Pittsburg city officials met Tuesday, March 23, 2021, for the regularly scheduled City Commission Meeting. The Commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
During the Public Input segment, resident of Pittsburg Virginia Darling expressed her concern about the lack of storm shelters in the city. The city officials addressed her inquiries at the end of the meeting, as is policy.
City manager Daron Hall said he has talked to many people that share Darling’s concern.
“As the clouds get thick and windy this is the time of year where we always talk about tornadoes,” Hall said. “We have 20,000 people that we care deeply about and try to provide all aspects of public safety. But when it comes down to tornadoes and severe weather, we usually defer to the weather people and the Emergency Management Coordinator for the County. The idea of naming a city facility as a storm shelter brings in a host of issues.”
The Mayor commended Pittsburg, Frontenac, and Baker fire departments for their efforts battling the fire downtown last Friday.
“They did an excellent job,” Munsell said. “They contained the fire to the building of origin, and it was stubborn.”
Firefighters responded to the Smith Clinic Apartments fire on March 19. Pittsburg deputy city manager Jay Byers said he was confident the building can be salvaged, according to an article in the Morning Sun. Munsell said he understood how frustrating those kinds of fires can be.
“I just wanted to make sure that I offered my gratitude to those who fought that fire,” Munsell said. “I also want to offer my sorrow to the residents of that building who are without a home right now because of the fire. The police were putting up barricades, and public works helped. It was a joint effort by a lot of people in an unfortunate situation. So, thank you all,” Munsell said.
Hall added to the Mayor’s comments and said it was important to not leave anyone out.
“At the end of the day, we were over there at 4:00 P.M., speaking to the people that lost their possessions and their homes,” Hall said. “The Salvation Army was on site. (They gave) out vouchers for groceries, (they gave) out vouchers for materials. There (were) some private businesses that pulled together a bunch of blankets and things and were providing for those, I believe, 16 individuals there. And we even had firefighters going back (after) 4:00 and retrieving things—one gentleman’s wife’s ashes in an urn (were returned.) The Salvation Army was there even after everybody else was gone doing the hard work.”
The commission agreed to amend its agreement with Northgate Shopping Center. It was necessary to reschedule finish-dates for the planned improvements which had been delayed by shutdowns.
After recommendations from Chamber of Commerce president Blake Benson, the commission approved partial mortgage releases for three lots in the Silverback Landing housing development.
“Our community should see this as a good sign, good momentum at Silverback,” Benson said. “I spoke with the developer this afternoon. He said that he has now sold 16 lots.”
Benson said the bank expects this to be a regular occurrence.
“Which is obviously a good thing,” Benson said.
The commissioners approved a request by Ken Brock to sublease a hangar he owns at Atkinson Municipal Airport.
The commission unanimously approved a $5.13 million loan agreement for the financing of a wastewater treatment project through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Kansas Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund. Director of Utilities Matt Bacon said this is just a modification to help solidify better estimates and better construction cost.
“This is a design engineering loan,” Bacon said. “What we’re asking for now (is) to modify that. As we get the plant designed, then we’ll come back for a natural construction loan. This will be paid for with our operating budget at the wastewater treatment plant.”