What is the Imagine Pittsburg 2030 Plan?
In the summer of 2010, business, education and community leaders in Pittsburg identified a need for a grassroots, citizen-driven visioning effort to strategically address the community’s opportunities and challenges through the year 2030. This effort was called Imagine Pittsburg 2030.
A steering committee of fifteen local representatives from a wide variety of backgrounds was formed to lead the visioning effort. Pittsburg City Commissioner Marty Beezley and Dr. Brad Hodson were chosen to serve as co-chairs of the vision steering committee. As part of the information-gathering process, this steering committee engaged The Bernard Consulting Group, a Kansas City-based consulting firm regarded as one of the nation’s foremost experts in community visioning. To maximize community input, the steering committee and The Bernard Group conducted three town hall meetings, published two online surveys and distributed an identical hard copy survey mailed to all Pittsburg residents. The Bernard Group also conducted one-on-one interviews and thirteen focus groups with various targeted audiences from the community.
In February 2017, the steering committee met to update the four areas of focus and added two new ones, Education and Marketing. The committee then released a first draft of the new IP 2030 community vision strategy. This strategy identified all six areas of focus, goals and individual tasks to accomplish the goals.
The following diagram provides a comprehensive overview of the six areas of focus:
Increase Quality and Volume of Housing Stock in Support of IP 2030
The importance of housing cannot be overestimated. The primary measurement of growth is population. With over half of its housing stock over fifty years old and an average listing price of $85,000, Pittsburg does not represent an attractive housing market. In Pittsburg, 27% of the houses were built before 1939 and 28% were built between 1940 and 1970, making over half the housing stock approximately 50 years or older.
A recent comprehensive housing study indicates housing needs across the entire spectrum including affordable, senior, moderate income, multi-family, and higher-end market rate, with an emphasis on the need for moderate to higher income houses in specific locations. Current estimates indicate over 400 acres of developable land within the city limits. In order to increase the quality and volume of housing stock in Pittsburg, the following strategies must take place:
- Create planned residential neighborhoods
- Infill Development
- Increase Downtown Residential
- Develop “Supportive” Housing
The engine driving vital communities is business. Communities that support economic activity are better able to sustain a successful population and increase community wealth. Pittsburg will be an environment that encourages entrepreneurial activity, supports business and creates jobs. Pittsburg will actively work to attract and retain a skilled workforce to meet the needs of its growing businesses. It will better leverage university talents and resources directed to support targeted industry clusters, and it will enrich its quality of place by focusing on improved cultural and physical amenities. IP 2030 goals for Economic Development include:
- Promote Local Entrepreneurship and Attract Jobs & Investment
- Attract and Retain a Skilled Workforce
- Better Leverage University Talents and Resources
- Enrich Quality of Place
- Expand Convention & Tourism Services
A strong infrastructure is a vital component of any community and Pittsburg’s continued investment in this area will provide opportunities to both business and individuals alike. Huge advances have already taken place in the technology sector and as a community comprehensive master plan is completed further investments in our infrastructure will be identified and addressed. These plans and the related projects will be critical as Pittsburg continues to attract new residents and business. Traffic flows and alternative transportation methods are a necessary part of having a friendly, livable community. Specific IP 2030 goals for Infrastructure include:
- Advance Technological Systems within the Community
- Strategize Pittsburg’s Infrastructure Future
- Develop Sustainable Capital Improvement Program
The health and safety of the people in Pittsburg is essential to maintaining a vibrant and growing community. The citizens of Pittsburg have approved additional police officers and public safety equipment and technology and have invested in their physical security. The next step is to improve their overall health and increase activity levels. In addition to improving our services for the underserved and those struggling with their individual health, Pittsburg will create a built environment that encourages alternatives to automobiles and provides essential services for all of its citizens. Finally, by leveraging our current entertainment venues Pittsburg will position itself to become a regional destination for people to gather. The IP 2030 goals for Public Wellness include:
- Provide Health Support Systems
- Encourage Active and Healthy Lifestyles
- Become Entertainment Capital of the Region
A key component for any great community is a commitment to education. Pittsburg is fortunate to have an education system that not only provides quality at all levels, from Pre-K through 12 learning, but also a four-year University and a regional technical education center.
Education opportunities for everyone in our community, regardless of their individual needs will continue to attract industry, families and entrepreneurs. By partnering with our education institutions Pittsburg will prepare a workforce that is ready for any challenge, and provides a fun and exciting environment for those who are choosing a place to live and raise their kids. IP 2030 goals for Education include:
- Workforce Development/Alignment
- Advance all Pre-K Through 12 Schools
- Grow PSU (10,000) and Align/Leverage PSU Long Range Plan
As Imagine Pittsburg 2030 continues, the number of successes achieved by our businesses, institutions and citizens grows. Telling the story of how we are doing is an important part of this process. Communities constantly compete with one another. One of the simplest ways to effectively tell our story is to make a concerted effort to market our progress and specifically our successes.
While the initial Imagine Pittsburg 2030 initiative was largely a plan, the latest version includes not only a plan forward, but a summary of achievements and progress. The understanding that celebrating our successes with those outside our community is critical to growing Pittsburg will help us as we move Forward Together. The specific goals attributed to the IP 2030 Marketing focus area include:
- Develop Pittsburg Brand
- Tell Our Story Better
- Partner with the Business Community
From 2012 to 2017, Pittsburg experienced approximately $300 million in planned or completed projects. Many of these were a direct result of community input received through the Imagine Pittsburg 2030 planning process.
- Construction of the $80 million Kansas Crossing Casino, along with new Hampton Inn & Suites and La Quinta Inn & Suites properties.
- Completion of the $34 million Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and $16 million Robert W. Plaster Indoor Event Center at Pittsburg State University.
- Continued growth in the medical sector, including multi-million dollar expansions at Via Christi Hospital, Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and Pinamonti Wellness Center.
- Significant expansions at Masonite, Kendall Packaging Corporation, EaglePicher Technologies, CDL Electric, Miller’s Professional Imaging and several other major employers.
- Considerable growth in the retail sector, including new locations for Buffalo Wild Wings, Rib Crib, Colton’s Steakhouse, Gusano’s, Domino’s Pizza and more.
- The $1.6 million Crawford County Career & Technical Education Center, a collaborative effort between the Bicknell Family Foundation, City of Pittsburg, Crawford County, USD 250, Pittsburg State University and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, which will ensure that area residents have access to the skills required for the jobs of today and that area businesses enjoy a skilled, competitive workforce.
- A new City of Pittsburg Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan, which now serves as a crucial part of the City’s annual budgeting process.
- Passage of a sales tax dedicated to enhancing public safety, which added more than twenty-five law enforcement officers and greatly improved forensic technology.
- Over 100 miles of fiber optic connectivity, along with four new telecommunications company franchise agreements providing high-speed service to Pittsburg businesses and residents (including 1GB to the home)
- Over $3 million secured by the City in planned or constructed trails as a result of state and federal grants, safe routes to school grants, Sunflower trail grants and private donations.
- Streamlined City internal procedures for demolition of dilapidated structures and better coordination with the County for more frequent Sheriff sales of properties
- Adoption and implementation of the International Property Maintenance Code.
- A target industry analysis aimed better leveraging Pittsburg’s resources and programs offered at Pittsburg State University to enhance economic development/business recruitment.