PB City Council votes to take private property from land owners downtown for Delta Rhythm and Blues


By Ray King

By a vote of 5 to 3, the Pine Bluff City Council on Monday adopted a resolution allowing the city to use eminent domain to obtain property downtown that will be a part of the Delta Rhythm and Blues Cultural District.

Economic and Development Director Larry Matthews told the council that the city followed the federal process after five of the six property owners in the district turned down an offer from the city to buy the property. Property owners said the city offered under $4 per square foot after they had the property appraised while an appraiser hired by the property owners said the property was worth almost $6 per square foot.

One of those who voted no was council member Steven Shaner and he explained why to Deltaplex News.

Also voting no was council, member Steven Mays who voted by Zoom. Council Member Glen Brown Jr. left early and did not vote so that was counted as a no.

Voting for the resolution were Council Members Lloyd Holcomb Jr., Glen Brown Sr., LaTisha Brunson, Lanette Frazier and Bruce Lockett, who explained his vote to Deltaplex News.

Matthews said the property in question is not a part of the initial project which will be constructed in stages and may not be used for several years.

Also Monday, an ordinance authorizing the city to enter into an agreement with U.S. Bancorp Government Leasing and Finance Inc. to finance the purchase of two new fire trucks was reads once and placed on the calendar.

Mayor Shirley Washington told the council that the city was working on options to reduce the interest rate on the loan and would have more information on that at the next meeting.

An ordinance rezoning 12 acres at 2001 S. Ohio St., that will be the site of multi-family apartments and four-plex apartments for senior citizens was read three times and approved.