August 29, 2016 1:45PM
A drive that began three years ago ended successfully on Thursday, Aug. 25, as 22 leaders from Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg came together for the first meeting of the Joint City-University Advisory Board (JCUAB).
The advisory board is charged with ensuring and encouraging open communication and collaboration between the university and city. The idea for an advisory board originated in 2013 and is based upon a similar agreement between Clemson University and the City of Clemson in South Carolina.
“Clemson is the standard-bearer for successful town and gown relations,” said PSU Director of Government and Community Relations and JCUAB Chair Shawn Naccarato. “In speaking with them, we discovered our town and gown relationship was very similar to theirs with the exception of an advisory board. The advisory board helps ensure collaboration even through changes of leadership. It’s exciting to see if finally come to fruition.”
Pittsburg City Commissioners signed a formal memorandum of understanding in January of 2016 detailing the creation of the JCUAB. The board will focus on several areas of interest including economic development, security and public safety, housing, transportation and infrastructure, utilities and student engagement.
“When we (city and university) work together it benefits our community,” said Assistant City Manager and JCUAB Co-Chair Jay Byers. “This advisory board will help us better coordinate our planning, which in turn will lead to better projects and improved efficiency. I’m looking forward to the work ahead.”
The JCUAB will meet monthly from August through May. Members for 2016-17 are:
City of Pittsburg: JCUAB Co-Chair and Assistant City Manager Jay Byers, Director of City Planning Troy Graham, Director of Public Utilities Cameron Alden, Director of Finance Jamie Clarkson, Director of Community Development and Housing Becky Gray, Director of Economic Development Blake Benson, Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director B.J. Harris, Director of Parks & Recreation Kim Vogel, Chief of Police Mendy Hulvey, Fire Chief Mike Simmons, and at-large community member, TBD.
Pittsburg State University: JCUB Chair and Director of Government and Community Relations Shawn Naccarato, Director of the Center for Innovation and Business Development Darrell Pulliam, Director of Facilities Planning Paul Stewart, Vice President of Finance and Administration John Patterson, Vice President of Student Life Steve Erwin, Student Government (SGA) President Hank Cloninger, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communication Chris Kelly, Director of PSU Police Mike McCracken, Academic Affairs Designee and Dean of the Kelce College of Business Paul Grimes, and at-large president’s designee Jon Bartlow.