PB hopes the ‘sweep’ will attract developers

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Officials at the Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency will soon launch a blight campaign in an area where they hope to attract new developers.

Agency Acting Director Chandra Griffin held an initial meeting with officials from City Code Enforcement, Inspection and Zoning and Go Forward Pine Bluff to introduce the “Green Sweep” campaign. “. She said the agency is focusing on the area between West 17th and West 34th Avenues and Hazel to Olive Streets, just south of downtown, where properties that aren’t up to code or exacerbate the blight posed a problem.

“We want to stop the plague, and 34th has been identified as a border line, tipping the scales where it is,” Griffin said. “We want to stop the bleeding there.”

Griffin added that the project would coincide with Go Forward’s initiative to support ALICE families – or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Yet Employed – and the Neighborhood Improvement Act, which would attract up to 20 % of new construction and rehabilitation costs. developers to the target area. According to a previous business article, participating homeowners would have to agree to live in the target area for five years.

“We really want to be able to attract developers and contractors and say, ‘We’re doing things in this area,’ and for them to take advantage of opportunities for as much vacant land as possible, or remodel some homes,” Griffin said. .

Griffin has enlisted the help of Pine Bluff police with enforcement, but city officials want to educate citizens about the code before enforcing it.

“It’s going to be extra work for us, and we’re going to be using overtime to help them like we’ve done on other projects,” acting police chief Lloyd Franklin said. “We have a few police officers identified to do this job, and they could offer them the support they need to enforce it. We would just make sure they are safe, that they go to an area where we know that there is a problem. We can let them know before they leave.

Karla Williams, director of code enforcement at Pine Bluff, said enforcement has been a big challenge in recent years, citing lack of information as a challenge.

“A lot of our residents don’t know what the code is, what they can and can’t do, and that would be parking inoperable vehicles in and out of their yard,” Williams said. “It could be a number of things. It’s just a lack of information.”

Griffin said now is the time for the city to make an impact on blight control, adding that Jonesboro has a similar program in place.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said Mitzi Ruth, director of inspection and zoning. “If everyone does their part, I really believe it will make a difference.”

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