All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts..." — William Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts..." — William Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

Imagine a play where all the actors are working from a different script. All the lighting and sound technicians are following their own paths. Stagehands move items on and off the stage by their own design, as well. The result would be chaos, and nothing would be accomplished. Each person, at the end of the day, could say that they did the best they could, but together nothing was done.

While the community of Pittsburg is not a play, it works in much the same way. Without direction, each participant in the community would be working off their own script, believing that what they are doing is beneficial, even if it may be completely counter to what is necessary.

Enter the Imagine Pittsburg 2030 visioning process. This project is an attempt, commissioned by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, to give direction to the players in the community. Local businesses have pledged or donated the nearly $100,000 it takes to put on an effort of this magnitude.

The city can't just jump at the first person's vision of the community. For instance, the Imagine Pittsburg 2030 steering committee consists of 14 members. The odds are good that most of those 14 will be retired by the time 2030 comes around. As few as 1-3 of them may still be in their current roles in 18 years. That's not to say their points are to be ignored — not at all. Rather, it's to say that their vision could be too similar if the vision is going to reflect the community.

It is to their credit that they have not just taken their own ideas, but have sought as many opinions as possible. At least 125 people have participated in focus groups of various subsections of the community. Almost 300 people responded to an online survey sent out in city water bills. There have also been 10 sit-down interviews with prominent local business leaders.

It would be great if that were enough. If more than 425 responses were enough, then it wouldn't be just 2 percent of the population.

Going back to the play metaphor, if only 2 percent of the performers in a play were on the same script, it still would not make a quality production.

While the visioning process includes a lot of prominent leaders, the success of the project will rely on the buy-in and the success of achieving the results of the process. And that will include everyone in the city, not just the leaders. Without people taking ownership of the vision and the fulfillment of that vision, it may just be the vision of the city's upper class and not the vision of the city as a whole.

That's where the city can make a difference. This week's town hall meetings were an important step in getting the involvement of the city, and it's not going to stop there. If this vision is to be a success, more surveys must be sent out and filled out, more town hall meetings must be hosted, and more imaginations must be utilized. And those things will happen.

In 18 years, perhaps a four-lane U.S. Highway 69 will reach the city. Perhaps the population will be pushing 25,000 or 30,000. Maybe there will be more attractive housing or the Colonial Fox will be renovated or two cycles of Pittsburg State's 10-year master plan will have been completed.

There is a difference between the play and a community visioning process. In order for a play to work, the players don't often get a say in what they perform. In the community visioning process, if the members of the community don't get to write the script, it won't succeed.

Do your part. Call the Chamber and see how you can get involved in the visioning process. Share what you want to see happen by the time 2030 rolls around.
Imagine what Pittsburg could be, and how it could get there.

Help write the script and play your part. If we do, then in 2030, we can all take pride in our performance.

By Andrew Nash, for The Morning Sun