Main Street still closed in Pine Bluff

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - Part of Main Street in Pine Bluff remains closed after another building collapses.

For years, the city has been working on improving the look and feel of downtown. This week's partial building collapse is definitely a step in the wrong direction, and those we spoke with say there's a developing problem with irresponsible building owners.

It's the second partial building collapse within a four-block stretch in downtown Pine Bluff since February. The caved in roof of this 100-year-old unoccupied structure sent debris crashing down onto the street below, forcing the city to close down a section of Main Street.

Dana and Wayne Gately took over the Colonial Steak House in June, making a major investment into the historic building. They're not asking every building owner to revitalize; they just want the buildings kept up to date with safety standards.

"I'm hoping the powers that be will move rapidly to have it taken care of," said the Gatelys. "Responsible ownership is what I would like to see."

We asked Pine Bluff fire chief Shauwn Howell if two partial building collapses in six months should prompt city leaders to change the way they do safety inspections.

"I think it needs a review," admitted Howell. "I don't know if changes are needed. We just need to review our processes."

THV was not able to reach building owner Garland Trice for comment Wednesday, although Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said she's met with him about the situation, and he has hired an engineer to determine if it should be demolished or rebuilt.

Chief Howell said he can't give a timetable on when they'll be able to reopen Main Street until the engineers take a closer look at the structural integrity of what's left of the building.

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