Could this be the look of the new Public Safety building?

They City of Eudora has begun taking a look at designs for a proposed public safety building to be located at 10th and Main streets in downtown Eudora.

City Council members and city officials were recently presented with preliminary conceptual drawings based upon ideas of what the City Council wanted to see in the look of a new building and what officials deem necessary to support services such as Fire, EMS and Police needs.

The current fire station was graded as poor to failing in management audits conducted in 2010.  Since those audits were released to the Council, they, along with City administration, have been studying the issue on how to increase those grades.

A new building does not come without a price though. Current estimates to build the facility would require a mill levy increase for the city property taxes.  Currently, that increase is projected to be 2.85 mills. As an example, a house valued at $150,000 would see an increase of approximately $49 per year on their property taxes.  The level of the mill levy increase is not set in stone as of this moment either. City leaders state that the number could move either up or down depending on multiple factors.

“Douglas County expects that property valuations will go down 1.5 percent in the coming year,” City Administrator John Harrenstein said. “A decrease in assessed valuation may impact the amount of mill levy needed for the building.”

Harrenstein also stated that anticipated growth in the city could help offset some of the mill increase.

“With businesses like Family Dollar opening soon, the effects of a decrease in assessed valuation may be mitigated by economic growth.”

In an attempt to control the cost and to give the Council an option in proceeding forward, the project will be a bid with the Police Department as part of the building and without the Police Department addition.  If the project ends up moving forward without the Police Department portion, the Police would use the current facility that houses both the Police and Fire Departments.

This is an artist’s concept view of the proposed public safety building.   The building would sit at an angle at the corner of 10th and Main.  In this drawing, 10th street would be running across the top of the photo from left to right and Main Street runs on the right hand side with the fire station driveway having access to both streets.

This project does not necessarily have complete unanimous support from all of the City Council either.

“I know the need is there,” Eudora City Councilman Kenny Massey told us. “But I’m leery with the economy the way it is and the property valuations likely going down.”

Councilman Tim Reazin also is concerned about the possible tax increase.

“I thought that we were supposed to do this without a tax increase.   That is not really what I was hoping for,” Reazin said.

Reazin added that, as a former volunteer firefighter for the department, he knows the need is there.

“The current building has a safety concern.  A safer environment for our firefighters is what concerns me.”

While other members of the Council are concerned about the tax ramifications, several talked about the need of a new fire station.

“This is a necessary structure and fulfills the need of the community,” Councilman John Fiore told us. “Anyone who has toured the current facility can certainly see that need.”

Councilwoman Ruth Hughs also focused on the need of the building.

“As a taxpayer who owns a home, I know it’s a sizable increase,” Hughs said. “I also know that my safety is worth something too. I’m hoping for ambulance service down the road and right now, we do not have a place to put one.”

Hughs went on to state that in discussions she has had with County officials, she was told that the current building would not be able to support the staff needs to have an ambulance stationed in Eudora.  Currently, if a call is made to 911 and an ambulance is required, it has to come from Baldwin City or Lawrence.

Mayor Scott Hopson, while not a voting member of the Council, was also supporting the efforts to erect a new building.

“The tax increase does concern me, but we’ve made steps to try and save as much money as possible from day one,” Hopson said.  “We’ve got our backs up against the wall because of the condition of the current building.”

Massey and other Council members will have an opportunity to talk about plans, possible tax increases and all things related to the proposed building in a special City Council meeting set for March 20 at 7:00 PM at Eudora City Hall. As with all City Council meetings, the public may attend this meeting.

“I want to be confident that we are not short changing other projects or city employees by doing this,” Massey told us.  “My hard questions will come when we start talking about the price and how we are going to pay for it.”

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15 Responses to Eudora Public Safety building begins to take on a look

  • So if the current fire station is in such bad condition, they can still use it for the police station if that’s not added to the building? I thought the land at 10th and Main was going to be developed for commercial use…seems just a few years ago when they were talking about building the school, this location was PRIME real estate to help develop the downtown businesses.

  • Give me a break, build something useful, not pretty. If the one currently in use is unsafe, then condemn it or try a different scare tactic…

  • What a complete waste of money and a stupid thing to be doing. This city needs this like we need hole in the street. OWH we have plenty of those.
    They think the property at 10th & Main is perfect, well, it would sure be perfect for a new store , but not a city building. What we now have works and will work for many more years, so why ask our tax payers to pay for this now, just to make our new city leader look all Johnson County COOL ?
    Spend some money fighting the meth problem and fixing the streets.

  • After reading this again and again, i have to laugh so loud.
    This comment takes the cake.
    “Harrenstein also stated that anticipated growth in the city could help offset some of the mill increase.”
    Growth in Eudora ? What planet has he been on the last 3 years ? We are getting 1 new store to replace the 7 that have left in the last 2 years and that is growth ? What new math do they use in the City offices ?
    Our mayor backs this spending and he came into office wanting to better our city ? Wow Scott, i think you are setting us back in time 20 years to the old ways SPEND SPEND SPEND and spend more for nothing.
    I can not wait to get this council out and new city leaders, Eudora has been ripped apart and left cashless.
    Now not only do we have a school district taking ALL our money, NOW the city is raping us for our change under the couch cushins.
    What a frikin joke, Eudora is looking like a bunch of dumba@@es.

  • Let’s think 10 years from now…Don’t think short term. We need this building to help solidify our growth that has occurred. $49 per year…That is, what, $4 per month?? Seriously… Common sense needs to win here.

  • Yep we need a new one. Thinking long term. The building we have right now is a joke and a sight for sore eyes. It will have to be replaced soon anyways, so why not now? People get to involved in pointing fingers at our city officials instead of looking at the actual issue. Common sends does need to win.

  • Who do you point at then ? Does the finger need to be pointed at someone else ? I dont think so. They (city leaders) are the ones pushing for this building we do not need.
    The future, yes it will be here someday. BUT not for 10 or more years.
    How about leaving that corner for a BUSINESS location ?
    How about if we do build a new city office building and fire station ,we do it on a back street off the main street and a more centraly located lot for several millions less money.
    If the population of Eudora is shrinking, how come we need MORE city spending ?
    If Eudora is spening more than they take in, why not cut spending and city empoyees ?
    Is the city really in need of a new fire & medical building and a police station ?
    Can we not add onto what we have and make it work until the population grows enough to pay for it ???
    Wasting millions in this time of economic stagnation is not a smart thing nor is it needed. Why spend millions when millions are not here to spend ?
    Do they have some secret O-bama money to spend ?
    Get a grip city leaders, we people of Eudora are sick of being jammed for millions every couple years and are fed up with the waste.
    Iether run our city right or leave please. Let someone else run it right.
    It might be time to do a recall vote on our city leaders, they are not doing what we voted them in to do.
    and do we need a city administrator ? I dont think we need one, at least not the type that spends and spends our money we do not have.

  • Who do you point at, then? Try pointing your index finger vertically against your lips to signal yourself to quiet down.

    Your police department, rather than purchase a $50,000 SUV to expand services and availability (rather than call a sheriff deputy who could be on the other side of the county with a 20+ minute response time) purchased a used vehicle and supported one of our school district’s programs by allowing the students to help put it in service. I know that’s a sore spot, too, SUPPORTING what your schools are doing.

    In contrast to the recent English teacher hubbub, try asking any EHS student about the penny project they completed. Supporting a charity while breaking a world record with a math lesson that is something a textbook could never offer? I’m anxious to hear complaints about that one. “Shouldn’t they have been in class though?” They were. Ask any kid who was there if they learned something by kneeling in a parking lot and they will enthusiastically explain it to you in grand detail, and not whine about having been there since 4 a.m. if they chose to do so. This was a MUCH better way to focus their efforts than the vandalism that past students have done.

    Take a second look at the investment that LMH has placed in our community with their facility, as well as the Dollar General opening soon, and new businesses sneaking into downtown almost every month (The Filling Station is great if you get a chance to visit and Kami’s Cakes has grown to be a regional, if not statewide legend, and Pennie Annie’s is another of my kids’ favorites that saves a trip to Lawrence or elsewhere)it seems your idea of “growth” is misrepresented. No, tax dollars are not funneling their way to city hall as we would like, but that is mainly attributed to decreased property valuation, a frustration that MANY communities are battling.

    Back to the Public Safety Building and its necessity, though. Chief Moore has shown good stewardship by bringing some of his firefighters from the Wakarusa Township F.D. to staff the Eudora fire station at times, giving it more frequent staffing than it might see otherwise, thereby giving the chance for better response times. I like that I can drive past the fire station downtown and see firefighters outside, but having seen their facilities inside during the CPA Picnic (and realizing that most of their offices are actually located in the City Hall Annex west of City Hall), they have that building bursting at the seams, especially given the goal of housing an ambulance full time within city limits. A few years ago, rather than purchase a new fire engine, the department found a used one that allowe FIVE TIMES as many staff to respond to an incident as the previous engine, while spending less than A FIFTH the amount of money a new engine could have cost the city. I, for one, like that those numbers worked in favor of our city and not only in a financial way.

    Oh, and if you want a new city administrator, go fill out an application and then wait by the phone. Sounds like you have plenty of “fresh” ideas, like putting wind turbines up and down Main Street. That was my favorite.

    John, please feel free to edit this post, as I realize I’ve gone on quite a bit. Sorry, but I hope I hit on several areas relative to the story.

  • Wow opti, you are quite the go getter. 🙂
    Your off to the wrong race. You tell me i dont want the kids to have a good school i think and that they suck ?
    WOW, i think we have some great teachers and have always supported them, but i dont support the over spending on a building that is going to be left empty after 6 years ( West Elementry ) worth millions and starting to decay from neglect.
    The building of ALL new schools for show , and lie about why they need new ones.
    1- Asbestos and falling apart (nottingham ) still in use.
    2- Falling down ( old school dowtown ) used for 15 years after it was closed, stood up quite well to that and a very large Track Hoe as well, when trying to knock it down.
    Just a couple examples of WASTED FUNDS !!
    So you say we NEED a new public safety building ?
    1 Give me a reason it needs to be built on Main Street on the most costly piece of property in town ?
    2 Tell me if it is needed so very bad, how is it we are using what we have so good and our police and fire depts are doing an awesome job now ?
    3 How do you plan to fund it and pay to keep it up ?
    As with our school district, they forgot to budget in the upkeep in the new buildings, yea thats right ,and now they are sucking us dry to keep up.
    Property values, what planet are you on ? The county is not lowering our values, infact mine went up 9% this year as did many others.
    Douglas county is ripping us off left and right on valuations, another whole story.
    As for businesses, humm we lost about 12 over the last 4 years and we got 2 new , ones you can call new.
    1 LMH center.
    2 Dollar store
    The rest are replacement businesses that do less dollar amounts a year.
    Example. We lost a bike shop downtown that did over a hundred grand a year. We lost a tea room that did over a hundred grand a year and we got an office building.
    So when you can do the math and know the HUGE losses this city has taken, then you come back and tell us more.

  • Businessman,

    I’ll get to your other pety points another time, but don’t ever challenge me to do the math. You don’t want to open that can.

  • I have a can opener.
    Come on lets dance, LOL
    Naaa its just that this city is not in need of what they are wanting and what we can take care of now. The people in Eudora deserve a chance to get some other things done and paid for before they blow a wad on this new city uilding.

    We DONT need it we CANT pay for it, so SCRAP it !!!!!!

    Fix the water system, fix the streets and fix getting some new businesses in here. Then you can think about spending some tax revenue $$$$!

  • Just another way that Eudora is wasting money! I always love how Eudora scares people by saying that buildings are in such bad shape. Bottom line is the Eudora city and school district has never heard of MAINTANECE! Building this building at 10th and main would be like building it on Hoover’s prime realestate at 14th and Church. Both locations are better for commercial and residental. NOT A FIRE/POLICE STATION that the tax payers are paying for. Heck, the fire dept is a joke anyways so why should they get a new building? And like someone else already mentioned. The police dept buys a gas hog hummer. FOR WHAT? The maintance on that thing will cost more than the maint on the cop cars.

  • Each party brings up some valid points to the pros and cons of a new public safety building. Some have some valid truth and others are only half valid. I would like to first address a comment by (L.B.J), “Heck, the fire dept is a joke anyways so why should they get a new building?” We all need to remember that this is a volunteer service. The men and women receive very little to no compensation for their services. They choose to work their fulltime jobs, coach kids sporting events, get up in the middle of the night, leave the dinner table after being at work all day and cancel numerous plans, all to ensure that we can stay as safe as possible. So instead of throwing comments out there that only takes away from the dedication and service that they display, go to city hall and fill out an application to join the dept. Walk in their shoes for a mile and see exactly the challenges they are facing.
    As for the need of a new public safety building, I don’t totally agree with their solution. Unless I have missed something, they haven’t given a dollar amount, just a proposed mill increase. How much is this going to cost, 2,3, or 4 million? Pretty hefty price tag on something with the economy the way it is. I don’t foresee any big changes in this for Eudora in the near future. Let’s face it, the city does not have a good record for making decisions. Example, the current fire station is only 12 years old and we are talking about replacing it. The fire truck they purchased cost just under half, not a fifth, of a new one. Not to mention, how many times it has been out of service for repairs and money we spent for repairs. The list can go on.
    The city administrator and council need to look further into this issue. I believe there are other alternatives that are more cost effective and will still allow for expansion of services and future growth.

  • I agree and disagree, I think everyone here has their good points and their bad points. Being a business owner in Eudora, who is currently leaving Eudora for several reasons, some personal and others because of the lack of commitment the city provides to their downtown businesses. I have seen from my own personal experiences that the City does appear to focus on their own personal growith and looks out for themselves more than the community as a whole and especially as the businesses, more so the little guys unfortunately. Do we need nicer and better, the City probably could use it, and had they provided better for others, they probably would not have so many complaints about it taking or doing for themselves and wouldn’t appear to be so selfish. It is a give and take. Not sure how the school issue got involved in this conversation, except for the building issues; while I am surprised about the empty school buildings, especially West but I don’t believe the empty school building has anything to do with the education our children are getting and I have been pleased with the education my children have gotten. Sometimes when things get heated people tend to get off track and maybe that is what has occurred here. Overall, I think the City needs to consider the concerns of the downtown businesses and consider the lack of growth of downtown and the lack of advertisement and lack of cooperation that City and the Chamber of Commerce has been to downtown. The promises they have made and not kept, the businesses that have suffered. I will tell you that the customers love the businesses & we greatly appreciate getting to know everyone and appreciate all that have joined us the last year. The customers that have learned of our move are disappointed and hate to see us leave. Despite the fact we have been profitable, we have been put in a position that there doesn’t appear to be much of a future and we either move elsewhere and find that place where we get the support to grow and expand.

  • Sorry to see you go Kim.
    You have seen how this city works and it doesnt work AT ALL for businesses.
    With this new building that they have now approved , the city as a whole will be screwed and broke for another 30 years.
    We are also leaving Eudora, but will still fight for it.Our home is selling and our business is sold. The new owners are moving it out of Eudora they said they wouldnt sell water in this city, lol, they hate Eudora.
    Anyway, it sucks how this city operates and screws businesses over.
    Good luck when you move.