A committee of the Pine Bluff City Council on Tuesday discussed illegal dumping, including the temporary closing of at least one street.
Donald Hatchett, who is chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee, said a dump site on West 35th Avenue, near Juniper and Bay streets, was the site of an extensive cleanup this past Saturday by city officials and Waste Management and that street will be temporarily closed in the near future.
Evelyn Horton, who heads the city’s Quality of Life Division, said letters have been mailed to property owners who will be directly affected, adding that the street will be “three-quarters blocked” since two driveways allow entrances to private property.
Horton said surveillance cameras have been ordered and, once they arrive, city officials will consider the best locations for them.
“Those cameras are going to solve much of our illegal dumping,” Alderman Win Trafford said.
Hatchett added that the city is also planning an information campaign to highlight the penalties for illegal dumping.
The possibility of closing additional streets to cut down on illegal dumping was also discussed, but Trafford said that would create an image problem, particularly for people who might be interested in a particular part of town or property.
“If we continue to close streets, all we’re going to have are lots of closed streets,” he said.
Hatchett added that “There’s a significant cost to close a street. We’re going to attempt to use the surveillance equipment and penalties as a deterrent.”
On another subject, Horton said that 40 files on property ready to be demolished will be ready Thursday. The houses on those properties have burned and she said each will be tested for asbestos before anything is done.
City contractors will do some of the work while the Urban Renewal Agency will get the rest.
With cemetery sexton Gale Blackerby absent from the meeting, Hatchett reported that the cemetery department had been mowing a lot of grass recently because of steady rain.
“They’ve done an excellent job despite a lot of rain,” Trafford said. “The cemeteries really look good.”
The idea of a city-owned impound lot was also discussed and Alderman Bruce Lockett, the third member of the committee asked for a study to see if there was an interest among wrecker companies or others in operating such a lot.
That came after Mayor Shirley Washington said she would rather see such a lot privately owned.