Eudora School Board

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Eudora Cardinal

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora School Board has called a special meeting for Wednesday night to talk about budget cuts for the coming school year.  The meeting will take place at the Eudora High School Performing Arts Center. The meeting is set to begin at 7:00 P.M.

According to the agenda published by the School District, Superintendent Steve Splichal will share information about the district budget and options for cuts for the 2015-2016 budget.   The public will have time for comment following the presentation by Splichal.  Unlike most Board meetings, there is no need for prior approval to speak to the board in the public comment section at this meeting.

Following the public comment, Splichal will provide information about the next steps in collecting community feedback and budgeting for the 2015-2016 school year.

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Vote

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Citizens headed to the polls on Tuesday to decide on who will run their City, School District and if the sales tax should be raised.

In the City Commission race, Incumbent Ruth Hughs easily won re-election for her second full term by garnering 398 votes. Hughs was appointed to the Commission to replace Fred Stewart in 2010 and was elected to a four year term in 2011. Similar to 2011, Hughs won the race by a large margin.

“I am truly honored to have the support of the citizens and be re-elected to serve four more years,” Hughs said following the win. “I am looking so forward to being a part of the plans the city has for the future.”

Maria Nelson will be making a return to the City Commission as well.  Coming in second to Hughs with 327 votes, Nelson said she was happy to be back on the Commission.

“I love being involved with the city,” Nelson told us. “Having the opportunity to once again work with the staff of the city and be a part of the decisions that shape this town is very exciting.”

Nelson served one term on the then City Council from 2007 until 2011. Nelson narrowly lost in the 2011 election.

Tim Bruce won the third and final seat up for election, getting 300 votes. Bruce also serves as President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Finishing in a distant 4th and 5th place were Justin Eddings (165 votes) and Chris Fiedler (138 votes).

Bruce and Nelson will replace Mayor John Fiore and Commissioner Kenny Massey, both whom decided to not run for election.

One of the first items on the new Commission’s docket will be to look at how to spend the new approved sales tax money.  The decision to raise the city sales tax by 3/4 of a percent narrowly passed.  The final count was 317 – 257 to approve the increase.

“I am very thankful to the citizens and thrilled they have the faith in us as good stewards of the tax money,” Mayor John Fiore told us. “I am confident the city will return and investment that benefits the citizens and that Eudora will generate a product greater than most other communities.”

Ruth Hughs was delighted and trilled that the sales tax increase passed.

“I am looking forward to the projects this will fund,” Hughs said.

It will be interesting to see what this does fund. City officials have said in their presentations to bolster this increase that the most important item the city wants to do is expand the Rec Center to include more workout facilities and look at adding an indoor walking facility. Will the estimated $2.7 million the tax is expected to raise over the course of 10 years fund all that and have any leftover for other projects such as CPA Park? Time will tell.

Over at the School District, two long time incumbents easily won re-election bids. Joe Pyle led the pack with 448 votes. Mark Chrislip came in second with 398 votes. This will be Pyle’s fourth term on the Board and Chrislip’s seventh term.  Two newcomers will join Pyle and Chrislip.

Bryan Maring won a seat by finishing third with 370 votes. This was Maring’s third attempt to win a School Board race having fallen short in 2011 and 2013.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Maring stated. “When you can give back to a community that has given my family so much over the last ten years, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Taking the final position on the School Board is Lynn Reazin. Reazin received 333 votes to claim the final spot.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity,” Reazin said. “There are a lot of challenges ahead for the District and I am excited to be a part of it and help out.”

Reazin served the Eudora Elementary School PTO and spent time on the Eudora Schools Foundation Board before deciding to run for the School Board. Her win also creates an interesting partnership in Eudora as her husband, Tim Reazin has sat on the City Council/Commission since 2007 and currently is the city’s Vice-Mayor.

Kelly Holder received 290 votes in the last and Michael Howard came in at 212.

Voting results are unofficial until the canvas by the Douglas County Clerk’s office which is set for April 16. Once the vote is certified, the new Commissioners will take over at the April 27 City Commission meeting. The new School Board members will take over during the summer.

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Vote

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

With Election Day coming on Tuesday, we want to make sure you have as much knowledge as possible to make an informed decision about the people who will govern your town and run your School District.  Below are links to all the profiles that we were provided with.  You can click on the picture or the candidate to read the profile.

City Commission Candidates

Tim Bruce
Tim Bruce
Justin Eddings
Justin Eddings
chris_fiedler
Chris Fiedler
Ruth Hughs
Ruth Hughs
Marian Nelson
Maria Nelson

Voters will be selecting three candidates for the City Commission.

School Board Candidates

Mark Chrislip
Mark Chrislip
Kelly HolderKelly Holder
Person Outline
Michael Howard
(no profile provided)
BryanMaring
Bryan Maring
Person OutlineJoe Pyle
(no picture provided. Click to read profile)
Lynn Reazin
Lynn Reazin

Voters will be selecting four candidates for the School Board.

Also on the ballot is a question to raise the sales tax.

Shall a retailers’ sales tax in the amount of three-quarters of one percent (0.75%) be levied in the City of Eudora, Kansas, for the purposes of generating revenue needed to provide an effective level of public services within the City, 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.  

 A Yes vote authorizes the increase in the sales tax. A No vote does not authorize the increase.

Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Tuesday.

West Eudora (Precinct 50) will vote at the Eudora Church of Christ – 1530 Winchester Road

North Eudora (Precinct 52) will vote at Eudora City Hall – 4 East 7th Street

South Eudora (Precinct 53) will vote at the Eudora Township Fire Station – 310 East 20th Street

Central Eudora (Precinct 54) will vote at the Eudora Rec Center – 1638 Elm Street

Remember, to vote in the election, you will need to show a picture ID per Kansas law.

We will have complete election coverage Tuesday night after the polls close and the ballots are counted.

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Fiore_takes_over_MayorMayor John Fiore (center) in his first minutes as Mayor in April 2014. On the left is Vice-Mayor Tim Reazin and to the right, Councilwoman Ruth Hughs (photo by Eudorareporter.com Managing Editor John Schulz)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

If your interested in seeking a seat on the City Commission or School Board, this may be the time to do so.  We talked last week about both City Commissioner Kenny Massey and School Board member Dr. Daniel Dickerson were not going to run.  Now, there are a couple of notable additions to the list.

Eudora Mayor John Fiore announced Thursday that he does not intend to seek re-election on the City Commission.

“I cannot commit to the next four years because the requirements of my family and job are likely to be much greater in the coming weeks and months,” Fiore said.

Fiore has served only one term on the City Commission, narrowly winning a seat in a hotly contested election in 2011. Fiore has served as Mayor since April, 2014.

“I’m proud of all we have accomplished as a group over the last four years,” Fiore told us. “We built a new Public Safety building, a new park out by Shadow Ridge and collaborated with the School District to bring in grants to start connecting Eudora with a trail system that makes Eudora a safer and healthier community.”

With Fiore out of the race, it leaves Councilwoman Ruth Hughs as the only incumbent that may seek re-election. Hughs has said on numerous occasions, including earlier this week, that she still is undecided about running again for office.

As of Friday morning, no one has yet filed to run in the March election.  There are be three seats to be voted on.  If not enough candidates run, it would be up to the Mayor to appoint people to the seats. Would Vice-Mayor Reazin automatically assume the role as Mayor? What about a tie vote? Who would break the tie? There are some deep constitutional questions that could arise if a lack of candidates occurs.

Belinda Rehmer

School Board member Belinda Rehmer

Over on the School Board, the lack of candidates is starting to pile up as well. Dr. Daniel Dickerson already declared he will not run and now Board Member Belinda Rehmer has stated she will not seek another term.

“Due to family changes this last year, I will not be filing,” Rehmer stated. “By the end of April I will have three new grand-babies and my first great grandchild. I plan on spending all my new found time squeezing, hugging and kissing some cheeks.”

Rehmer was first elected to the School Board in 2007 and won a second term in 2011. At post time, the only person to file for a School Board seat is Bryan Maring.  Incumbents Mark Chrislip and Joe Pyle have not declared their intentions yet. Four seats will need to be filled come April.

The filing deadline for the City elections is Tuesday, January 27 at Noon. Candidates for City Commission need to file with the Eudora City Clerk at City Hall. School Board candidates are required to file with the Douglas County Clerk in Lawrence.

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Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora School District on Friday evening signed a contract to sell the property at 14th and Church Street to longtime Lawrence developer Mike Flory.

That’s the easy part of the story. The complicated part is how this deal will work.

Aerial_NottinghamA satellite view of the Nottingham School/Laws field area and where it will be divided into four different sections. (Image courtesy Google Maps)

The land the School District is selling is being put into four sections. Sections A and B on the picture above include the baseball diamond and the Old Nottingham Elementary School.  This will be the first phase of development. On both of these sections Flory has a 4 month due diligence period to handle things like zoning issues, land surveys, building removal requirements and a variety of there development related needs.  (Editors Note: Our lines on this image are close to the location but may not be exact. I write, I’m not a graphic artist.)

Flory has in the contract, allowances for that due diligence period to be extended by 30 days, three separate times.  So the “due diligence” period could last up to seven months. The cost for the land in parts A and B are $425,000. Section C and D which are the Laws Field portions, could stay Laws Field for a while. Flory has a 5 year option for these portions of land.  The cost of sections C and D are $200,000 each. The grand total for all four sections is $825,000.

Now, what does Flory plan on doing with the land?

“The first thing is that the Parks and Rec Department will likely be offered a portion of land on the south end near the pool area,” Flory told the School Board. “I must say you have a wonderful facility there where I watched my grandson play basketball this winter.  But as I ran through the snow to get from my car parked all the way down the parking lot to the building, the thing I thought of was how more parking was needed closer to the building.”  Flory also said that he was thinking of possible Parks and Rec facility expansion as well for a portion of the property.

Flory went on to talk about how he would like to see more direct access to the Rec Center via a street through the Laws Field property.  He then stated that the first phase (which would start in the A and B sections of the map) would be a mix of multi-family housing units and a commercial development that would be in such a  manner to attract smaller retail entities.

The housing would like be on the west side (portion A) and the commercial development would be on the Church Street side (part B). When asked about what specific type of multi-family housing units could be built Flory said he was thinking duplex type units but said that was not absolutely certain at this time. He stated that he was rather happy with his Freedom Creek development located next to Free State High School and hoped that a development similar to that could be accomplished.

In regards to the commercial structure or structures, Flory again brought up the area surrounding Free State High School.

“It would be quality buildings that you see go up much like what is located up near 6th and Wakarusa in Lawrence,” Flory said.

6th and Wakarusa DevlopmentOne of the buildings in the 6th and Wakrusa area (photo courtesy Google Maps)

Flory’s last thoughts for the area would be a detention pond located near the southeast corner near the Tennis Courts that could have a fountain placed in it to serve as a storm water runoff and green space area.

We asked if Flory had any possible tenants already lined up for the commercial portion of his development.

“I haven’t talked to anyone yet,” Flory said. “I wanted to wait until I had a signed contract before I began seeking any retailers.”

There are some interesting portions of the contract.  During the due diligence portion, Flory can walk away from the deal at any time and owe nothing. The contract stipulates that all earnest money put down during the due diligence period would be refunded to him for pretty much any reason.

If the city wants a portion of the property for Parks and Rec Facilities, they will have to make a deal with Flory. The School District is selling the land in it’s entirety to Flory, albeit in sections and possibly over a long period of time.

The other interesting thing is how this will conform to the city’s Comprehensive Plan for the Nottingham/15th street area.  In 2010, the Planning Commission and then City Council passed a series of amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to attempt to ensure that no simple strip mall could be placed in the area .

Eudora Final GraphicFrom 2010, the artist concept drawing of the Nottingham/Laws Field area.

An interesting side note to the Nottingham guidelines is that some of the ideas Flory has were included in the artists concept drawing from 2010 including a fountain and the continuation of 15th Street from Church to Elm.

The big question remaining was when would all this happen.

“I would expect that by early spring, you might start to see some activity in the area,” Flory told us following the meeting. “There are of course no guarantees about precisely when because of a variety of factors, but I expect that would be a good guess.”

School District officials were extremely pleased with the interest of Flory in the property and commented on how his reputation for building quality projects in Lawrence were a key motivating factor in proceeding with this deal.

The final sticking point could be the tenants of Nottingham and users of the area surrounding it.  The Eudora Area Historical Society Museum is currently housed in Nottingham. They are working on restoring the old Trefz building at 720 Main Street as the future home of the museum. Ben Terwilliger of the EAHS stated that he believes the building downtown could be ready by the end of the year, but discussions would have to be held to see if the construction phase of the first floor could be completed quicker so that the museums artifacts could be moved in around the end of the initial four month due diligence period which will be in early October.

As for Farmer’s Market, it should not be affected this year. The market is scheduled to conclude in late August or early September which is well within the time of the due diligence period.

Flory said that in preliminary discussions with the School District, there would likely be no problem with the tenants of the building and users of the area to continue use of the facilities until the end of due diligence period.

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