PINE BLUFF, Ark. — In 2019, community members and city leaders in Pine Bluff broke ground and cut the ribbon, commencing a project that will revamp the downtown area.
The city is getting ready to cut the ribbon again, but this time, to officially begin a new chapter.
Phase one of the streetscape project is nearly finished and people are eager to see updates attract more businesses and foot traffic.
“I have been in Pine Bluff right now about six months,” said Tracey Cooper.
Cooper works as a barista at Indigo Blue Coffeehouse on Barraque Street in downtown.
When she moved the Pine Bluff, she admits that she had already formed an opinion about the town.
“It kind of reminded me of a ghost town, but other than that, I could still see the potential,” Cooper said.
It did not take long for her to notice that the construction site was only the beginning for her and the city.
“To see that they were, you know, starting to really put money into bringing it back up, that gave me some excitement and hope,” Cooper said.
Next door to the coffee shop is where Unique Cakes is located.
The business has been in downtown Pine Bluff for over a decade.
Margaret Smith, the owner of Unique Cakes, said it was time for something new to happen to the area and she hopes that more people will start to visit her shop soon.
“I was all for it, I was excited because pine bluff needs to come back. I remember when Pine Bluff when it was like the place to be on the weekends for the smaller towns around us,” said Smith.
Executive Director of Downtown Pine Bluff Development Joy Blankenship said the city is putting the finishing touches on the development project.
“We're about to see the end of what we call phase one of our streetscape. We're so excited because it's been going on for many, many years,” said Blankenship.
The city installed new benches, repaved the roads, and added bigger sidewalks on Main Street.
Blankenship is hopeful to see an increase in traffic and a new interest in businesses coming to downtown.
“We just needed a new look, a new meaning to what our downtown could look like and feel like and to work towards,” Blankenship said.
The project is expected to be complete this month.
The next phase will begin after the Arkansas Department of Transportation approves it.