Grant provides city template for renewal
Eudora city officials were informed Monday that the Kansas Department of Transportation approved a grant that will pay for 80 percent of the $813,715 in planned improvements for a two-block stretch of downtown. With the help of matching city and county funds, the project will make street and sidewalk improvements, install decorative lighting and add landscape elements on Main Street from Seventh to Ninth streets.
Eudora's downtown is blessed with a number of historic buildings that give it the main street charm communities like Overland Park wish to recreate. The difference is what exists in Eudora is authentic, much like the successful downtown corridor in Lawrence.
Although it is unrealistic to think that Eudora can capture the retail magic of the downtown of its western neighbor, the potential to nurture a healthy retail, civic and arts district downtown welcoming to pedestrian traffic have been much enhanced with the grant's approval.
The improvements won't in themselves make downtown a destination for businesses or customers. It will however provide the template for that vision both with its structural improvements and as a demonstration to those risking private money that City Hall remains committed to its historic core.
And just as the city needed extra help to make the planned improvements happen, the business district is going to need extra attention to compete against those areas on or closer to Kansas Highway 10 that provide the city's retail lifeblood. To fully realize a vision of a revitalized downtown, the city officials are rightly looking to take advantage of incentive policies available for the district and communicating their availability to potential investors.