First Ward Alderwoman Irene Holcomb hosted the latest in a series of monthly community meetings to discuss public safety issues Wednesday evening in the Pine Bluff City Council chambers.
Joined by Fourth Ward Alderman Steven Mays, Holcomb addressed an audience of one.
“We had the first of these meetings after the shooting at the Three Gables last year,” Holcomb said. “The community said that they wanted it. There was interest in having a town hall meeting to discuss crime. I said that we would continue to have this meeting the first Wednesday of the month and would continue for as long as people want it to continue.”
Holcomb said that positions are being filled on the Crime Commission.
Mays expressed his appreciation to Holcomb for hosting these meetings.
“This is a good meeting you’re doing Alderwoman Holcomb,” Mays said. “I wish the community had kept the momentum going. In the Fourth Ward crime is going down and the community is coming together. I want to commend Alderwoman Holcomb for holding these meetings.”
Mays said the West Side Business Association has been working with the Oxford and the Dollarway Neighborhood Watch programs to reduce crime in the Fourth Ward.
Mae Helen Dorn was the sole member of the community to attend the meeting and she asked what could be done about the condition of her neighborhood on Missouri Street.
Dorn said that she left Pine Bluff in 1950 and returned in 2009.
“I am disgusted with the appearance of the neighborhood,” Dorn said. “I think if I’d known what it was like I wouldn’t have come back. There is trash everywhere, the sidewalks have holes in them and grass is grown up all around.”
Holcomb agreed that the area had changed a great deal in the span of time that Dorn was gone.
“A lot of the original homeowners have moved out,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb asked Dorn if there were any boarded-up houses near her residence.
“There are two,” Dorn said. “They’re not boarded up but they are vacant.”
Dorn said the grass has grown taller than she is in many places.
“I am afraid to use my car at night and even during the day because I can’t see if anybody is in that grass that might come up on me,” Dorn said.
Mays told Dorn that he would contact several people to see about getting the trash in her neighborhood picked up and to see what could be done to trim back overgrown grass.
“Everything that you need to help you is in City Hall,” Mays said.