Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

City investigating options to avoid firehouse bond

June 5, 2008

The Eudora City Council in April gave Eudora Fire Chief Randy Ates permission to begin researching a bond issue to build a new fire station. However, there is a possibility the fire department could move into the central offices of Eudora USD 491, at 1002 Elm St., and do away with a bond issue altogether.

"Chief Ates and I went and toured that building and looked at it as a very viable option because there would be room for all the fire and EMS equipment plus there would be areas for a training room and office space," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

The fire department currently is housed in a 4,320-square-foot building at 840 Main St., which it shares with the police department. The fire department is situated in the front half of the facility, meaning its total space is approximately 2,000 square feet.

The school district central offices and adjacent garage are 8,300 square feet.

Beatty said if the fire department were to move into the facility, it would not occur for at least three to four years.

One of the things the city likes about the facility is its location

"Part of the goal was keeping a new fire house on a centrally-located main thoroughfare, and it would reach that goal," Beatty said. "Any other location takes us completely to the other side of the town, and the majority of the service still needs to be on the north side."

The city also felt the integrity of the neighborhood would be kept intact if the fire department relocated to the district building.

The school district space could become available if the district builds a new central office, which Superintendent of Schools Marty Kobza said was a possibility. The Board of Education currently is evaluating the future use of the district's properties, such as the central office and the Community Learning Center.

Each property will be evaluated on an individual basis in the context of whether it should be used for a facility or a revenue source. In other words, should the district sells the property or builds on it.

"It's important that the district makes sure it maximizes the value it has in the all of the properties in order to accomplish all the things it needs to without going to the taxpayers again," Kobza said.

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