After a months-long search, the Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency has selected Maurice Taggart as executive director. Taggart will lead the agency and administer the daily oversight and implementation of the Central City Urban Renewal Plan, according to a news release.

The plan calls for helping to reduce blight in the central part of Pine Bluff. The agency is an offshoot of the Go Forward Pine Bluff tax initiative for economic development.

Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency Board Chairman Jimmy Dill said in a written statement that “after the most recent departures of two directors, there was strong support to look for a candidate who had strong ties to Pine Bluff and who has demonstrated a vested interest in the city of Pine Bluff progressing forward.

“Maurice and his family have called Pine Bluff home for nearly 30 years. Over the years he has forged personal and professional relationships with many of the individuals that will be called upon for their assistance and expertise as we implement the Central City Urban Renewal Plan. We are excited to have him on board.”

Taggart has worked in government on both the local and state level, the news release said.

“His expertise is in the areas of community outreach and program development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate from the William H. Bowen School of Law,” according to the release.

Taggart has served as Minority Outreach Coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. In this position, he developed the agency’s work plan for minority recruitment and retention, outreach strategies, and assisted the administration on legislative issues. In 2009, Mr. Taggart served as the Director of Community Affairs for the Arkansas lieutenant governor’s office.

“I am honored by the level of support from Pine Bluff leaders in every corner of this great city,” Taggart said in the news release.

“I appreciate the trust given to me by the Commission. We are at a major turning point in the revitalization and resurgence of Pine Bluff to her glory days. I will immediately work with the Commission and other stakeholders to eliminate the blight that hinders our progress and development efforts. Together, we can and we will.”

Currently, Taggart is the trial coordinator at the Pine Bluff City Attorney’s Office and an adjunct professor at both Southeast Arkansas College and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where he teaches business law, introduction to criminal justice, constitutional law, law as a career and legal reasoning. He also serves as chairman of the advisory Home Health Governing Board at Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas and as board member for T.O.P.P.S.

Taggart is also involved in the community and with his church. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Mr. Taggart is an active member of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church where he serves in the Security Ministry and as Sunday School Teacher.

Taggart is a father and has been married for almost two decades to Jefferson County Clerk Shawndra L. Taggart.