The Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency was recently awarded grant funds in the amount of $114,000 from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management as part of its Hazardous Mitigation Grant program to help alleviate flooding in City of Pine Bluff, according to a news release.

A.J. Gary, director of The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said that “this is a perfect example of why the Mitigation Branch is such an important part of our agency in our ability to serve the citizens of the State of Arkansas,” according to the news release.  “I would like to also take this opportunity and personally commend the Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency for being proactive in applying for this grant to help alleviate flooding issues in Pine Bluff.”

This funding will be matched with local resources to construct a retention pond, the news release said. The pond is estimated to be four acres in size. Retention ponds are used to manage stormwater runoff to alleviate flooding and downstream erosion. It is an artificial lake with vegetation around the perimeter and includes a permanent pool of water in its design.

The grant has a 50 percent state and 50 percent local cost match, according to the news release. The projected total of the project is $228,500. The local funding source will include monies from the Urban Renewal Agency and contributions from the City of Pine Bluff.

Agency Director Maurice Taggart issued the following statement regarding the grant:

“The recent flooding had a significant impact on many residents within the urban renewal area. Board member Lloyd Franklin Sr. expressed a desire for the Urban Renewal Agency to help. The board felt this grant would be a productive use of monies and would seek to address and issue that many residents complain about. It’s just another example of how state and local entities can work together to offer long-term solutions to repetitive problems. Lori Walker was instrumental in our agency receiving the grant. Her knowledge was very helpful throughout the application submission process.”

The Urban Renewal Agency was one of the plans presented to Pine Bluff voters last year as a part of the Go Forward Pine Bluff campaign for a sales tax increase to improve the city. That tax passed with over 70 percent of voter approval.