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bigboyz05

Pine Bluff's Decline

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At first I think it was the fact that jobs were leaving the city. I know a really big one that hit the city hard was the Cotton Belt Railroad moving their headquarters. At that time the railroad still played a rather large role in the city. I also think Pine Bluff has a problem that seems to exist throughout much of eastern Arkansas but maybe on a more magnified scale. The 'delta' area just has had a hard time getting much going economically. Pine Bluff had an economic spurt as late as the 60's but then it seemed to mimic problems found elsewhere in the delta area. I think Pine Bluff also just got a rather bad reputation. Of course when jobs are leaving and such unemployment and crime goes up. But for some reason Pine Bluff really got associated with those terms. I think part of the problem is that the city got hit faster and harder than other areas with gangs from other areas of the country. I think there were a number of people who sent their kids to UAPB to try to get their kids from bad influences from cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. They either had family members living in Pine Bluff or just thought a smaller city would be better. But what ended up happening is that some of those kids ended up bringing the gangs to Pine Bluff. I'm sure this happened elsewhere in the state but it seemed to have hit Pine Bluff faster and harder than other areas. Then there's also the problem of 'white flight'. Hopefully this topic won't get bogged down by problems some other topics have had problems talking about this issue. At first I think it was just occuring from the center areas of the city to the outer areas. Then eventually it started being people leaving the city entirely to living further out into Jefferson County. But I guess it's just one of those things where once the city got into a hole it just hasn't been able to find a way to get out. I don't think there's been much strong leadership to help matters either. Right now I'd say that Simmons Bank and the two paper mills are probably the major employers of the city. But I've heard at least one of those paper mills isn't doing too well and I've wondered if it's just a matter of time before one of them closes. Pine Bluff has had some bad time with crime and such but I'm not sure it's quite as bad as what a lot of people think. If they could help get rid of this negative image of the city it could help a little. But probably the thing that would help the most is finding a way to bring in more jobs.

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At first I think it was the fact that jobs were leaving the city. I know a really big one that hit the city hard was the Cotton Belt Railroad moving their headquarters. At that time the railroad still played a rather large role in the city. I also think Pine Bluff has a problem that seems to exist throughout much of eastern Arkansas but maybe on a more magnified scale. The 'delta' area just has had a hard time getting much going economically. Pine Bluff had an economic spurt as late as the 60's but then it seemed to mimic problems found elsewhere in the delta area. I think Pine Bluff also just got a rather bad reputation. Of course when jobs are leaving and such unemployment and crime goes up. But for some reason Pine Bluff really got associated with those terms. I think part of the problem is that the city got hit faster and harder than other areas with gangs from other areas of the country. I think there were a number of people who sent their kids to UAPB to try to get their kids from bad influences from cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. They either had family members living in Pine Bluff or just thought a smaller city would be better. But what ended up happening is that some of those kids ended up bringing the gangs to Pine Bluff. I'm sure this happened elsewhere in the state but it seemed to have hit Pine Bluff faster and harder than other areas. Then there's also the problem of 'white flight'. Hopefully this topic won't get bogged down by problems some other topics have had problems talking about this issue. At first I think it was just occuring from the center areas of the city to the outer areas. Then eventually it started being people leaving the city entirely to living further out into Jefferson County. But I guess it's just one of those things where once the city got into a hole it just hasn't been able to find a way to get out. I don't think there's been much strong leadership to help matters either. Right now I'd say that Simmons Bank and the two paper mills are probably the major employers of the city. But I've heard at least one of those paper mills isn't doing too well and I've wondered if it's just a matter of time before one of them closes. Pine Bluff has had some bad time with crime and such but I'm not sure it's quite as bad as what a lot of people think. If they could help get rid of this negative image of the city it could help a little. But probably the thing that would help the most is finding a way to bring in more jobs.

State and federal gov'ts are the major employers because of the Arsenal, NCTR, and the prisons.

I think PB's role as nidus for the Delta was the main reason for its decline. When cotton farming became more mechanized fewer laborers were needed and PB was the closest "city" for much of that unskilled labor. Railroads, paper mills, cotton gins, etc carried the city for a very long time but as these industries declined as well the city had unemployment issues. The state and federal gov't really have stepped in with a lot of jobs but it's not enough to overcome the almost complete lack of private investment there.

Not to single out PB because the majority of delta cities are doing very poorly. Blytheville in NE Ark is fading even faster, I think.

As for white flight, I think there's been a lot of flight to White Hall but even more out of the county to LR or NWA. The demographics of the city have changed drastically over the last two generations and even over the last decade, I can tell you that.

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At first I think it was the fact that jobs were leaving the city. I know a really big one that hit the city hard was the Cotton Belt Railroad moving their headquarters. At that time the railroad still played a rather large role in the city. I also think Pine Bluff has a problem that seems to exist throughout much of eastern Arkansas but maybe on a more magnified scale. The 'delta' area just has had a hard time getting much going economically. Pine Bluff had an economic spurt as late as the 60's but then it seemed to mimic problems found elsewhere in the delta area. I think Pine Bluff also just got a rather bad reputation. Of course when jobs are leaving and such unemployment and crime goes up. But for some reason Pine Bluff really got associated with those terms. I think part of the problem is that the city got hit faster and harder than other areas with gangs from other areas of the country. I think there were a number of people who sent their kids to UAPB to try to get their kids from bad influences from cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. They either had family members living in Pine Bluff or just thought a smaller city would be better. But what ended up happening is that some of those kids ended up bringing the gangs to Pine Bluff. I'm sure this happened elsewhere in the state but it seemed to have hit Pine Bluff faster and harder than other areas. Then there's also the problem of 'white flight'. Hopefully this topic won't get bogged down by problems some other topics have had problems talking about this issue. At first I think it was just occuring from the center areas of the city to the outer areas. Then eventually it started being people leaving the city entirely to living further out into Jefferson County. But I guess it's just one of those things where once the city got into a hole it just hasn't been able to find a way to get out. I don't think there's been much strong leadership to help matters either. Right now I'd say that Simmons Bank and the two paper mills are probably the major employers of the city. But I've heard at least one of those paper mills isn't doing too well and I've wondered if it's just a matter of time before one of them closes. Pine Bluff has had some bad time with crime and such but I'm not sure it's quite as bad as what a lot of people think. If they could help get rid of this negative image of the city it could help a little. But probably the thing that would help the most is finding a way to bring in more jobs.

I think sometime an image feeds on itself. When the PB Convention Center opened things were not too bad. They held concerts that would not go to LR because of Barton. The Razorbacks even played basketball in PB. The city did not have the vision to realize that things had changed in the Delta and that Arkansas was becomming more urban. I also think the state did not and has not put enough funding into UAPB. The other night on the news was a story about a married couple with a young child moving to Conway from PB. Their main reason stated for their moving was to find a better school system for their child. For some reason most towns in Arkansas do not realize how important their school systems are to the overall health of their city. How many city governments take steps to improve their schools, instead they leave the schools up to the school boards. I know city governments cannot run school systems but they could work with and improve them.

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State and federal gov'ts are the major employers because of the Arsenal, NCTR, and the prisons.

I think PB's role as nidus for the Delta was the main reason for its decline. When cotton farming became more mechanized fewer laborers were needed and PB was the closest "city" for much of that unskilled labor. Railroads, paper mills, cotton gins, etc carried the city for a very long time but as these industries declined as well the city had unemployment issues. The state and federal gov't really have stepped in with a lot of jobs but it's not enough to overcome the almost complete lack of private investment there.

Not to single out PB because the majority of delta cities are doing very poorly. Blytheville in NE Ark is fading even faster, I think.

As for white flight, I think there's been a lot of flight to White Hall but even more out of the county to LR or NWA. The demographics of the city have changed drastically over the last two generations and even over the last decade, I can tell you that.

I forgot about the prisons and such. I'm not sure about the Arsenal or NCTR. I really think you're getting more of the people working there living somewhere else than Pine Bluff. Although I'm sure a while back ago many of them did live in Pine Bluff. But yeah the city has changed drastically since I even lived there. When I was living there I'd say the Pine Bluff School system was maybe 50-50 or 60-40 black to white ratio. Now whites are so few in the Pine Bluff School system I think hispanics may have passed them up in numbers. But you're right about some of the other areas too. I think I read an article about a year ago mentioning how just in the counties adjacent to the Mississippi River had lost around 40% of the white population just between 2000-2004 estimates.

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I think sometime an image feeds on itself. When the PB Convention Center opened things were not too bad. They held concerts that would not go to LR because of Barton. The Razorbacks even played basketball in PB. The city did not have the vision to realize that things had changed in the Delta and that Arkansas was becomming more urban. I also think the state did not and has not put enough funding into UAPB. The other night on the news was a story about a married couple with a young child moving to Conway from PB. Their main reason stated for their moving was to find a better school system for their child. For some reason most towns in Arkansas do not realize how important their school systems are to the overall health of their city. How many city governments take steps to improve their schools, instead they leave the schools up to the school boards. I know city governments cannot run school systems but they could work with and improve them.

It's weird but when I went to school there when I lived there the schools seemed not too bad to me honestly. I wouldn't have called them the greatest in the state or anything. It almost seems that Pine Bluff has a very serious image problem. Crime, schools, things may have not been great while I was living down there but it wasn't all that bad as people seem to think. I used to think it was funny the way people reacted when they found out I had lived in Pine Bluff or when I mentioned I was going back to visit. Now I wish maybe I had made a bigger deal about mentioning that it's not as bad as many people make it out to be.

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What was the largest Pine Bluff ever got, as far as population is concerned?

I largest I can really remember Pine Bluff getting was 65,000. Those numbers don't sound too impressive but that was a while back before all the big growth in areas like Conway and NWA. Seems like Pine Bluff had come really close to passing North Little Rock for third largest in the state. Even with the problems starting to occur and such the population still went up for a little while even though it wasn't particularly fast. I'd like to have seen what it's population was taking out all the areas they annexed to help keep them above 50,000.

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I read an interesting article on wikipeida.org that gave an interesting history of pine bluff. Apparently some signifcant projects have occured over the last decade or so.

Wikipedia: Pine Bluff

Yeah there have been projects like the southern bypass and the new art center that were done in the 90's but it still seems like they are losing a lot of population. Maybe the biggest problem is the big image problem the city has.

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Pine Bluff is trying to become home for the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. The $500 million project would bring about 400 jobs to the area. Officials from the National Center for Toxicological Research Center, UAPB,UAMS,UALR, ASU and the Pine Bluff Arsenal are working together to get the project.

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Yeah it would be good but if it's going to be over at the NCTR I'm not sure how much it might help Pine Bluff. I already think you're having people live near Little Rock and work at the NCTR instead of living at Pine Bluff.

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Do you think Pine Bluff will eventually become part of the Little Rock MSA?

I think it's possible. I keep wondering if Pine Bluff is going to lose their MSA, but maybe they'll be able to hold on. Otherwise I'm not sure if there's going to be enough growth to merge them together.

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I think it's possible. I keep wondering if Pine Bluff is going to lose their MSA, but maybe they'll be able to hold on. Otherwise I'm not sure if there's going to be enough growth to merge them together.

Pine Bluff's MSA is still over 100,000. How small would it have to get to lose its MSA status?

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Maybe some good news for PB. PB native Elvin W. Moon along with developer John Elkington from Memphis(Beale Street) were in the city looking over property owned by Mr. Moon. He owns seven building in the area. Also on the trip were two architect from LR. Mr. Moon wants to redevelop his property and bring PB back. Mr. Elkington has some concerns about PB's population. Mr. Moon is a Los Angeles-based developer with offices in a number of cities.

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Maybe some good news for PB. PB native Elvin W. Moon along with developer John Elkington from Memphis(Beale Street) were in the city looking over property owned by Mr. Moon. He owns seven building in the area. Also on the trip were two architect from LR. Mr. Moon wants to redevelop his property and bring PB back. Mr. Elkington has some concerns about PB's population. Mr. Moon is a Los Angeles-based developer with offices in a number of cities.

Very interesting to hear. I wonder what buildings he owns. It would be nice to see something happen with the old Pines Hotel, but for some reason I was thinking someone else owned that.

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Very interesting to hear. I wonder what buildings he owns. It would be nice to see something happen with the old Pines Hotel, but for some reason I was thinking someone else owned that.

Mr. Moon owns the Kress Building, the Kroger building, the Greyhound bus building, and the Reese building. The Kress Building will soon be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Does anyone know anything about these buildings?

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Mr. Moon owns the Kress Building, the Kroger building, the Greyhound bus building, and the Reese building. The Kress Building will soon be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Does anyone know anything about these buildings?

I remember seeing the Kress Building when I was down there and took some pics. I think even then there was a sign out showing a development converting it to offices. The other buildings aren't familiar to me offhand. I'll see if I can find a pic of the Kress Building. I'm pretty sure I took a pic of it.

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Thanks for the picture. I haven't been to downtown PB in some time. What I remember was there are a number of buildings that could be rehabed.

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Thanks for the picture. I haven't been to downtown PB in some time. What I remember was there are a number of buildings that could be rehabed.

There are some nice older buildings downtown. Pine Bluff had a big boom back in the 20's. The bad thing is that many of them are slowly falling apart while they lay vacant. Another problem is even if you did fix up and reopen these buildings can you get people down there and use them. I don't know if downtown is a place people really want to be in Pine Bluff. I don't think it's really any worse than other parts of town but I think it has an image problem. It may take something big like redeveloping a number of these buildings to try to get something going. Otherwise I'm not sure if redeveloping a building or two is going to help and get people more interested in the downtown area again.

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