Pine Bluff City Council OKs downtown project

Downtown Pine Bluff is shown in this May 20, 2021, file photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/Byron Tate)
Downtown Pine Bluff is shown in this May 20, 2021, file photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/Byron Tate)

The Pine Bluff City Council approved a resolution during Monday's meeting to fund a project to improve pedestrian infrastructure along Second and Third avenues in downtown Pine Bluff. According to the resolution, the Federal-aid Transportation Alternative Funds are available at 80 percent federal participation and a 20 percent local match.

The federal aid for the project is on a reimbursable basis requiring the work to be accomplished and proof of payment prior to actual monetary reimbursements.

A resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Nelson Architectural Group, WER Architects and Woods Group Architects for on-call architectural services to the city of Pine Bluff was also approved.

According to Mayor Shirley Washington, architectural services will begin at the Harbor Oaks Pro Shop building.

"We're doing this because we have those small projects that we will be doing and we can save some time and dollars with on-call architects just like we have three on-call engineering firms," said Washington.

Washington said they use as many in-town groups as they can but are limited to what is available in Pine Bluff.

Pulled from the agenda so it can go through the committee first was a proposed ordinance merging the city's collection department into the finance department and designating the finance director as the city collector.

According to the proposal, the merger would improve efficiency.

The finance director would assume the duties and responsibilities performed by the city collector. The ordinance states the efficient performance of the duties assigned to the collection department is of vital importance to public safety, health and welfare, as that office is responsible for the collection of city taxes and fees, and currently has no official direction.

During the meeting, Washington shared that demolition has started on the Hardees restaurant building, located on West 28th Ave., that caught fire a few months ago.

"The demolition is being handled by the property owner," said Washington. "We don't know yet whether they are going to rebuild. It looks like they may not because of the cost of building but we still have hope and we still have promise."

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