It was a good year for Pine Bluff, most notably because of the Go Forward Pine Bluff tax plan, which has the potential to bring historic change to our city. Additionally, Main Street was reopened and cleaned up after more than a year of being closed due to derelict buildings collapsing.

The Hotel Pines had new life breathed into it thanks to Pine Bluff Rising, a group of wealthy investors who are hoping to dovetail their revitalization efforts with those of GFPB. A new fence has been erected around the property to keep trespassers out, and the broken windows have been boarded up to help keep wildlife and rain at bay.

We hope that the restoration effort can continue in 2018.

Our city and county also had a banner year in the industrial sector. Highland Pellets began operations, employing 70 or more people, and tonnage was up at the port at levels not seen in more than a decade.

At the dawn of every new year, many folks make promises to themselves in the form of resolutions. Whether it’s about losing weight, kicking an addiction or something else, those resolutions are seldom kept. But we know in our hearts that the resolve shown by those who have vowed to make Pine Bluff the crown jewel of our state is bound together by a glue that’s made of much thicker stuff than promises made after a hard night of New Year’s partying.

It’s made of passion, of hope, of drive and, thanks to GFPB, of money to make progress happen.

At the Commercial, we are proud to be part of the glue that helps bind this city together, and in 2018, we vow to do what we can to help our city succeed. We also vow to be even better at what we do. No matter how successful a company is, there is always room for improvement. And no matter how good someone is at their job, there are always new things to learn and ways to get even better.

Just as our city grows and prospers in the coming year, so too will we. And we will be there to tell you the story of how things are changing in Pine Bluff. That’s our job, and we take it very seriously.

So, dear readers, join us in a ceremonial toast to our town as the clock strikes midnight and signals the beginning of 2018. Great things will come in this new year.