Pine Bluff Looking to Start Downtown Revitalization

PINE BLUFF, AR  - Two downtown Pine Bluff buildings have collapsed or partially fallen in the last year, and now city leaders are hoping a revitalization can take place.

Bob Purvis is the Executive Director of the Pine Bluff Convention Center and the Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission, he said, "It's sad when you see a building that has some historical significance. This most recent one was the old Shrine Hall, so it had some significance, and it's sad to see it."

Purvis has hopes the city of Pine Bluff will learn from the city of Hot Springs, and its new push to redevelop after the Majestic Hotel went up in flames.

"When they lost the Majestic, although everybody knew they needed to do some work on the downtown buildings, it just was kind of easy to go by it everyday, now there's a real focus on 'we have to do something'."

"Now maybe we've got our attention, and sometimes we need our attention, I think."

"I'm going to take the positive and hope that maybe it will be catalyst to cause something to happen."

While Purvis continues to hope, local business owner Robert English has his doubts.

"I'm very concerned."

"The way it is right now, unless we have some serious help, this downtown area will not be revitalzed, it's simply not worth it."

English owns a local music store and its building which sits next door to the building the fell in February. 

"If it's not a speciality building, it's not going to make it downtown."

"Unless we got some federal, state, or city money that would help."

Pine Bluff city leaders and business owners disagreeing on the future of a downtown district. 

A portion of Main Street, where both collapsed buildings are located, is still closed down. 

A decision will be made soon on the future of the Shrine Hall. 

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