Mayor Shirley Washington, the department of Economic and Community Development and elected city officials officially opened Main Street Plaza located at 601 Main Street on Wednesday morning.
“10 years ago, 601 Main street was a detail shop and before that it was gas station. It sat unutilized in the heart of downtown and was somewhat of an eyesore,” Washington said.
She said the space will now be a place that people can drive by and enjoy the view of a revitalized city, and learn about the history of entrepreneurs in Pine Bluff. Lori Walker, deputy director of economic and community director shared the vision of what is planned for the plaza.
“Here we are celebrating a milestone and opening the plaza for public access, however the project has yet to reach its full potential,” Walker said. “At this point the landscape bed doubles as casual seating, the stage area with the beautiful curved backdrop can accommodate public programs and events. The wide-open area in the center provides space for lawn chairs during community concerts or other seating provided by community event planners. However, soon we will have umbrellas on the southern portion of site which will provide space for causal meeting and someday provide outside dining. The sidewalks on the perimeter of the site will be reconstructed when the streetscape project is done. Yet the most intriguing and important component of the future vision of this site is its role in telling the extremely rich entrepreneurial history of this city and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.”
Walker said entrepreneurs, industrialists, and innovators will contribute with public art and interpreted media.
“These young men and women of all walks of life need to see themselves as being capable capitalists, cultivators of commerce and captains of the industry,” Walker said. “What better way to see possibilities for themselves than through the lives and legacies of those that lived where they lived and accomplished amazing feats.”
She said with faith, patience, attentiveness the city will have the money to see this vision realized.
Maurice Taggart, director of Urban Renewal said the plaza signifies the re-invigoration of entrepreneurship in Pine Bluff.
Main Street Plaza is now a part of the new and up and coming construction in downtown Pine Bluff. The new public library that will located across the street, and the innovation hub that is set to open in a year, Washington said.
Members of the Mayor’s Youth Council presented information on some of Arkansas unsung entrepreneurs and innovators.
Entertainment was provided by W.T. Cheney Singers from W.T. Cheney School, located 2206 Ridgway Road.
The first event at the plaza will be held on May 8 at 8:30 a.m.. The education Alliance and an ad hoc committee of Go Forward Pine Bluff will reveal the details of a teacher pipeline action item.