Well, Pine Bluff, we did it.
We rallied around the hope and promise of a revived city and passed a five-eighths cent sales tax to fund Go Forward Pine Bluff. The plan is chock full of ideas. Some are excellent, others need a bit of work. We have ideas about tweaking the plan, and we’ll share them in this space coming soon.
Regardless, our city needed this shot in the arm like a crippled man with the plague. As Tommy May, chairman of the Simmons Foundation, which spearheaded the project, this was a “do or die” situation.
It’s our time, Pine Bluff.
It’s our time to show the rest of the world that we aren’t “Crime Bluff” and that we have just as much class and fortitude as any other successful city.
It’s our time to reclaim Main Street and open shops and restaurants and entertainment centers.
It’s our time to rebuild areas of our community that have struggled for far too long.
It’s our time to give hope to the hopeless by offering them a chance to be a part of our rebirth.
This is our city — our moment in the sun.
Naysayers of Go Forward’s plan seemed to think that it was out to get them like a rabies-infected bat flying from the rafters of one of our many derelict downtown buildings. Even people held in high esteem by many in the community got in on the ridiculous action of calling Go Forward a Ponzi scheme or a mafia-related caper.
We are looking squarely at you, Alderman Steven Mays. Shame on you for all of the vitriol you have spread on social media about this plan for our city. Comparing Tommy May, Mary Gringos, Ryan Watley, Carla Martin and the hundreds of volunteers to organized crime is unforgivable.
You, Alderman Mays, with this sort of language, are part of the problem. Not the solution. You claim to “love Pine Bluff,” but you must not. If you did, you would have offered contructive criticism of the plan and tried to talk with its designers rather than get on social media like a pouting child and call it “evil.”
The most important thing is that our city has hope again. We are on our way back, Pine Bluff. In 10 years, we will no longer have to say, “remember the good old days?” That’s because that future “today” will be the best time ever for our city.
You can believe that.