Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chamber looks into downtown events

December 20, 2007

In a meeting Wednesday, Eudora Chamber of Commerce members decided to look into planning events that would make Eudora more than just a place from which Kansas Highway10 drivers fill up their cars with gas.

Chamber members would like to see downtown Eudora thrive, and they think creating more events for CPA Park might be the answer.

"We had a great brainstorming session and I think that we came up with some great events that we could do in the spring or the fall to bring people to downtown and to keep people involved in the community," Chamber of Commerce President John Fiore said.

Movies in the park, a bluegrass festival, a chili cook-off, an art festival and a farmer's market all were activities that were proposed.

The chamber would have events during more temperate months, and though the events would take place downtown, the hope is that a boost in people driving to downtown would be a boost for all businesses in Eudora.

"We'd like to start small, but whatever we do, we want it to be a quality event so that people would come back to the next one," Chamber member and owner of Coffee Talk David Alvarez said. "And I know that there are other businesses that make this town go but are away from downtown, and I want to see them be successful too."

There also was discussion about making improvements to Christmas festivities in downtown.

"Around Christmas time, we could really make something special down here and make it a destination for people to come and stop off and visit the quilt shop, and Pyle Meat and all these businesses down here," Alvarez said.

As Eudora has changed into a bedroom community, downtown businesses have realized that it's not just drivers on K-10 who are unaware of the area, but also some residents.

"Most people don't even know that we have a downtown unless they grew up here or they live in the older part of town," said E.J. Ellis, who owns Main Street Wines and Spirits.

DeeAnn Alvarez, wife of David Alvarez and co-owner of Coffee Talk, thinks that the events would be a great way to inform the community of downtown Eudora's existence.

"It's a great way to bring the community together," she said. "And the more that we can bring the community together, the more of a chance we'll have to get together and improve things. We have to remember that the downtown area is the heart of Eudora."

Since the discussions of events are barely in their infancy, the manner in which they would be financed has not been brought up. However, David Alvarez does not want to see taxpayers having to pay any more than they already do.

"It would be a downtown thing and we should foot the bill," he said. "We've got enough taxes, so let's just use what we have."

He also knows that establishing any festival in downtown Eudora as a destination will not be an easy task, but he hopes that it's just a matter of time.

"I think that we all have our wheels turning in our head and some good is going to come out of it," Alvarez said. "It may be on a small scale, but five to 10 years from now, it could really be a place that people look forward to coming to every weekend, and it would be good for the whole town."

Fiore said that of all the areas of Eudora, a healthy downtown area will only make the rest of the town better.

"We've got a lot of great residential neighborhoods and some great commercial opportunities down by K-10, but I believe that downtown is truly the heart of Eudora," he said. "And a strong vibrant downtown is good for a strong vibrant Eudora.

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