Planning panel to add measure to council agenda

The Pine Bluff Council’s Development and Planning Committee, meeting Thursday morning, approved an agenda addition of a proposed ordinance for consideration at the council’s Monday night meeting.

The proposed ordinance calls for the adoption of the 2012 edition of the International Existing Building Code. Robert Tucker, chief of the city’s inspection and zoning department, said the guide would, if approved, be used here primarily “to help with historic downtown building,” allowing “more flexibility” in codes applying to such structures.

Tucker told the committee that a structural assessment of the Saenger Theatre has been completed, and the nearly 80-year-old landmark is “in good shape.”

Tucker said the city’s historic district commission will meet at 10 a.m. Dec. 21 for consideration on works being done on the old Community Theatre. The theatre’s owner, Jack Stradley, is a member of the commission and intends to employ the facility in bringing entertainment venues to the city.

The Community Theatre is located less than a half-block from the Saenger on West Second Avenue. A wall of the theatre, along Pine Street, features a mural of Pine Bluff’s Grider Field, a World War II aviation training facility.

Tucker said the wall was not built as an outside wall, but rather for inside support. He said the wall is “soft” and needs to be fortified. A corner building next to the theatre was demolished several years ago.