A public hearing will help determine whether a community in the Eudora Township can create a road improvement district.
Douglas County commissioners accepted a petition earlier this week to create the Hesper Charter Road Improvement District and set the public hearing for Dec. 15.
If the district is approved, it will be a first for Douglas County.
"This is kind of the test," said county public works director Keith Browning. "It's sort of the prototype. There's been a lot of uncertainty in this because it's never been done. I think we're just trying to get through the process, and once we're done with this one, things will go a lot smoother in the future."
Most of the residents in the Hesper community, which includes the Hesper Friends Church, want the road to be paved because of dust and the growing population in the area. The Hesper community is about a mile and a half southeast of Eudora.
"We know that we live in the country, but the dust gets pretty bad, and it's expanding in population so quickly," said resident Rod Croucher, 2286 North 1100 Road.
Croucher said about three miles of road would be paved. The paved areas would be located by the intersection of North 1100 and East 2300 roads.
By creating a road benefit district, the initial road improvement project would be funded by the residents along with the upkeep and maintenance of the roads. The 48 residents in the area would pay for the road improvements, which is estimated at $230,000, over a 10-year period.
More than a year ago, folks with the Hesper Church and the residents surrounding it in the Eudora Township became interested in seeing their gravel roads paved.
But the Eudora Township Board wasn't interested in maintaining paved roads. The maintenance issue left the residents in a quandary.
But in April 2004, the Douglas County commissioners approved a charter resolution that allowed for the creation of road improvement districts.
Eudora Township trustee Eugene Westerhouse said he wanted the benefit district because the people living in the area would pay an equal share for the possible road improvements.
Browning said commissioners needed to determine whether the petition was valid and whether the formation of the road improvement district was in the best interest of the county at the public hearing. The commissioners also would need to identify the district's board of directors, which could be the County Commission or the Township Board, he said.