Editor's Note: This is the fourth story in an 11-part series focusing on local candidates running for election. The City Commission candidates will run Thursday. The School Board candidates will run Friday and Saturday.
If you would like a PDF of our entire Voters Guide, email us at email@example.com. Printed copies of the Voters Guide will be available to read at Zeb's next week.
Name: Tim Reazin
Race: City Commission
Current job: Firefighter
Current community involvement:
Outside of City Commission, I am a coach for the Parks and Rec Department for flag football. As far as other things in town, I go to other committee meetings
Why are you running for election?
Some of the ideas that we’re going through I’ve invested a lot of time, effort and energy into. I’d like to see those things come to a final point. Long-term goals that we have in place that I feel like I’ve helped be a part. I still have more to give.
There are varying perspectives on what the future of Eudora should be, with some favoring the city keep its small-town feel while others want to see growth. What is your vision for the future of the city?
I think you can keep a small-town feel to a community. If folks are willing to be neighborly and get to know their community, I think you’ll always have that small-town feel. The idea that we’re working towards is an opportunity to not tax people out of existence.
Those opportunities are driven by economic growth, which is either retail or commercial or manufacturing jobs and businesses. We’ve been pushing for those options and opportunities to work with Modern Manufacturing and help lend those [jobs] to the community.
We’re working with the development in Nottingham and the bigger long vision of sports tourism and what that can do for Parks and Rec and our tax dollars. We were challenged back when K-10 divided the community. We’re on the map, and we’re not in a spot where we can stay hidden. My main goal is that, as growth comes, we’re prepared for it.
Residents have expressed concerns about utilities and about infrastructure needs, including improved access to the schools. What do you think are the biggest infrastructure priorities for the city?
Before we start building new, we need to repair and replace the aging infrastructure. We have a plan for a freshwater treatment we know will be an issue as the town numbers grow. We have already purchased the land to build a new water treatment plant in five to 10 years.
For access to the high school, it was built without long-term planning and vision to put them in that location, which is nobody's fault. It was something that we needed. We tried to grow a long-term vision for it, but, if we talk about putting a roundabout in front of the high school, we'll have to readjust that when we widen the road. It's going to be because they widen the overpass over K-10 to three or to four lanes.
I don't want to say we're going to put in this roundabout, and it's going to be $1.35 million, knowing our traffic engineer said it's not the best option because it's only affecting people in the morning and the evening -- which still affects people, and I understand that.
We also talked about development to the west of the high school to finish 23rd Street straight to Winchester to ease some traffic concerns. We can have people have secondary access, but that needs to be built with the developer as that land is extended and becomes part of our future residential growth.
The city has seen business growth in recent years with downtown revitalization and the Nottingham development. What businesses would you like to see added to the city, and what do you see as the city’s role in economic development?
We kind of forced our hand with economic development and growth at Nottingham. Our vision and goal aren't to bring a business that we already have competition. Our goal is to have something that's not offered in the community already.
So as Nottingham grows and as we work on economic development, we can put incentives in place to help bring people here. Ultimately, though, I don't want to take public dollars to pay for private gain. So I'm challenged with that. I think our numbers will show business should come. As we grow further out with sports tourism, those chances are better for economic development. We don't necessarily have to have our hand directly in finding those offerings, but we still want a say in what they look like and what they do for our community.
Key needs for senior citizens in the community include transportation and housing. What do you see as the city’s role in enhancing senior support services?
We have worked with the Senior Resource Center, and we have a transportation option. The challenge with that is it's volunteer-based for drivers. So we should continue to reach out to the community to ask for partners.
The idea is that, as they grow, build some housing designed for that senior lifestyle: maintenance-free homes and the homes are on a single level. They're just smaller square footage than what they currently have. But they'd still offer a space that they can feel like it's your home. And, you know, we continue to partner and hope that the care facilities here in town do well, and we've worked with the newest one to bring them to the community, and that's part of what we want.
We want people to live here their entire life. We have to offer those resources to do that. We've worked with Parks and Rec to be sure they've got things in place to allow for senior citizens' activities. We don't want the senior citizens to be forgotten in the activity portion of Parks and Rec. So we're trying to offer things and not have any population, you know, forgotten to the community.
Taking into consideration various city services, including fire, police and Parks & Recreation, what do you see as needing additional funding or support right now?
I think our main thing is we're going to have to figure out our public works and maintenance. Our facilities and operations are challenging right now with the job force. I think our Parks and Rec are moving right along. They offer a ton of things for the community.
For the police department, we added extra officers at their requests. For the fire department, we're working on hiring a new fire chief. We have some long-term requests with the fire department that, as the community grows, we'll have to look a little deeper into the idea of more on-duty staff instead of more incentive volunteer staff. Most of our funding and worry is just long-term public works and how we keep the infrastructure funded and bring in employees that want to add to our workforce.
The library is hoping that voters will approve a bond issue in the spring to begin construction of a new library. What is your stance on this?
I'm in favor of the newly expanded library for the community. I want to see operation costs and what the library board's long-term vision for the library is. I think it will be more of a community resource center because of the design. That's going to be more than just a library, so I hope that they advertise it as more than just a library. It's a resource space. If that's what the community and those folks that have volunteered their time to be on the board find is most appropriate, that’s the services they can offer, I support them.
What do you think are the biggest strengths of Eudora?
I think the size of the community is one of the biggest strengths and the idea of community for our town and what we have a vision for us as a collective group. Eudora is on one of the busiest roads in the state. We have people that drive by every day who know about our school systems and know about that small-town feel. Those things are just built-in because we're here, but the foundation laid by the former city council and city administrators and people in the community have brought that.
What do you think are the biggest challenges?
We're trying to grow out of the idea that we were not planning a long-term kind of community. Eudora hasn't expanded the way it should, as far as the retail and manufacturing offerings. So that's a challenge that we have is to get past those things and not just be a bedroom community. We should have some more offerings for work, places to shop and to stay in town.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I feel my time invested in the community means a lot to me. I've always said that I hope that my kids can come back to town in 20 or 30 years, and there will be a thriving hometown for them. All four of my boys are from Eudora, which means a lot to me. To think that I've helped with what their hometowns look like for the future is rewarding.