Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
In a surprising twist to the saga of where to build a new public safety building, the City Council gave the green light to begin planning for a public safety building to be located at 10th and Main Street.
The difference this time around in putting a new Police/Fire/EMS structure at the cornerstone of downtown is the look and cost of the building. The new proposal is a Butler style building that will have a brick and wainscoating facade. The picture above is a sample and not intended to be the exact look of the final design. The cost of the 16,670 square foot building is estimated to be approximately $2.47 million and would require a mill levy increase of 1.72 mills. This is down from the 2.85 mills that was needed for the original proposal at 10th & Main.
To give some understanding to the cost of the 1.72 mill levy increase, a $150,000 house would have a tax increase of $29.67. Under the old proposal, the rate increase would have been $49.
The original project was put to a halt back in March 2012 when the City Council made the decision that a 2.85 mill increase was too large of a burden to taxpayers. In the City Council discussions at that time, the Council agreed to look for an alternative location where the could put a less expensive building than the projected $4 million structure that was initially considered.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, Council members Bill Whitten and Ruth Hughs, who took on the task of attempting to finding a new location, stated that they looked at various locations and talked to some landowners in Eudora since March. According to Whitten, no landowner was willing to sell their property to the city. Whitten and Hughs did not state any specific names of landowners they contacted or what locations they were interested in.
The next step in this long process will be put the project to bid which, according to City Administrator John Harrenstein, should take about six weeks.
The City of Eudora is working towards building a new Public Safety Building. This new building would house Fire, Police and EMS services for the City. The City of Eudora approached the Eudora School District about purchasing the Kerr Field property as a site for this new Public Safety building.
This option was discussed at the School Board meeting on Thursday night. At the urging of Board President Kenny Massey, the idea of selling Kerr Field was rejected at this time. Massey stated during the meeting that the Kerr Field property is too valuable to let go during a down economy.
“I don’t know that now is the time to be selling that property.” “The lot value may go back up and if it does, it’s going to be worth a lot more than what it is appraised at now.” Massey said. “That’s something we hold onto until we see what’s going to happen down the road.”
School Board member Belinda Rehmer also discussed the current use of this land. “That property is worth more to a good number of citizens…as green space. Every single day I see people using that field.”
The School Board did bring up the idea of possibly selling the property located at 10th & Main to the City. This is the location of the old Eudora Middle School. The building is falling into disrepair and is in need of demolition. During the discussion, it was brought up that cost of demolition was estimated two years ago to be approximately $190,000. If the city would pursue interest in the 10th & Main property, who would be responsible for demolition would need to be negotiated.
It remains to be seen what the city will do next. Options could include looking at the old Eudora Middle school property or continue searching for another location. We will keep you up to date and informed about any future decisions.