OPINION | LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Give credit where due


Editor, The Commercial:

In the Feb. 24 edition of The Pine Bluff Commercial, Mayor Shirley Washington gave her State of the City address, entitled "PB Mayor gives updates in State of City address."

In this article, Mayor Washington made several inaccurate/misleading statements about her work or contribution to the infrastructure development in Pine Bluff.

Specifically, Mayor Washington spoke about the infrastructure development regarding the Coleman Elementary Safe to School Project. She stated, "This project will install sidewalks on Grant Street from Sixth Avenue to 13th Avenue, making it safer for children commuting to school..."

The truth is, Mayor Washington had no significant role in starting this project and obtaining funding for it. The individuals who should be credited for supporting this project are Alderman Steven Mays, Alderman Bruce Lockett as well as State Rep. Vivian Flowers. This project wouldn't have come to fruition if Flowers hadn't used her leadership prowess to push the project for approval.

In addition, the citizens of the 4th Ward West Loop signed petitions and worked diligently to gather signatures from other community members. As a result, we were able to demonstrate community support to Pine Bluff Community Development, which then submitted the signatures to the Arkansas Department of Transportation. ARDOT proposed a TAP grant to the city of Pine Bluff for $384,000. On Dec. 2, 2019, the city of Pine Bluff accepted the grant award.

Furthermore, we need the community of Pine Bluff to know about another infrastructure project that was initiated by the community members of the 4th Ward West Loop and supported by local leadership because we need to make sure the truth is known.

The Highway 190/West 6th project is being financially supported by ARDOT. The purpose of the Highway 190/West 6th project is to widen the highway/street in order to install sidewalks through our community. Also, the project includes widening, installing sidewalks, and replacement of the bridge on Ohio Street.

Currently, this project is ongoing. The local leadership who should receive our praise and our gratitude are the late Alderwoman Thelma Walker, current Aldermen Steven Mays and Bruce Lockett, and State Rep. Vivian Flowers. Walker, Mays and Lockett successfully sponsored legislation to work with ARDOT.

We hope the community of Pine Bluff makes an informed decision about who should represent our city as mayor.

Earl and Ora Mays,

Pine Bluff


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