PB City Council moving closer to funding Convention Center Hotel


By Ray King

During a meeting that ran nearly two-and-a-half hours Tuesday, the Pine Bluff City Council moved a step closer to seeing the old Plaza Hotel adjacent to the Convention Center torn down and construction beginning on a new Marriott Courtyard in its place.

Following a required public hearing, the council adopted one ordinance and one resolution dealing with funding for the project.

Both of those were sponsored by Council Member Bruce Lockett who talked about them with Deltaplex News.

The ordinance provides that the Hotel Public Facilities Board has secured financing for the project from a bank in Illinois and sets out that all debts associated with the project will be paid for by revenue from the hotel and not by the city.

The resolution authorizes the finance director to advance the facilities board $5,000 so that it can set up a bank account to receive money from a grant by the U.S.D.A. so as to avoid the assessment of bank fees.

Also Tuesday, the council voted to suspend the rules and read an ordinance waiving competitive bidding to buy equipment for the Harbor Oaks Golf Course three times before adopting it 8-0.

Council Member Steven Shaner sponsored that ordinance and explained it to Deltaplex News.

An ordinance authorizing the city to sign a loan agreement to buy two new fire trucks that was scheduled to be read for the second time was pulled by Mayor Shirley Washington who explained that the city’s finances will allow it to pay cash for the first of the two trucks, thereby reducing the interest that would be charged.