Archive for Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rec complex part of the cost of progress

March 16, 2006

When I first moved to Eudora, one of the main topics of conversation was the new swimming pool on the ballot for the voters to decide. For a small community like this to have a nice pool replace the current one seemed almost a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, not many voters agreed with my thinking.

Last week, I had the opportunity to see the drawings of the new pool and recreation center that was presented to the Eudora City Council Monday. I was very impressed with what I saw. The pool was not too flashy, and the recreation center seemed like it would serve a multitude of purposes that Eudora desperately needs.

I'm not sure what the climate is with the voters and the city council, but I would like to think that everyone would see beyond any politics or personal agenda to support this project. The current pool is deteriorating and already many residents of Eudora go to the aquatic center in Lawrence to host birthday parties. Even in the summertime, I know of many parents who take their kids to the Lawrence or Baldwin pools because they're much nicer.

Getting this pool and recreation center will make Eudora more of a community instead of a sleeper town. Already, much of the recreation and entertainment dollars are spent outside of Eudora. Getting this pool built will salvage some of those dollars, but more importantly bring the community together. Think of the many birthday parties that can be had at the recreation center. How about meetings and community events? Eudora will have a central or focal place it can call "home" for the citizens. During the summer, many residents can gather around the local pool instead of trekking to surrounding communities for a splash in the water.

Its important to understand that people are becoming more savvy in the their spending dollars and are also expecting more 'bang for their buck.' Many people will travel a certain distance to pay for what they consider a value for their money, be it entertainment or goods and services. Eudora lacks many of these, but the pool and the proposed health facility is a step in the right direction for Eudora toward becoming a vibrant town versus a country-living perception.

Maybe some prefer the laid-back and unassuming lifestyle that a small town can provide, but unfortunately Eudora is on the verge of becoming more than just a small town. Growth in surrounding communities has spilled over, and it's only a matter of time that the boundaries between these neighboring communities are seamless. And when that happens, I would much rather Eudora be a vibrant and influential community than one that is lost in the progress.

The cost of progress sometimes encroaches our comfort zone and can be intrusive, but it is important to understand that without progress many communities will eventually fade into oblivion. I have seen and heard of small towns that become desolate because many of its residents move away to find a more vibrant and desirable community in which to live. Eudora may have been one of those communities at one time, but right now that process has been reversed. Growth is unprecedented and many are making this their home. It's vital that we capture and ride this wave of progress and make Eudora a more vibrant community.

Those who think progress is a negative influence should look at their own lives and see the technological gadgets that they have in their homes. I'm sure the people who are opposed to progress are not living without a microwave or a cell phone. I know the comparison may be a stretch, but the principle is the same. If one is willing to accept the progress on a personal level, then why should they resist progress for the city in which they live?

I want to make it clear that I'm not writing this because I'm in cohorts with someone involved with the project. This is purely my personal opinion that I want to share and maybe invoke some thought as this proposed project makes its way to the polls. I would hate to see such progress be halted just because of the perceived fear that it brings.

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