By Ray King

About 50 people were in attendance Thursday as representatives of Crafton Tull presented the comprehensive plan for the City of Pine Bluff that they have been working on since December 2018.

Mayor Shirley Washington described the plan as a “roadmap on how to move the city forward.”

The meeting was held at the Pine Bluff Convention Center where Crafton Tull representatives Dave Roberts and Julie Kelso explained each element, which begins with “Growing Pine Bluff” and ends with implementation of the plan.

One of the elements is labeled “focus” and identifies a number of areas in the city limits that could successfully become residential and commercial at the same time, including property around the hospital. Before any of that can happen though, Roberts said cleaning up the city must take place.

Other focus areas include Downtown and the Civic Center, Harding and Main, UAPB and University Park, the Merrill Center, Jefferson Square, 13th and Blake, 28th Street and the East End/Pines Mall.

Kelso said in 1960, Pine Bluff had a population of 44,000 that lived on a total of 6,600 square acres. In 2017, that population had increased to 40,500 but the city has expanded to more than 29,000 square acres.

In her initial presentation, she also said that the planners shifted their approach after they began work and Roberts explained why that was done.

The entire plan takes up 220 pages.