The Simmons First Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to assist efforts to revitalize the city of Pine Bluff’.

The “Go Forward Pine Bluff” initiative, led by Simmons First Foundation, aims to implement a blueprint to address the systemic problems and challenges in the city. The blueprint emphasizes four major areas: economic development, education, government and infrastructure, and quality of life.

Pine Bluff has experienced numerous challenges, such as a population drop, high unemployment rates, and deterioration of residential and commercial buildings. The campaign will develop an extensive plan to increase and maintain financial stability.

The Arkansas Economic Development Institute will develop and prepare a community economic development profile for Pine Bluff aimed toward the city’s best future economic development opportunities. The Institute will also develop and facilitate town hall meetings to gain feedback from citizens in the city.

The institute will be working the University of Arkansas Community Design Center to develop a master plan for downtown Pine Bluff and bordering neighborhoods. It will include baseline drawings of existing conditions, master street and landscape plans, downtown development plans, and the final report along with visualizations.