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Mayor Investing $175K to Improve Pine Bluff's Image

Not all aldermen agree.
PINE BLUFF, AR -- Located in downtown Pine Bluff, The Spot opened in August to provide a laid back venue for food and drinks.

Robert Brown said this is not only a good spot, but it's also in a good city.

He moved to Pine Bluff seven years ago from Milwaukee.

"When I get out, I see a lot of good things that's going on. People having fun. People being nice to each other, respectful," Brown said.

That's the image Mayor Debe Hollingsworth wants played up and to be seen by neighbors and outsiders, unlike the negative reputation of crime and lack of businesses that seem to follow its name.

"It's really nice people here, besides what people say," Brown said.

But hiring an outside firm to help repair the city's image costs $175,000, which the mayor says is worth the investment.

Not all aldermen agree.

"City government doesn't operate like a business," said Alderwoman Thelma Walker.

Walker said Pine Bluff is not a product, but a city.

She believes the money would be a waste to give to a company to tell them what's wrong.

"You don't have to ask someone to come in and tell them your city needs cleaning up, that your houses need tearing down that your streets need fixing," Walker said.

Walker said perhaps the city could use that money to hire an economic developer to help reel in jobs.
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