Pittsburg Mayor Patrick O’Bryan delivered the annual State of the City address on Tuesday morning, saying that “Pittsburg could be better and it could be worse.”

Pittsburg Mayor Patrick O’Bryan delivered the annual State of the City address on Tuesday morning, saying that “Pittsburg could be better and it could be worse.”

O’Bryan described the city as a series of mixed results, and also took the time during the speech to make a push for voters to support the Pittsburg sales tax question on Nov. 2, a .25-cent tax that would help raise funds to repair city streets.

“It’s a quarter of one percent sales tax that would end in March 2016,” O’Bryan said. “That’s 25 cents on a $100 purchase. It’s important to note that all consumers pay, not just property owners. That means it’s spread over a lot of people, not just the people of Pittsburg, but folks that come to Pittsburg and eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and drink in our bars.”

The majority of O’Bryan’s speech was contrasting the mixed results the city has had in recent years, noting of particular interest the vacancy of the former Superior building, which he described as the largest vacant industrial building in the state of Kansas.

“Things could be better if we had an industry in the Superior building,” he said. “It could be worse if we were not working with the state, with the Joplin Regional Business Alliance and others to fill that space. We look forward to filling this building. Though it stands empty, all is not bleak.”

On the other hand, O’Bryan also described a series of mixed results the city has received from state and federal funding.

“We could be better if we still had the demand transfer money, but we probably will never see that money again,” O’Bryan said. “We could be worse if we had no money from the federal stimulus and homeland security.”

O’Bryan said that those funding sources helped pay for an overlay of Broadway, a new street barn and equipment, a fire truck with a 100-foot ladder, a southeast pump station and the modernization of the water treatment facility.

The mayor further described the work done by each of the departments under the city’s umbrella, and noted the addition of two new parks, the 23rd Street Bike Park and the Rails to Trails walkway.

He also noted as room for improvement the need for a completed four-lane U.S. Highway 69 to Interstate 44 and improving the city’s statutes and codes,while praising the relationship between the city and both Pittsburg State and Via Christi Hospital.

Before closing, O’Bryan spoke about the improvements the city has seen since the death of his longtime partner, Bob Lyerla roughly eight years ago. In particular, he noted the TIF district, the Family Resource Center, CHC-SEK, the improved intersections of Fourth and Walnut streets and Fourth and Rouse streets, several new facilities at Pittsburg State, growth at Meadowbrook Mall, expansion of Pittsburg businesses, new parks, new hotels, a new fire station and a new law enforcement center.

“When we step back, we can see that Pittsburg has come a long way. Through new leadership nurtured by the Young Professionals group, the city is looking forward,” O’Bryan said. “We are positioning to build new community leaders who will invest in the city’s future so we can ensure a quality of life and that this quality of life will be here for future generations.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.