Hollingsworth to discuss Merrill Center at Monday press conference

Mayor Debe Hollingsworth will hold a press conference Monday regarding conditions at the Merrill Center.

The press conference will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Merrill Center at 1100 S. Ash St.

According to the announcement, Hollingsworth “will deliver remarks about the past neglect of the Merrill Center that has equated to an overwhelming neglect of our city’s children, who desperately depend on the functional operation of the Merrill Center.”

Last month, the City Council turned down a request by Hollingsworth to appropriate $650,000 to pay for renovations to the Merrill Center and to Townsend Park.

Hollingsworth wanted to use money from the five-eighths sales tax increase that was approved by city voters in 2011.

After the council rejected the proposal, Hollingsworth told the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Commission that she would try to provide aldermen more information about the planned renovations.

“Rather than a lump sum, we’ll divide out the projects so that the aldermen will have a clearer scope,” Hollingsworth said at that meeting.

Questioned about the structural soundness of the Merrill Center, Hollingsworth said a study indicated it was.

“Is the structure sound enough to do these repairs? Yes it is,” Hollingsworth said.