PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - A few may say it's hopeless, but others have more hope now than ever. Pine Bluff has an image many who live there aren't proud of, but one woman is trying to change that and she's sharing all things positive Pine Bluff on Facebook Live.
Marina Ross, originally from Ukraine, moved to Pine Bluff three years ago. At first, she wasn't impressed, but she started diving into the city and what it has to offer and now is working on a documentary called "Pine Bluff: Then and Now" and this project is being shared with followers on Facebook.
“Every time I say I’m from Pine Bluff I get the looks I don’t want to get,” said Ross on why she wants to change the image of the city. “I hope that God is going to use me to change the image of Pine Bluff.
She started posting Facebook Live videos a month ago, a few times a week. Wil Jenkins hopped on board. He moved to the city two years ago and had the same initial thought.
“I was shocked, but my wife had a vision, she knew this place would turn around,” said Jenkins.
Thanks to his wife’s vision, Jenkins purchased seven downtown buildings with plans for an ice cream shop, a blues and jazz venue, and a burger joint.
“Now it’s just a matter of time and it won’t be long, I guarantee you,” said Jenkins.
Ross and Jenkins get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of viewers in their videos. The two highlight businesses and people including Mayor Shirley Washington.
“I call it a diamond in the rough so we have to do everything we can to polish that diamond,” said Washington.
City and business leaders have high hopes for the future of Pine Bluff. They believe in a few years, the streets will look a lot different.
“We want it bustling with people and I think that’s going to happen,” said Joy Blankenship, Executive Director of Downtown Development. “There are going to be new owners and new tenants and people wanting to be in our downtown, even after hours.”
You can follow their adventures through Pine Bluff on their Facebook page by clicking here.
Go Forward Pine Bluff is asking anyone who has a vision for the city or has questions to attend their downtown master plan sessions from August 8 to 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.