It does not happen everywhere.

If you have traveled through many small to medium sized towns and cities across the land you have likely seen the sad and deteriorating condition of the historic and longtime central business districts in far too many communities. 

All too often, the historic core of our nation's cities are filled with deteriorating structures, empty storefronts and neglected infrastructure. That holds true in too many cases whether the community has a town square with a courthouse as the focal point or a long stretch of a major highway the business district grew up around.

The decades of the 1970s, 1980s and beyond have unfortunately been accented in the community development realm with property on the outskirts of towns where strip shopping centers, dollar stores and other retailers have sprung up. Over time those centers sucked vital retail dollars from the historic core of those towns causing them to die and wither away.

One of the aspects of Pittsburg I was most impressed with upon my arrival here after about a 30-year absence from the city and university was the vitality of the central business district.

Instead of empty storefronts with cracked and neglected sidewalks and outdated streetlights lining Broadway, Pittsburg's downtown area is well maintained with period street lights which add to the ambience.

The amount of retail activity in downtown is impressive. Not only is there a wide variety of retail, service and dining establishments but those firms are busy with people frequenting them.

Yes, I know there are some exceptions. There are some structures empty needing work and a little TLC to make them viable again.

But in the overall mix of the city's central business district the occupied buildings seem to outnumber those sitting idle.

That is impressive and reflects positively on people who care. Those people are not just the proprietors of those shops, boutiques, eateries or service firms.

It shows that officials in city government and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce care and have made a concerted effort to do their part in maintaining viable parking, streets, lighting and sidewalks that are not a hazard.

For the chamber, it reflects on an organization which I'm sure has done its part to both promote and encourage support of the city's small businesses.

Yes, Pittsburg also has shopping venues, such as Meadowbrook Mall and others. Those too also appear busy and viable.

According to information provided by the Pittsburg Area Chamber, the city sports more than 260 retail establishments. 

The fact that 80 of those establishments are still successfully operating in the city's historic core is impressive. That represents about 30 percent of the total retailers.

My first couple of weeks back working in the city have left me positive first impressions and a desire to get out, shop and eat locally, And, with a desire to get to know the folks making things happen on the small business and revitalization fronts.

— Mike Elswick is a staff writer of The Morning Sun. He can be emailed melswick@morningsun.net. or follow him on Twitter @ Mike_Elswick.