City receives state grant for Saenger roof repairs

The city of Pine Bluff has been awarded its second grant to help fund restoration of the Saenger Theater.

The $23,967 grant will be made through the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

The grant award comes nearly five months after the Pine Bluff City Council approved an appropriation of $11,983 so that the city could apply for the “2-to-1” matching grant from the state.

The total amount of funding will be $35,950, and city Inspection and Zoning Director Robert Tucker said the money will be applied in two areas. The largest portion will be used to repair the northern and western sides of the theater’s tile mansard roof, at a total cost of $27,850. The rest of the money will be used to repair the brick mason ring of the chimney. This is the tallest part of the building, approximately 65 to 70 feet high, and will cost the remaining $8,100.

The eastern side of the roof was repaired last year with the help of a $16,000 grant for the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District. That money

came from state general improvement funds that had been appropriated to SEADD.

The most recent grant originates from real-estate transfer taxes, which are assessed by the state when a piece of real estate is sold.

Tucker explained that the city is ready to begin work immediately but will have to wait for the state to give permission to proceed sometime after October. The repairs are predicted to be complete by the end of the year.