Pine Bluff Working to Fix Vacant Building Problem

PINE BLUFF, AR - "All you got to do is get in your vehicle and drive and look. You'll see them. It'll be boarded up or grass growed up around it. It's not gon' be hard. Trust me it's not going to be hard to find."

Jerome Adams describes the only city he's ever lived in as an eyesore.

"Every time you look up a building falling. And I guess the ones who own these buildings I don't know if they just trynna keep from putting money into it or whatever," says Adams.

The 51-year-old has lived in Pine Bluff all his life.

He saw it go from beautiful, rich and thriving, to filled with abandoned homes and buildings.

"It needs some kind of direction to go in. A positive direction," says Adams.

Well the city is working on that.

On Tuesday Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth will hold a special meeting for the council.

The city is getting more than $2M over the next two years to go toward a program that will train inmates on how to evaluate and demolish condemned property.

"The eye for me is on downtown with some structures that might fit a certain criteria, for them to be able to take those structures down," says Debe Hollingsworth.

40 inmates who are in their last year of serving will be accepted into the program.

The whole purpose is to revitalize the city while saving money as well help offenders.

"If they go back into society with no way of employment of gaining employment the chances are they are going to re-offend," says Hollingsworth.

The mayor expects to start the process in September.

"I don't think in my lifetime I'll live to see no big, drastic change no more than the buildings getting tore down," says Adams.

But Adams is glad his city is on its way to being restored because looking at it right now,

"It hurts. It hurts because I don't know how it done get out of whack, but it's an eyesore."

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