Archive for Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stewart resigns from Eudora City Council

February 25, 2010

Eudora City Councilman Fred Stewart will resign from his position on the council because of health issues.

The announcement was made at Monday’s council meeting.

Stewart was Mayor of Eudora from 1997-2001 and was elected to the council in 2007.

In his resignation letter, Stewart wrote he enjoyed working with the city during the last decade.

“It is important that council members are available and accessible to the community,” the letter stated. “Due to my health issues, I can no longer be this person.”

Mayor Scott Hopson thanked Stewart for his years of service and wished him well.

According to the city’s Charter Ordinance No. 1, “the mayor, by and with the advice of the remaining councilmen, shall appoint some suitable elector to fill the vacancy until the next election.”

The council postponed making decisions on the process because councilman Bill Whitten was absent from the meeting.

The council also adopted the economic development plan, which was completed by Bucher, Willis & Ratliff Corporation and Richard Caplan & Associates.

The plan cost the city $88,400 and market studies, site development and stakeholder meetings were used to generate its content.

Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein said for the plan to succeed, strong partnerships between the city, the Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudora USD 491must continue to develop.

“Two of the worst things that could happen to this plan would be for it to sit on the shelf or for it to be dropped on my desk and have me be the main driving force behind it,” he said. “This plan has a much greater potential for success if these three organizations come together to move it along.”

The plan focused on three sites — Nottingham Elementary and Laws Field, East 10th Street and downtown Eudora — as areas for future development.

Some funding still will be needed to complete the plan’s implementation, most notably providing the chamber with a paid employee, developing design standards for the Nottingham site and structural assessment of buildings in downtown Eudora.

USD 491 Superintendent of Schools Don Grosdidier spoke at the meeting and noted the district’s willingness to work with the city and the chamber.

“Our board is willing to sit down and talk about some commercial guidelines for the Nottingham property and work together to see now only that the property is sold, but that it’s sold to the right entity for something that is good for the community as a whole,” Grosdidier said.

Hopson said the city desperately needed to fund someone to work for the chamber — which currently is staffed by volunteer business owners — and fund an economic development director.

The council likely will look at funding options during budget study sessions later this year.

Harrenstein said city staff views the plan as a something that can be accomplished within the next three years.

In other actions, the council:

• Approved changes to pool and recreation rates.

A season pass was reduced from $100 to $65; a family season pass was reduced from $200 to 125; and a daycare pass was reduced from $250 to $200.

The rate reduction was estimated to cause a $3,065 reduction in revenue. However, the addition of a daily fitness center fee of $2 for students and $3 for adults, as well as a $1 charge for use of the gym could recoup the loss in revenue.

• Approved a request by the Parks and Recreation Department to make changes to rate packages throughout the year.

• Approved the purchase of a 2008 Crown Victoria from Douglas County for $8,000.

• Set public hearings to declare properties at 1139 Acorn St. and 1005 Acorn

St. as dangerous buildings.

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