The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 15, 2012

Commission hears budget requests from outside agencies

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Four requests by outside agencies for funding support were among the first round to be considered recently by the Pittsburg City Commission.

Requests included $40,774 by the Alliance for Technology Commercialization, $63,000 by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, $9,000 by the Homer Cole Community Center, and $2,000 by Pittsburg Beautiful.

The ATC’s request was the same as last year’s, the chamber’s was an increase of $5,000, the Homer Cole Community Center’s was an increase of $1,350, and Pittsburg Beautiful’s was the same as last year’s.

In presenting the request for the ATC, Eric Ferrell, the organization’s president, said that the Kansas Department of Commerce ended its share of support of the ATC 30 days ago, after having provided about 37 percent of its funding for 13 years.

Ferrell said the end of that funding would allow the ATC to move from a regional approach to one focused on Pittsburg.

The ATC’s mission is to assist Pittsburg area residents to commercialize their new ideas and inventions, including developing prototypes, market research, patent searches, focus groups, alpha testing, additional research and development, fundraising strategies, identifying product and production partners, business planning and collaborative initiatives.

The ATC also is supported by Pittsburg State University, which provides in-kind services including office space; by client fees and royalties; and by Crawford and Coffey counties.

In presenting the chamber’s request, President Blake Benson said his organization serves as the “front door for the community” and responds to at least 20,000 requests for information each year.

Benson said the chamber also provides legislative advocacy, marketing for Pittsburg events, and downtown development.

In addition to city funding, the chamber also receives financial support from its 500 members.

In presenting the request for the Homer Cole Center, its namesake Homer Cole said the center plays a valuable role in the lives of hundreds of senior citizens from the Pittsburg area by providing congregate meals, programming and resources.

In addition to city funding, the center receives about $10,000 from Crawford County, which also contributes funding to other senior citizen centers throughout the county.

In presenting the request for Pittsburg Beautiful, Jim Buche, the group’s president, described it as an invaluable asset to the city. The volunteer group, comprised largely of retirees, uses the money to plant and maintain decorative concrete urns spanning several downtown blocks on Broadway. It also regularly mulches and adds plants to garden beds along parking lots, on roadway “islands” and at the city’s north and south welcome signs.

Additional requests from outside agencies will be considered at the July 24 meeting, at which point the City Commission will approve or disapprove all requests for the 2013 budget year.


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