PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) -- Not exactly what some would call a fairy tale ending, but an ending and new start nonetheless. We've been covering this issue since July 2014.
A building that continues to fall apart is finally coming down after it was deemed hazardous to life and property. Local business owners hope Main Street will soon be the main street in Pine Bluff once again. Demolition of 620 South Main started early this morning.
"You know downtown has no business right now,” said Young Lee, owner of Beauty Supply and Fashion Wig.
The building has caused a once popular street in to be closed for two years, interfering with the way people drive and travel through the area.
"It's hard, but we try to fight it out,” Kendrick Williams Sr. said, owner of Pop’s Barber Shop right next to Lee.
"Having it closed as we dealt with this issue through the court system and negotiations with the owner has been very trying for everyone,” said Cynthia Hines.
Hines works in Marketing and Communications with the city of Pine Bluff.
The roof collapsed onto the building’s third floor in July 2014. 620 South Main continued to fall apart earlier this year.
"Hopefully this will pave the way for the street to be reopened,” said Hines.
Fire Chief Shaun Howell said the building is a danger to public health. Mayor Shirley Washington ordered an immediate demolition of the building Tuesday.
"It’s been almost two or three years it’s been slow,” Lee said.
These local business owners, also located on Main Street, are hopeful this will give them each a fresh start.
"We don't get any kind of walk through traffic, the only traffic we get is what we advertise and bring through here ourselves,” said Williams.
Lee has owned her beauty store downtown for 38 years.
"I'm telling you it’s terrible, it hurts a lot of business. And they have the road closed. A lot of customers can't come down here,” she said.
The store is shutting down for good this summer. But Williams, on the other hand, said he isn't going anywhere any time soon. He's excited to see what this demolition will do for Main Street.
"I hope that we can make a difference down here and show people there is still hope here,” Williams said.
Owner of the building, Garland Trice, was on site earlier as well. He declined to comment. The building should be completely torn down today and cleanup for the site should begin tomorrow.
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