As the COVID-19 pandemic still rages, Pittsburg mayor Dawn McNay says that citizens of Pittsburg can only go “forward together.”
On Thursday, Sept. 24, McNay delivered the State of the City address in conjunction with vice president for advancement at PSU and president of the PSU Foundation Kathleen Flannery and USD 250 school board member Marlene Willis. Topics presented included the economic health and prosperity of Pittsburg, the progress made by educational institutions in Crawford County during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the precautions taken by public health officials to keep Pittsburg citizens safe.
“Your city government made the conscious decision not to lose momentum, knowing that stopping would make it harder to get going again..,” McNay said. “All of this work is allowing our city to combat the effects of the virus (COVID-19) in a proactive way, not reactive, to not surrender, but to build that resiliency and capacity for full recovery by working together.”
Flannery opened the presentation by introducing the theme, “resilience.” She went through a brief walk down memory lane of other hardships Pittsburg has had to weather.
“This year has put innumerable obstacles in our path, but it’s not the first time our community has met adversity,” Flannery said. “If we go back to our early days as a community, we have weathered a variety of challenges. After the Russ Hall fire in 1914, the community rallied around to rebuild. Within 36 hours, the funds had been raised by the citizens of Pittsburg, and area churches, businesses, and the YMCA offered spaces for classes. As a result, classwork was continued with little disruption. In 1917, Camp Brandenburg was set up on the college campus. Volunteers from the community made up two batteries that eventually saw service in France during World War I… During World War II, the college offered housing and training sites for soldiers… The residents persevered through food shortages and rationing by creating victory gardens… We weathered the pandemic of 1918, the (Great) Depression, polio, tuberculosis, and the turbulent 60s… We have persevered through a variety of obstacles, and (came) together stronger.”
McNay also talked about some of the struggles that Pittsburg citizens have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have overcome some of these struggles.
“Our leaders have reached outside their comfort zone and come to the camera with frequent updates on city services, medical information on the virus, and how to keep business safe to operate..,” McNay said. “Support for our business community came from your city government with revisions in ordinances to extend serving areas and in a remarkable way from our citizens, supporting any business that found creative ways to open… There were many random acts of kindness… The kindness is a result of a community that is connected and understands that there is always a need to help others…”
McNay also stressed the importance that Pittsburg will only move forward by helping every citizen of Pittsburg.
“Why does your city fight so hard for housing, infrastructure, education, economic health, public wellness, and to communicate?” McNay said. “Because when we say, ‘Forward Together,’ we mean ‘Forward Together.’ We have to have a firm financial foundation based on diversity in business and Pittsburg needs planned growth.”