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Many people who drive down 10th Street in Eudora for years have seen the sign near Locust Street that says Readiness Rounds, but not many know what it is or what they do. Readiness Rounds provides software that helps hospitals manage their medical records and assist doctors, nurses and staff with the patient safety and medical needs. This software is used by hospitals nationally and internationally. Some of their clients include Mount Sinai in New York, The Cleveland Clinic along with some close to home hospitals including Cushing Memorial Hospital in Leavenworth and KU Med in Kansas City.
With the medical industry constantly expanding and growing, Readiness Rounds is looking to expand their business. Don Death, a 12 year resident of Eudora, is the owner of the company and wants to keep his business here in town.
“We need to expand out of where we are,” Death said. “Right now we have 15 or 16 employees located in Eudora and over the next five years we expect to have nearly 50.”
Death is looking to stay in Eudora, bringing these new jobs to town. What he doesn’t have right now is a place to put them. This issue is at the heart of a problem.
Death needs about 10,000 square feet of office space and wants to use the Old Baptist church located at 11th and Main Street.
“I’m not seeing anything that is 10,000 square feet in Eudora, (other than the old church),” Death sated. “There is nothing else that fits the profile.”
To use the old Baptist Church, there would need to be some changes to the City Zoning Regulations to, in the words of the city:
Allow for the adaptive reuse of any exiting nonresidential structure in residential districts that were built originally as conforming structures be adapted to accommodate – in their current or original form – new non-residential uses, other than retail-commercial or industrial land uses.
Several neighbors of the old church are very much against these regulation changes and have been very vocal in the opposition to it.
Nell Treftz lives across the street from the church. She would prefer to not have an office building in their neighborhood.
“This is going to open up a whole can of worms,” Treftz said. “I don’t think those kind of things belong in a residential neighborhood.”
Mary and Gary Marshall, also residents across from the church, have concerns about passing the amendments.
“What if the office leaves? What happens to the property then,” Gary Marshall said.
The first step was to have the Eudora Planning Commission make recommendations on whether to change the regulations or not. The Planning Commission at their July meeting made the recommendation to not change the regulations as it was presented. Later in July, city officials made some changes to the wording in the regulations and took the new wording to the City Council. The City Council chose to not vote on the changes until the Planning Commission had the opportunity to review the new text and sent it back to them.
Last week, the Planning Commission had the chance to review the new revisions and again voted unanimously to recommend not making the changes. This brings us to Monday night when the City Council will once again review the proposed changes.
At the previous Council meeting many of the Council members expressed that while they want to listen to the opinions of their neighbors and support their wishes, having several jobs created in the city is just as important.
Death has said, that while they would not immediately leave town if the adaptive reuse regulations were not passed, they would have to start exploring other options.
“Our plan is to stay in Eudora, but we’ve got to be pragmatic about the possibility,” Death said.
Those who live in the neighborhood, when asked what they would like to see happen with the property were non-committal.
Treftz said she would like to see the property be zoned strictly residential while Gary Marshall offered up the suggestion of turning it into a city owned park.
“Do I know there’s change – sure,” Treftz said. “But businesses don’t belong in residential areas.”
The showdown will occur on Monday night when the Council has to make the decision to either go against the wishes of the neighborhood or potentially lose several jobs in town.