an estimate released by the Census Bureau this week, Eudora's population climbed by 164 people from July 1, 2004 to July 1, 2005. At that time, the city had an estimated 5,284 people. The shift accounted for a total increase of 3.5 percent from the previous year ---- a slightly slower pace than last year's estimates.

A year ago, the report estimated the city had grown to 5,120, which represented a 4.4 percent in population.

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle wasn't surprised by the city's consistent impressive growth.

"It's not really a surprise because I knew growth would be pretty steady for the last six years or so," Pyle said.

The growth might even be more than the census indicates. According to the end of the year building permit report, Eudora added total of 96 new single-family homes, two duplexes and two mobile homes in 2005. To date in 2006, Eudora Building Inspector Rick Treas has issued a total of 75 building permits ,including commercial growth and home additions and remodels

Eudora's growth comes in contrast to Lawrence, which actually lost people 26 people this year, according to the same report.

Tim Metz thinks he may he knows one reason people choose Eudora over Lawrence.

"It comes down to housing prices," Metz said, who had lived in Lawrence since the early '80s, then briefly moved to Colorado. When he and his wife, Kendra, returned this year to take a job in Lawrence, they chose to live in Eudora.

"We must have looked at 50 homes in Lawrence, and we couldn't find one that we thought was priced where it should be," Metz said, who is a lender at Douglas County Bank. "We just thought there was better value in Eudora. And you're basically still five minutes away from Lawrence. You have all the benefits, but you don't have all the people around you."

Metz's outlook seems to be a common theme among new arrival.

Caren Rowland, a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker McGrew Real Estate, said she'd noticed Eudora drawing people from Lawrence and Kansas City because of its small-town atmosphere.

Eudora Township lost four people last year falling to 1,252 according to the report.

Despite the slight slowdown, Pyle said he's confident the city has only seen the beginning of growth.

Earlier in the year during open forum, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty predicted Eudora's population would double every 10 years.

Before that could happen, the city needs to overcome street, sewer and water limitations, Pyle said.

Despite those possible limitations, Pyle pointed to several factors on the horizon that might lead to bigger population hikes.

"It's an exciting time to be living in Eudora," Pyle said.

The completion of a turnpike interchange south of Tonganoxie in roughly three years could stream new traffic into the city.

"That's going to be a very valuable thing for Eudora," Pyle said.

To further fuel growth, the Eudora Planning Commission and the Eudora City Council approved the Deer Valley subdivision near Intech Business Park earlier in the year.

Although he said he couldn't say much, Pyle said even more subdivisions were on Eudora's horizon.

Four to five different developers are looking into areas around Eudora for possible subdivisions, Pyle said.

"Some are of a pretty good size," he said.

Although several developers are looking to bring more homes to town, any public release of their plans is still several months away.

"They're being close-lipped about what they're trying to do," Pyle said.

The subdivisions would lead to even more signs of growth. The rooftops could herald the possible arrival of commercial restaurants to the area.

"I think the second half of the year is going to be telling a lot of stories," Pyle said.

---- Lawrence Journal World reporter Chad Lawhorn contributed to this report

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