Mayor Debe Hollingsworth says her goal through these town hall meetings is to acknowledge community concerns. More than one hundred people attended the second town hall meeting, about half the number in attendance at the first town hall meeting. The same issues seem to concern people, though. The topic of crime and the safety of kids in the community is what people keep talking about.
Mayor Hollingsworth says the town hall meetings provide and opportunity for people to voice their concerns and raise awareness of important issues. "I think it's very important to keep an open line of communication. That's part of the transparency that we campaigned on."
Lucille Cason came to the last town hall meeting and came back a second time to keep tabs on progress being made. "We come here to see with if this new mayor will try to so something for us."
Mayor Hollingsworth says she is aware crime is the number one concern in the community. "That's been true for the first 60 days of our term, so we'll continue to work on crime."
Earl Mays says reducing crime and keeping kids safe is why he and his neighbors started a neighborhood watch program. "We had to get a neighborhood watch going in order to watch over our kids when they get out from school. When they get off the buses we need to have police presence there for them. "
Mary Jo McCord says there are a lot of kids in Pine Bluff who don't have anything to do or anywhere to go. "That's a big problem. We need to get something for the youth to do."
Hollingsworth says the solution to these problems won't come quickly or easily, but with support from the community, she says is evident by the turnout at town hall meetings, progress can be made.
Horace McCord is hopeful and confident in the future of the city. "We have a new mayor who is more upbeat. The last mayor was thumbs down on everything in the city. She seems to have a positive attitude, and I think we can look forward to big changes in Pine Bluff because of her."
The Mayor says as long as there's interest, she'll keep hosting town hall meetings. The next one is April 8th.
A group of teenagers who attended the town hall meeting are organizing their own event called the Children's March Against Gun Violence. It's happening Saturday, May 4th at 1pm.