To combat exodus, city should work to fix image


Editor, The Commercial:

Three recent Commercial articles, with apparently different subjects, still had an apparent common thread in them. The first was the residency article from the February 1 paper where Alderman Glen Brown was decrying the “white flight” causing the city’s population decrease. He argued that steps needed to be taken to “combat the exodus.” Mayor Hollingsworth’s comment on “quality of place” being necessary to attract quality personnel, in my opinion, is just as important to attract and keep city residents.

Second was the editorial, February 7 edition. The editor noted, “points of entry to Pine Bluff don’t paint an inviting picture.” The editor further said that we need to clean up our city’s image if we expect to attract companies and industry here. This also affects people’s desire to live here.

The third article was February 9, addressing Pine Bluff’s ‘Infamous Position’ as the second most dangerous location in the U.S. following only Detroit. To me the idea of using a residency requirement to bolster the population would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Census statistics from 2000 and 2010 indicate the population went from 55,085 to 49,083, a drop of 6,002 people. Twenty-six department heads won’t even make a dent.

If you want to “combat the exodus,” make this city a desirable place to live and work. Clean up the city’s image and address crime issues. Don’t believe me? Search the Internet for “Broken Window Syndrome,” a crime/quality of life study.

James M. Blackwood

Pine Bluff