Archive for Saturday, April 22, 2006

Eudora seeking revitalization for downtown

Proposed recreation center, swimming pool part of plans for growth

April 22, 2006


Major changes are ahead for Eudora over the next couple of years as the town of about 5,000 people readies for more growth.

Perhaps the biggest project in the immediate future is the movement to get a recreation center and swimming pool. A city referendum on the currently estimated $3.4 million center will take place in August during the primary election. A revised cost estimate and plans were presented to the city council in mid-March.

"It is going to be a tremendous thing because it's got something for everybody," Mayor Tom Pyle said. "It will be a place where we can have a variety of events."

Among the features planned for the center are a basketball court and meeting rooms. The outdoor pool would replace an antiquated pool that has been in service since the early 1970s.

"It was a good pool once," Pyle said. "We got our money's worth out of it."

In May the city will find out whether it will receive a federal $293,000 downtown revitalization grant through the Kansas Department of Transportation. If granted, work would begin in 2007.

"What it is going to do is spruce up the downtown, make some infrastructure repairs that are badly needed and define the (street) crossings so people will feel a little safer going across the street," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

In addition, if enough downtown businesses want to participate, there could be some sprucing up of storefronts, Beatty said.

The city's chances of getting the grant were recently increased because of an announcement that an Interstate 70 turnpike interchange will be built north of Eudora in Leavenworth County. City officials expect the interchange to bring increased traffic through downtown Eudora, even if a truck route is built around the city.

"Initially we'll have to route the traffic right down Main Street, because we don't have a design or location (for an alternate route), but we will work with Douglas County to take the traffic west of town," Beatty said.

City officials also are looking forward to getting more room in city hall. A $450,000 general obligation bond will finance an expansion to the east. The city's Parks and Recreation Department has already moved to a new building at the corner of Seventh and Elm streets. The project is expected to be completed in July, Beatty said.

New residential subdvisions are expanding the city to the east. Earlier this year the council approved annexation of 75 acres for the Deer Valley subdivision between Seventh and County Route 442.

Pyle foresees the eastward residential movement continuing.

"In the near future I think we will be going to the county line," Pyle said. "We'll probably stay to the north of Kansas Highway 10, but the time is coming when we will go south, also."

Helping to drive the eastward residential movement is a new sewer line. The city is in the process of reviewing the status of its sewer system as it prepares for more growth, Beatty said.


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