Editor's Note: This is the second 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: Zach Brooks
Race: City Commission
What is your current job? Electrical detailer
What is your current community involvement?
Eudora Amateur Baseball and Softball Association president
Committee chair for the Eudora Cub Scouts
Committee member for the boy troop and girl troop for Boy Scouts
Why are you running for election?
I really felt like I could help the city in some ways. Being with the Cub Scouts and with the baseball, I could see some improvements with the organizations in town, and I would like to strengthen that partnership with them.
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 do also like that small town feel, but I really like the Nottingham project. I think if we choose the right businesses and get that built up nicely, I think that would be a great addition to the city of Eudora. The growth, you always want your city to grow. That shows that you are doing good, so I feel like good growth would be great for Eudora.
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?
The entrances to the schools would be nice, I would have to get familiar with that. I actually think that is a county road, so I don’t know if the city and the county would have to work together for that out there in that situation. As always, our overhead lines for electrical. Eudora is known for power outages, see where I can help with those certain situations.
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?
I was thinking, “What are the businesses that people from Lawrence would bypass Eudora to go into Kansas City?” The only one I am really thinking of is maybe an Old Navy. Maybe an Academy Sports.
Kind of going back to the small town thing, I think a feed store or a small hardware store would be nice. Those kind of businesses. I don’t want to take away from the businesses that are already here. I don’t want to duplicate. We don’t need another coffee shop. We don’t need another pizza place. I want to make sure it is the right business.
Nottingham would be the big growth. If there is an empty building downtown, it would be nice to put something in there. There is always an opportunity for sports complexes of any sort. If we could bring in a sports complex and bring in tournaments over the weekend, that would also help our growth.
Those individuals coming from outside of town would spend their money. They would buy our gas, go to our unique businesses at the Nottingham center and stuff like that.
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?
With the idea of the new library coming in, there is going to be a vacant building where the old library sat. I really see that it could be a senior center during the day and a youth center at night for our youth organizations, 4-H, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts -- those places looking to meet in the evening.
I would like to work with the Parks and Rec and get classes going for enrichment, maybe a little cooking class, an arts and crafts class, or even playing bridge one night. Those kind of items.
Taking into consideration various city services, including fire, police and Parks & Recreation, what do you see as needing additional funding or support right now?
At this point right now, I haven’t dug too deep into it. If I do get elected, I would like to talk to those professionals that run those departments and see where I could help and see what funding they do need. Just being more familiar with the Parks and Rec. Again, just good field maintenance. We want to be proud of our fields and facilities when people come from out of town.
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 really do like the idea of the new library. I like how there is going to be an option for a community room in there also separate from the library. The technology that the new library will get will be state of the art, so that is also something that we need.
I think there are a lot of families in Eudora that use the existing library for their everyday internet purpose. Just going in there and checking their email, so that would be nice.
What do you think are the biggest strengths of Eudora?
The biggest strength is that it’s a small town, and everybody knows everybody. You feel safe when your kids walk around because you feel like you have several parents also keeping an eye on them when you are not around. That’s what I think is the biggest strength is the small-town feel.
What do you think are the biggest challenges?
Probably the biggest challenge is the exact same thing that’s good for it. It’s still a small town, and like everything else word travels very quickly in small towns and some opinions get heated and things need to be worked out in other ways sometimes.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
One of my other big items I’d really like to work forward to is giving a good competitive wage for our city employees. We’ve had some leave that were a great fit for the city, and I just want to make sure we are keeping the good ones.