Parks and Rec

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Eudora Grant photo 2015Kids who were part of the Parks and Rec Department After School Program joined Parks and Rec Director Gary Scott (left) and LMH Eudora Summer Spray 5K Committee members Julie Stewart, Kurt von Achen and Jason Hoover for the grant presentation. (photo courtesy the LMH Eudora Summer Spray 5K Committee)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora Parks and Recreation Department received a $2,500 grant funded by proceeds from the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association 2014 LMH Summer Spray 5K Run/Walk Series. Grants are awarded to a program or project that promotes health and wellness in each host communities of Eudora, Tonganoxie, and Baldwin City.

The grant money is being used by the Eudora Parks and Recreation Department to launch “Healthy Snacks for Life” which serves healthy snacks to children daily who attend summer camp and Eudora Elementary School’s Quest After-School Program during the 2015-2016 school year. Combining the snacks with nutrition education, they will reinforce healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices.

The 2015 LMH Summer Spray 5K Run/Walk Series in Eudora is being held on Saturday, June 20 at 8:00 am at the Eudora Parks and Recreation Center. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. Participants in the event, run or walk a certified course, and are doused with water by volunteers. The race concludes with a fire engine spray salute at the finish line.

All ages are encouraged to participate. In addition, a team division has been added this year, and prizes will be awarded in several categories. For more information about this event or to register for the 5K, please visit www.lmhendowment.org.

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Patrick and Tracy ShowThe Patrick and Tracy Show

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora Parks and Rec Department along with Eudora High School Culinary Program are presenting  a dinner and show on Saturday April 11 at the Eudora Middle School, 2635 Church Street.  Proceeds from the dinner and show benefit will go to the EHS Culinary Program and the Parks and Rec Department.  Dinner will be prepared by the EHS Culinary Arts Program.  The show will feature the Patrick and Tracy Show.

The Patrick and Tracy Show is a husband and wife duo who has performed across the country for over 20 years. They have performed with or opened up for a variety of acts including opening in Las Vegas for Lionel Richie and Diana Ross at the Hollywood Bowl. For the last few years, the duo has been located in Branson, Missouri where they have been voted Best Duo in Branson for the past three years.  Other accolades include Best Variety Show in 2014 by Resort Entertainment News and Best Small Cast Show in 2013 and 2014 by Branson Music News.

Tickets are available from the Parks and Rec Department and cost $20. Seating is limited and according to the Parks and Rec Department going fast.  For more information you can contact Parks and Rec Director Gary Scott at 785-542-3434 or via email at gscott@cityofeudoraks.gov.

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Money

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

This Tuesday, voters will be asked for an increase in the city sales tax by 3/4 of a percent. The city is looking to raise the sales tax to help pay for implementation of the Parks and Rec Master Plan.  The money may also be used for other capital improvement projects in the city.

During the multiple forums held by the city to promote passage of the sales tax increase, city leaders outlined the particulars of the proposed tax increase.

“The projected revenue from the increase is estimated at $257,625 the first year and approximately $2,695,328 over a ten year period,” according to Eudora City Manager Gary Ortiz.

Ortiz, along with Parks and Rec Director Gary Scott, described to attendees the improvements that are part of the master plan which was developed in 2010 and passed by the City Commission in 2012.  Scott talked about the need for expansion of the Rec Center, particularly to the fitness area of the Rec Center. Scott  stated that many times of the day, all the fitness machines are occupied and people are waiting for equipment to become available for use.

Scott also talked about the need for an indoor walking track for patrons. Citizens routinely use the outdoor track at Laws Field next door to the Rec Center, but use is limited during cold and inclement weather conditions. In addition, Laws Field and the Nottingham property is currently for sale by the School District and while no deal is imminent, the likelihood of the property being developed in the not too distant future is there.

When asked about any possible aquatic center expansion, Scott stated that the idea is to expand the pool deck area which allow for more lounge area surrounding the pool and look at improved parking for the aquatic complex and Rec Center.

While there has been some implementation of parts of the Master Plan over the past couple of years, much of it has been waiting on funding. A couple of key pieces to the plan including walking trails throughout the city. The City and School District received some grants to develop the walking trails leading to and around the High School south of 20th Street and the trail leading to the Elementary school on 10th Street. Other trails are planned along with a large makeover to CPA Park in downtown Eudora.

Scott talked about the desire of the Parks and Rec department to redo much of CPA Park. The plan details a walking trail in the park, make a gradual slope from Main Street into the park which would eliminate the large retaining wall, relocation of the gazebo that currently sits in the park to another section of CPA Park and the most ambitious part of the CPA Park makeover, an amphitheater located in the park.  Other considerations include building restroom facilities on the grounds and creating some parking areas for park users.

City officials stated that the estimated impact on each resident in the city is approximately $40.89 per year or $3.41 a month. Officials did caution that their estimates are based on every resident in the city without regard to age and does not take into account sales tax paid by non-Eudora residents. They state the tax burden will be most likely less than what is estimated.

The current sales tax rate in Eudora is 8.15%, with 6.15% going to the state, 1% going to Douglas County and 1% to the City.  If the increase is passed by voters, it would raise the rate to 8.9% which would be slightly higher than the sales tax rate in Lawrence (8.7%). The only areas in Douglas County that have a higher sales tax rate are two special tax Districts in the City of Lawrence, the Free State TDD and the Oread TDD which both currently have a sales tax rate of 9.7%.

If the sales tax increase passes, it would not be implemented until October 1, 2015.  Officials also said that there would be no sunset to this increase if it was to pass. They said that in 2026, 0.5% of the city sales tax is scheduled to disappear.  That 0.5% was passed in 2006 to help fund the building of the Rec Center.  It would be up to City Commission and city leaders if they want to push for repeal of that sunset when the time comes about.

While support from citizens attending the presentation we were at seemed mostly positive, there were some concerns by the attendees.

Resident Molly Pratt stated she was undecided about which way her vote would go.

“It was more comprehensive than I expected,” Pratt said. “I am excited about the proposed project and the improved look to the Rec Center and improving the older parks (CPA)”.

Pratt went on to say that she was concerned that the estimated revenue would pay for Rec Center expansion but feared that project would eat most, if not all of the money leaving nothing else for sidewalks and park restoration.

Ultimately, it will be up to the City Commission exactly where the money would be spent.  While the sales tax question on the ballot states the money is to be used to “improve, construct, equip and maintain the public fitness and aquatic facilities including but not limited to sports parks, indoor and outdoor/fitness trails, and to provide funding for other capital expenditures”, the Commission could have some discretion and potentially different ideas where the money could go in regards to Parks and Rec and what “other capital expenditures” might be needed to fund.  With three seats on the Commission up for election, it is possible the majority of the Council could change.

Election results will ultimately make the determination if the Parks and Rec Master Plan will continue to move forward in the future.

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Easter

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora Parks and Recreation Department are hosting their annual Easter Eggstravaganza this Saturday, April 4, starting at 3:00pm.  The event will be held at the Lucy Kaegi Park Ballfields, 1638 Elm Street.

The Eudora Lions Club will be selling hot dogs, cotton candy and water during the event. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance and his massive egg hunt will begin at 4:00 PM.

All families are welcome to the free event.

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Fireworks2012-1-500One of the many brilliant displays that illuminated the night sky at the 2012 Eudora Fireworks show (Photo by Eudorareporter.com Managing Editor John Schulz) 

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

A bunch of festivities are going on this week in Eudora centered around the 4th of July holiday.

The activities begin this Wednesday with the weekly Picnic in the Park on Wednesday, July 2 from Noon to 1:00 PM. The picnic in the Park features hot dogs, chips and pop available for $2.  This week, Picnic in the Park is City Employee Appreciation Day with entertainment from Hotel Coffee. Picnic in the Park takes place at Lucy Kaegi Park next door to the Eudora Parks and Rec Center at 1630 Elm Street.

On Thursday evening July 3, The weekly Music in the Park series will feature Mike Boring and his patriotic tribute on the piano.  The Music in Park series takes place downtown at CPA Park and runs from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM.  Vendors weekly serve Philly cheese steak sandwiches, hot dogs, chips, fresh baked cookies, crème brulee’, and also drinks of soda, bottled water, and lemonade. The entertainment is free. Food prices run between $1 and $5.

Then on Friday, July 4 will be the Public Fireworks Display. The party will be at the Eudora Middle School parking lot were music and food will be offered. There will be $2 and $3 specials for hot dogs, polish sausage, chips and drinks. The celebration gets under way at 5:30 PM and lasts until 8:30.

Once the night time arrives, the annual fireworks display will get underway around 9:30 PM. The display usually lasts about 20 minutes and can be viewed from multiple locations on the south side of town.

All the festivities are being coordinated by the Eudora Parks and Recreation Department.

Remember, the discharge of fireworks by residents is allowed in the city limits from July 2 – July 4. On the 2nd and 3rd, fireworks are allowed from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM. On July 4th, you have until midnight to fire them off.  The Eudora Police and Fire Departments urge prudent use and careful supervision when discharging any fireworks during the time periods when fireworks are allowed.  Bottle rockets are not allowed at any time.

Finally, with a long holiday weekend, please make sure to act responsibly. Law enforcement will be keeping an extra eye out for drivers who are impaired this weekend. Have fun, but act responsibly. Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

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