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Pittsburg City Commission meets to address economic development.

Pittsburg city officials met Tuesday, January 26, 2021 for the regularly scheduled City Commissioners meeting, held at the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center. On the agenda were many items aimed toward the economic development of the city. Pittsburg has multiple projects in the works to attract more residents and retailers to the area.  

Commissioners approved the request submitted by Angie Hadley, Program Coordinator for the Restorative Justice Authority of Crawford County, to reappoint Stacy Kratz to an additional three-year term as a member of the Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board (JCAB). 

Also approved was Casey’s Retail Company’s application to sell cereal malt beverages at their new location.  

After some discussion, the commissioners approved the Economic Development Advisory Committee’s (EDAC) recommendation to forgive $60,000 of the $300,000 loan that was provided to the Pittsburg State University Foundation to support the buildout of the Block 22 restaurant/retail space. Pittsburg State University has fully complied with the City’s requirements for loan forgiveness. Commissioners voted 4-1 to forgive the loan in the proposed amount. Mayor Munsell opposed.  

The commissioners approved an amendment to the Business Development and Innovation Services Agreement between Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg. The agreement says PSU will provide support to the City to effectively help create and attract new businesses, industries, and manufacturing concerns of the City, as well as more effectively promote the expansion and growth of existing businesses and industries already located in the City. The expiration date of the agreement was extended till January 25, 2022.  

Director of Economic Development, Blake Benson, and Pittsburg State University Chief Strategy Officer, Shawn Naccarato, presented the quarterly Economic Development Report. Benson shared that the economic environment in the Pittsburg area has improved significantly, despite the pandemic, reporting that unemployment is now at 3.5 percent, compared to 6.7 percent nationwide. Benson also reported that the local labor force increased by about 700, further indicating the strength of Pittsburg’s economy. Naccarato shared that the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at PSU supported businesses large and small through the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 by assisting them with federal programs and consulting with them on plans to survive and through the COVID-19 pandemic. Naccarato also shared that the Pittsburg SBDC was designated as the central office for the entire state. The Chamber of Commerce and Jake’s Fireworks “Pittsburg Strong” initiative raised over $70,000 for local small businesses. US Awards and MPIX donated seven thousand facemasks to Pittsburg area businesses. Special projects for 2020 included Dairy Queen, ReNu Medical & Spa, Riggs Chiropractic, Arck Consulting, Creekside East, Payton’s Hamlet, Sunflower Hemp, and the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas education center. 

The Pittsburg City Commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm. The public is invited to attend. Due to COVID restrictions, the public is asked to participate in the city commission meetings via media. The meetings are broadcast live on the City’s local government access channels (Cox channel 6 and Craw-Kan channel 406) and on YouTube. To subscribe to the City’s YouTube channel, go to http://www.pittks.org/youtube. To learn more about the Pittsburg city government, city commissioners, or to view meeting agendas and minutes, visit pittks.org/city-government/city-commission. 

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