Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2008

City hopes to improve infrastructure

Eudora looks forward to finishing projects in 2008 that have been in the works for the past two-and-a-half years

January 10, 2008

As 2008 is in its infancy, the city of Eudora hopes to finish projects that would allow its infrastructure to correspond with the growth experienced the last 10 years.

"What I look forward to in 2008 is wrapping up some of the projects that we started when I first came here," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "We're stepping into moving forward with actual construction plans to get things caught up and functioning well. We're looking forward to having those systems fully operational and beginning to run smoothly."

The main construction project that will occur this year is the middle interceptor project. Phase I of the project is out for bid and the project will seek to enlarge the sewage lines located in the areas of Blue Stem and Sandusky Drives; 15th Street between Main and Acorn Streets; and 14th and 12th Streets between Spruce and Fir Streets.

Ongoing water quality analysis and traffic studies to be finished within the coming months are also ways that Eudora will continue to allow the city's infrastructure to progress.

The traffic studies are being done to evaluate the intersection of Church Street and 23rd street at Eudora High School as well as the 10th Street corridor because of the proposed Deer Valley development, the TIF district, the Intech Business Park and the new elementary school that will be built in the area of 10th and Peach street.

Beatty also is excited about the Vision Meetings in which members of the community come together to plan for Eudora's future.

"It's an exciting process to go through when we get the input from the community," she said. "If they truly want to have a say about the future of the community, now is the chance for them to do that."

Beatty said a benefit of the housing slump was the respite it gave the city to catch up with needs.

"When we nearly doubled in size in 10 years, all of that caught up with Eudora and all of the infrastructure issues. It's almost a good thing that there was a market slowdown because it gives us time to breathe and for the city to catch up with all of the issues that came with growth."

There are some issues in Eudora's immediate future that need to be solved though, namely the lawsuit with RuralWater District No. 4 and the lack of businesses.

The suit with RWD No. 4 will go to court Nov. 18, though the two sides still are trying to resolve the dispute out of court. However, the suit threatens to further stagnate development in the area of White Dog Road and Kansas Highway 10.

The lack of businesses is a problem because Eudora's residential tax base does not provide enough money to support the cost of community services and programs.

"Eudora needs to build commercial development along with the residential development in order for it to sustain itself because we cannot survive on an 11 percent tax base for services that the community will demand, like continued recreation programs and things of that nature," Beatty said.

"Citizens are going to have to support businesses that do come here and developers are going to have to find adequate sites."

Beatty would like to see Eudora hire an economic development director to attract new businesses and promote the community.

At the Vision Meetings, many participants said they would like to see more new businesses in Eudora, although Beatty conceded they might not want them for the same reasons as she did. She said many people want businesses out of convenience - which is not a bad thing - as opposed to broadening the tax base.

"I've been trying to educate and explain to people that when you have a 90 percent residential tax base. That's not good enough for us to provide many more services or an expansion of the services that we already provide," Beatty said.

While Beatty knows hiring an economic development director is a good starting point in solving the problem, she knows it won't be easy to convince people that it would work.

"It's very difficult to prove that if we spend money on a economic development director budget whether we're going to get it back or not."

Beatty said it was just one of many things she would try to fix this year.

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