We have had some of our avid readers write some questions in the comment section about the Council’s actions in regards to the proposed Public Safety Building at 10th and Main that is now on hold. Many people may have these or similar questions about the project and rather than address them in the comment section that may or may not be read, we thought it would be better to present in an area where more people could find out the answers.

While some of the comments have been longer, we will address the areas that pertain to specific questions.

Businessman wrote the following questions (in italics):

Was it not written that the Monday meeting was changed to Tuesday one night later ? or was it one week later ?

The meeting on March 12 was “technically” held. A quorum was not present, as anticipated, and since a quorum was not present the meeting was immediately adjourned. This is why there was nothing on the agenda of March 12 (http://www.eudorareporter.com/city-council-meeting-monday-march-12-2012/). The meeting was rescheduled for March 20. This special meeting was noted in our story abut the public safety building on March 14 (http://www.eudorareporter.com/eudora-public-safety-building-begins-to-take-on-a-look/).  We had planned on posting the agenda for the March 20th meeting, but due to an email error, the agenda was not received until shortly before the meeting.  We apologize for not being able to post that agenda like we normally do with all regular City Council meetings, but it was beyond our control.

I also thought that a city meeting had to be in written notice for no less than 14 days , is this not true ?

While I am not certain of any law that states a public meeting has to be announced 14 days prior and what form an announcement must be in if required (printed in newspaper of record, posted on door of City Hall, etc.), I will check into it. While we may or may not agree with things the city does, I will say that in my observations of nearly two years, they do things, without exception, within the law.
I think that this needs to be a topic that should go to a public vote , not a city leader vote. This is a whole lot of money and the amount of mill increase is a very very large amount for some to absorb with everything else that is costing more nowadays.

This very topic was brought up during the discussion. Speaking in reference to a $4 million project at 10th & Main, Councilwoman Ruth Hughs said “If we were to say yes, the next thing to come out of my mouth would be: Then let the people vote on it”. Councilman Kenny Massey also asked if a group of citizens could mount a petition drive to stop the project. City Administrator John Harrenstein did state that Kansas statutes specifically allow governing bodies to build public safety facilities and those are not subject to protest or a mandatory vote. Citizens can speak to the body at a public hearing on the issuing of bonds, but in this particular situation, the public hearing has not been scheduled because the process has not gone that far.

Why now and why 10th and main st,

Why now is the fact that the current Fire Station is in such poor shape according to audits completed in late 2010. While this process has come to the point of being ready to bid, or not bid as now it seems, this idea began back in the summer of 2011.  While we did not write about every step that has been taken in the process, it has been an on going process. To take an idea, any idea of this magnitude from the beginning to the point we are at, takes months of work.  !0th and Main was chosen because of the major road access to the entire community for this location. Also, the land was available as it was the location for the closed (and in deep neglect) Middle School building that needed to be torn down.

why not an off street for way less money and a lesser building.

This is precisely what city administrators are going to be looking at in the coming days and weeks at the direction of the City Council. Many factors including available land, cost of land, access issues (it is the Fire Department we are talking about), and other factors will go into determining where.

and maybe include a storm shelter ( concrete building ) for tornadoes?

Christine Zimmer also posted the following on this topic:

Amen to the tornado shelters being built. After living in the trailer court for 17+ yrs and having to scurry for a safe place to be I think this should be priority. It would not just be for folks that live in trailers but a lot of people who don’t have basements either who live in slab houses could benefit from the safety this could provide. We need somewhere for a safety shelter. If Joplin,and some of the latest tornadoes does not speak volumes to this, what could?

While this is a good idea, it is very hard to put into practice. Building a shelter is easy (likely not cheap, but easy). Unfortunately, it has to be locked most of the time for security reasons. When a storm approaches, someone is going to have to be available to come unlock it.  Mother Nature does not afford the opportunity to schedule storms so someone will have to be on call 24/7 and be able to be there with only minutes of notice.  The next logical answer would be to say “okay, give the Police officers keys to unlock it.” A good idea, but what happens if the on duty officer(s) happen to be rescuing someone else at that moment or working some other type of incident which is extremely possible in a storm situation. They would have to drop everything (including who knows what or who) to come unlock the building.

Another situation that could happen is the one that occurred in Baldwin City on February 28 when tornadoes rolled through the area and residents of a mobile home park were not able to gain access to a newly built storm shelter.  If you wish to read more about this here is a link to our friends at Fox 4 in Kansas City.

http://fox4kc.com/2012/03/07/tornado-shelter-off-limits-to-neighbors/

While I don’t want to make excuses or add fuel to the fire as to why we should or shouldn’t build a storm shelter, these are just some of the problems that could be faced.

I think we people who pay them need to get more involved in it as well.

Yes, I put this one in bold. I cannot agree more with that comment. The best way to get involved is talk to your representatives and attend Council meetings. For the day I started this site, I have said this time and time again. While commenting on a web site can have constructive outcomes, this is not the forum or avenue “to get more involved.”

I have been to 95% of the Council meetings since I began eudorareporter.com and with the exception of student class assignments, the audience for a council meeting is made up of the people with specific business on that nights agenda and, at most, only one or two interested citizens. Rarely will anyone come to these meetings just to listen to what their representatives do for them.  There are usually near 40 chairs in the Council chamber for audience members and around 30 or more are usually sitting empty.

If you care about what’s going on, your city leaders need to see and hear from you in person. Comments made by a sometimes anonymous name, while interesting and good ways for the public to communicate with each other, they will not carry a lot of weight with clity leaders. Seeing a person sitting in the room, writing a letter on a piece of paper, or making a phone call are the ways to get things done.

John Schulz

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The above comments are solely those of the Managing Editor of Eudorareporter.com and do not necessarily reflect the views of staff or advertisers of this website. Those that have alternative views are always welcome to express their opinions in the comment section or by writing an email to: editor@eudorareporter.com

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4 Responses to Editorial: Follow up to comments about the Public Safety Building

  • Surely the technology exists to have a remote lock on a tornado shelter, which the PD or the Fire Dept. can activate remotely.

  • I attended this council meeting. I found it most informative. I’m embarrassed to admit, it was my first meeting and I was most impressed with the council. I had some concerns that I voiced during the public comment time. My concerns were addressed promptly and taken seriously. The main topic of conversation was the new public safty building. There is a great need to get a fire station that works. This taxpayer is convinced that all our public services should be in one place. Our council spent a great deal of time trying to figure a way to make 10th and Main the place for this. It is just going to cost too much!! Looking for another site is underway, but we’ve been there before. The school district will not sell the Nottingham property in pieces. This piece of property would meet all the cities needs for many years to come. The school district wants to sell the land all in one piece, so we can have, what, a strip mall. Is the school district so rich it can wait for how ever long it takes to find a buy for that property? So, should the city try again to get the school board to sell Nottingham by the piece? Would sombody like to trade property for 10th and Main? Should the city just buy the Nottingham property and sell what we don’t need? I don’t know, but this taxpayer would like to see a nice building at the entrance to this city and maybe an itty bitty strip mall too. What ever happens, it will cost us money. If people don’t attend these meetings, they will find out what is going on later, and then, griping is just sour grapes.

  • Every school in Eudora has a tornado shelter. As a community we need to be using the facilities we have.

  • Nottingham should be sold ONLY for retail shopping space, so it can produce tax revenues for the city. That is a prime location and should go for business, not city use.
    The school district has allready used a ton of good commercial property along south Church and east 10th streets.
    A city storm shelter would not be costly and to have someone to open it would be simple or have it on an electronic lock that can be unlocked with a phone call. This is easy to do and not costly iether. A good location for the fire and medical would be on the west lot of the new gradeschool. Where the Durr house was at. The school district could donate the land to the city and a storm shelter could be incorperated into the basement of it. After all your going to man it 24 – 7 so they can open it up when its needed.
    It is very easy to figure this stuff out, you just have to think outside the $$$$$$ box our leaders live in.