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Morning Sun
  • SULLIVAN: Downtown Pittsburg

  • I recently attended a brainstorming soirée on how to promote more activity in downtown Pittsburg. So did about 40 other interested Pittsburg community activists, downtown merchants and club owners, students and event organizers.  It was a good starting point for a group  that  could become a driving force in rethinking, reinventing,  and rejuvenating  downtown .  Oh, the possibilities!

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  • I recently attended a brainstorming soirée on how to promote more activity in downtown Pittsburg. So did about 40 other interested Pittsburg community activists, downtown merchants and club owners, students and event organizers.  It was a good starting point for a group  that  could become a driving force in rethinking, reinventing,  and rejuvenating  downtown .  Oh, the possibilities!
    The event was organized by Pittsburg’s one woman vision squad, Vonnie Corsini, of the Colonial Fox Foundation, who is always bubbling over with more ideas to make Pittsburg a better place than she could ever get  funding for. Thank God for the Vonnie Corsinis of the world. Without them life would be a much duller deal.
    The meeting was generated in part by a request of the new City Manager, who, for some strange reason, chose not to attend, but sent his Information technology guy to help spur the discussion, and spur it he did. Not that the assembled group needed much spurring.  The energy and enthusiasm was palpable, and the ideas on how to make downtown a more vibrant place were many, varied, and vocal, if not all that organized. That’s ok. From humble beginnings often come great things.
    The issues raised included the downtown traffic control system ( which is one of my pet peeves), the need to organize and define what areas comprise downtown so that appropriate zoning changes might be recommended, and how to modify Pittsburg’s noise ordinance which is having a limiting  effect on one already lively downtown gathering spot that has to cease it’s live music programming at 10pm due to the noise ordinance.
    If we are truly looking at ways to bring and keep more people downtown, that limitation , among many others, has to be looked at and changed to promote, not quell, downtown entertainment.
    The group endeavored to inventory the events , already existing , which bring people to downtown, and see how they could be improved, expanded, and coordinated with other community calendars and events. The room was literally bursting with positive energy, and the group decided to meet again in two weeks to better organize itself and define its mission.  That will surely need to happen if there is to be progress toward the goal of realizing Pittsburg’s unrealized potential.
    The only recent community turnout to rival the interest expressed in downtown was the showing of civic interest in handling our garbage collection. That’s an important issue for the city council to resolve, but the future of downtown, and the future vitality of the greater Pittsburg area, and that of all of Southeast Kansas is certainly as compelling as who will be allowed to pick up the trash.
    The key to the success of this new group will be the support it is able to muster for its goals among the decision makers in the community. They have a big stake in the outcome, and it must be said that the downtown is the core of the community, and it deserves the attention and fixes that are necessary to make it adapt, thrive and grow. It would be nice to see some City Council involvement in this group and the issues it will tackle. It is important for us to realize that we are all in this boat together, and we must all row our oars in one direction---- forward!
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