The first results are in from a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys of the community that took place to help determine what Pittsburg should look like in 2030.

The first results are in from a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys of the community that took place to help determine what Pittsburg should look like in 2030.

Imagine Pittsburg 2030, a community visioning/planning process, is continuing its work, but a report issued by the Bernard Consulting Group, who is guiding the process, shows the early results from discussions with hundreds of community members.

First on the list of key findings was the self-image, and “respondents were overwhelmingly positive when describing” the city. The responses talked about the sense of community, friendliness, the presence of the university and the cultural and recreational options. In sum, respondents said it is a “great place to raise a family.” Other comments noted the “ethnic diversity” and ideal location of the city.

Most respondents were not negative about the city, but when pressed, said that poverty, drug-related issues and a lack of well-paying jobs were concerns.

The summary also listed challenges and opportunities facing the city. These included housing, workforce development/jobs, transportation and infrastructure.

Housing was a particular area of concern. One respondent said that “we have a lot of really bad places that stand out to new eyes” while others described off-campus housing as “horrendous.”

The number of quality jobs in the area was another major concern, with respondents calling for better-paying jobs, including management positions. “There’s a desperate need for skilled jobs providing competitive wages,” said one respondent. “A lot of the parents of kids work and work hard, but work for a low level and are still under the poverty line,” said another. Participants saw the plastics and polymer industries as potential growth areas, as well as technical fields, research fields, and education. Transportation and infrastructure were also included as concerns.

As far as building blocks, the respondents felt Pittsburg State, medical care systems, cultural opportunities, the downtown area and strong schools (both public and Catholic) were among the strengths that could provide a foundation for the future.

While several other issues were raised, one stood out toward the bottom of the report. Notably, that the University of North Alabama, which hosts the Division II National Championship game in football, will be moving to Division I in the coming years. At least one respondent aware of the situation indicated that Pittsburg should push to host the national championship.