The City of Pine Bluff is one step closer to seeing an entertainment district downtown. During Tuesday’s city council Development and planning committee meeting, members discussed the future of Main Street.
Business owner Will Jenkins made his case to the committee for three properties he owns in the district.
“Those buildings fit right into the entertainment district,” he said. “I’ll have three buildings that will open up to one another where people will be able to travel freely between building to building and be offered different types of food and entertainment.”
One of Jenkins’ buildings will house what he describes as an event center.
“It has three floors,” he said. “We’re going to gut the inside and turn it into two floors. The top floor will be more like an event center that people can actually rent out for banquets, weddings, etc. It’ll have a balcony overlooking Main Street.”
Jenkins say when he moved back to Pine Bluff four years ago, his wife had a vision of what Main Street could one day become. And with the passing of Act 812— a law allowing cities to establish districts in which patrons of bars and restaurants serving liquor could possess alcoholic beverages outside of those businesses— their vision could soon be a reality.
“The third building, Hot Rod’s is presently occupied,” Jenkins said. “But, we’ll go in and do some upgrading and renovating. We own the parking lot in the back and we’ll probably put a kitchen back there with a drive-thru and serve stuff out of there.”
Jenkins breathed a sigh of relief once the committee agreed there was nothing to approve after his decision to remove the residential proportion of his proposal, thus giving him the green light for the remainder of his proposal which includes an event center, restaurant and winery.
“We’re moving forward,” he said. “We’re moving in the right direction with changing the scope of the downtown area.”
Now that an area has been set aside for the district, Jenkins says the possibilities for growth are endless.
“It’s just going to be another draw, another attraction for downtown Pine Bluff,” he said. “We can become the number one destination with the building of the casino and now we’re working on our downtown Main Street by making it come alive so to speak. And I guarantee within the next five years, we will be the jewel of the city that we once were.”