(KATV) Pine Bluff - Mayor Debe Hollingsworth's slogan during her candidacy last year was "New Direction". Turning a page on where Pine Bluff is and where it's going. Tuesday, she, along with community leaders and law enforcement toured neighborhoods to ask residents what improvements they'd like to see.
Mayor Hollingsworth declined Channel Seven's interview request. Not because she was too busy... rather she said the light needs to be shed on the Church Outreach Committee and everyone involved in bettering the community.
More than a dozen community, city leaders, officers and pastors walked the streets of Pine Bluff. They took pictures, notes of condemned homes, picked up trash and went door to door talking to homeowners.
Pastor Eddie Harris says, "The primary focus is to find out from the citizens, how can we help them make Pine Bluff a better city."
Pastor Harris with Greater Ward Chapel AME church says this walk is not superficial. The group exchanged information with unemployed citizens and plans to help them find jobs and get connected with organizations to learn new job skills. "We need to gather that data and make them feel engaged in the process to connect with the viable resources that will give them that employment to become more self sufficient."
Pastor Harris says this walk is just the beginning. "This is the Mayor's initiative. To really knock on doors and listen for a change and let the people talk to us and tell us what they need and what they want for their neighborhoods."
The official Safe Team Sweep and neighborhood revitalization kick off is in April. Mayor Hollingsworth says she would like for church groups to adopt a street and assess the needs, regarding revitalization.
Mayor Hollingsworth has a public Facebook page.
City of Pine Bluff Press Release:
One of the objectives Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth stated during her two year campaign run for mayor was to organize a Pine Bluff Church Outreach Committee where disciples within our faith communities would come together to work on a common mission project for our city answering God's call in new and exciting way in order to love one another bearing one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13; 1 John 4:7-8).
On March 13, 2013 the committee of pastors came together for their first meeting and the one thing that resonated throughout was the fact they were in agreement with the mission the mayor had set forth. It was to the point one pastor stated that "we need to set the date and start walking the community now." Therefore, on today, March 19, 2013, we began the ground work for the "Common Mission" to walk the streets of the city and find out the needs of the people. This opportunity grants us insight from the community perspective of what it is they want for their city and what the youth want as far as educational and recreational activities.
Having the pastors, ministers, citizens and the City of Pine Bluff Departments (Police, Fire and Inspection) come together for the betterment of our city is a heartwarming sentiment. Revitalization will take all of us working together and today is the beginning of a bright and prosperous future for Pine Bluff. Our hope is that the church will adopt a street or community and assess the needs of the people and assist the citizens in regards to revitalizing their neighborhoods. The Co-Chairs of the committee are Rev. Eddie Harris and Rev. Gary Bell.