Pine Bluff Street Department workers on Saturday morning completed knocking down the front wall of a former store building at 401 Main St., and planned to reopen the street late in the day.

Pine Bluff Street Department workers on Saturday morning completed knocking down the front wall of a former store building at 401 Main St., and planned to reopen the street late in the day.


Rick Rhoden, a supervisor for the street department, said the debris from the building will be left on site until the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality can examine it to determine if asbestos is present.


After that happens, Rhoden said a private contractor will be employed to haul the rubble away.


The process of knocking down the remaining wall took about an hour and a half, and when it came down, so did a tree that was picked up by a city backhoe and thrown onto the rapidly enlarging pipe of rubble.


The rear wall of the building collapsed Thursday night at 6:55 p.m., and later Thursday night, the wall on the Fourth Avenue side was knocked down, allowing workers from Centerpoint Energy to cap a gas line on both ends of the block.


Rhoden said the city will be placing barrels on the east side of the street, where the building is located, to prevent pedestrians from walking in front of the former building.


Kay Baim Shapiro said Saturday morning the building at one time housed Baim’s 401 Supply, a hardware store that sold hardware and dry goods, then was later a pet store. It had been vacant for a number of years.


Steve Huselton, a member of the Pine Bluff Planning Commission, was on hand Saturday morning to watch the building come down and said afterward that he believes "the image of the town is dated.


"If we want people to come here, we’ve got to improve our image," he said, telling a reporter that when he was growing up, his mother would frequently tell him and his father "We’ve got company coming and you’re going to help me clean up.


"If that would work for me and my family, why not for everybody else in town?" Huselton said. "It’s a job for all of us."