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Ben Terwilliger, executive director of the Eudora History Museum, presents his biannual report to City Commissioners at Monday’s meeting. He said the museum welcomed a record number of students in the past year.

City Commissioners endorsed a plan Monday night that will unite Eudora and surrounding cities ahead of a new battery plant’s construction

The BELL Alliance will comprise Eudora, Baldwin City, Lawrence and Lecompton. Its goal is to help these cities work together and take advantage of economic benefits the Panasonic Energy facility is projected to yield. 

City Manager Barack Matite previously met with alliance members to discuss how this will help Eudora. 

“The group discussed a lot of things, including how we can work together and collaborate to make sure that we are all doing what we can to make sure our respective communities are successful in trying to brace for the impact of not only the announcement, but hopefully the construction of the new Panasonic plant,” Matite said. 

Plans for the electric vehicle battery plant were announced in July, with De Soto as the potential site for construction. The projected 4,000 workers at the facility will move to nearby cities, bringing in revenue for communities like Eudora. 

“Obviously there’s a lot of excitement, but there’s also some challenges,” Matite said. 

In other business, Ben Terwilliger, executive director of the Eudora Community Museum, presented his biannual report to commissioners. He said the museum welcomed a record number of students in the past year.

Terwilliger also highlighted a visit from author Venecia Eubanks Sutton Price, who wrote "Beth Fortner Moseley: Her Story.” The book focuses on Price’s aunt, part of Eudora’s historically Black community. The museum held a book signing, attended by various community members. 

“‘Beth Fortner Moseley: Her Story,’ was donated to our museum, and it’s an important book,” Terwilliger said. “We do have quite a few researchers that come to our museum to access our large collection.”

Terwilliger said the $37,000 the museum received from American Rescue Plan Act funds will go toward replacing most of the building’s roof. 

Another building may undergo renovations soon — Terwilliger said the historic United Methodist Church has been bought following an intentionally-set fire on May 29. According to a Douglas County property owner database, Weld Properties LLC currently owns the church.

In other business, commissioners discussed their meeting attendance policy during a work session. Before Eudora’s form of government changed in 2012 to commissioner-manager, city code included guidance on this, which the city may choose to adopt soon. 

According to Section 1-211, currently not included in city code, if commissioners are absent for four regular business meetings, half of that commissioner’s monthly compensation will be deducted. 

“I think the four meetings are appropriate, but we have to define what those meetings are, like if it’s a regular meeting or budget meeting,” Mayor Tim Reazin said. 

Matite said his staff will put together a policy for commissioners to vote on, which will be presented in a future meeting. 

Reach reporter Abby Shepherd at eudoratimes@gmail.com

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