The Pine Bluff City Council will consider a resolution appointing members of the new Opportunity Zone Task Force when they meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
In December, the council approved a resolution creating the task force, which Council member Bruce Lockett said before the vote was a “win-win for the city.”
Lockett explained that there are three opportunity zones within the city: the downtown area, the port and the area around the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. And investing in those areas can result in tax savings for the investor over a number of years, he said.
Among other things, the task force will create maps to include details of opportunity-zone-ready projects within the zones, as well as projects that are already underway.
Lockett, who sponsored the resolution creating the task force, cited the new Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library that is being built on Main Street, the 601 Main project, which calls for a park area across from the new library, investments that have been made and are being made to restore the Hotel Pines and renovations to an existing building in the 300 block of West Barraque Street.
Members of the Task Force will include: Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff or his designee; Stuart Hee, representing the Pine Bluff Collaborative; Ryan Watley, representing Go Forward Pine Bluff; Maurice Taggart, representing the Urban Renewal Agency; Larry Reynolds, representing Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning; Jimmy Cunningham, representing Delta Rhythm and Bayous Alliance; Payton Burgess, representing the Southeast Arkansas Economic District; Bobbie Morgan, representing the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library; Darren James, representing Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility;
Caleb McMahon, representing the Jefferson County Alliance; Mitzi Ruth, representing the Pine Bluff Inspection and Zoning Department; Lori Walker, representing the Pine Bluff Economic and Community Development Department; Jan Robinson, representing the Downtown Property Owners Association; Rachel Miller, representing the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas; and Joy Blankenship, representing Pine Bluff Downtown Development, Inc.
Ex-officio members of the task force will include Mayor Shirley Washington, Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson, members of the City Council and Quorum Court, members of the state legislative delegation or their designees; a representative of Governor Asa Hutchinson, a representative of the Student Government Association and National Alumni Association of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the superintendents of the Pine Bluff and Dollarway School Districts or their designees.
Also on the agenda Monday will be resolutions authorizing the mayor to sign contracts with engineering companies for their services in extending sewer lines on West Barraque Street from Hutchinson to Bryant Street and for drainage improvements and flood gate rehabilitation of the Harding Drain and Harding Drain/Arkansas River floodgate.
In the case of extending the sewer lines, Civil Engineering Associates was selected and described as “the most qualified firm to do the work desired: while McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc., was selected for the sewer projects.”
Resolutions reappointing Ken Johnson to the Pine Bluff Aviation Commission and Grant Williams to fill a vacancy on the Crime Advisory Commission will also be considered.