The city of Pine Bluff will receive $8,500 in a Certified Local Government grant to assist property owners in its two historic districts. City of Pine Bluff Housing/Economic Development Specialist Sarah L. Price and Commissioner Dave Sadler shared this news Friday during the Pine Bluff Historic District Commission meeting.

One historic district is centered around Fifth Avenue, while the other is centered around Main Street.

“It has to do with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program,” Sadler said. “Pine Bluff is set up as a Certified Local Government, meaning we can receive funds from them. We are able to apply for operating funds and projects funds that relate to those districts.”

The money will be used for structural assessments, signage, educational purposes and historic awareness, Sadler said. The city will receive a check for this money in a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 28. Sadler welcomed the news.

“I think it’s good for the community to get those kinds of grants,” Sadler said.

In other news, Sadler gave an update regarding the Saenger Theatre at 207 W. 2nd Ave., which has fallen into a state of disrepair. The city has applied to the Historic Preservation Restoration Grant to repair the theater’s pipes.

The property used to be owned by Kathleen Majewska and her husband Jack Stradley through their organization Old Town Theatre Center. Majewska is still taking care of the Saenger property and hopes to prevent its collapse so it can be preserved and even return to its former glory. Sadler relayed a conversation he had with Majewska in which she informed him the theater had broken pipes that were causing flooding.

“We went to see what the problem was and it turned out to be roof drain pipes that normally take the water off the roof and into the storm water system were stopped up,” Sadler said. “We could not tell why. The city submitted a grant application to see if they could get some funds to repair the pipes.”

“… It is still a mess,” Sadler said. “I do not think there is a grand plan other than to try to preserve what is there.”

Price said she is awaiting word on whether the city receives the money. She expects to hear by the second week of June. She did not specify the amount of money.