Dozens Rally to Preserve Downtown Hot Springs

HOT SPRINGS, AR — A local group is rallying the community together to help revitalize aging historic downtown buildings.

“What do you want to see in Hot Springs?” asks Rally Coordinator Brenda Brandenburg.

That question had dozens of neighbors coming out Saturday afternoon.

Members wrote their suggestions on an “Idea Wall” at the “Save Our Past” rally.

Among brainstormers, Joe Woodward, one of many in the group who feel decaying buildings around downtown should be revitalized instead of being demolished.

“I think it’s something we need to preserve,” he says.

One main focus for the roughly 100-person group is the city’s recent purchase of the Majestic Theatre.

Even though it’s been plagued with fire and neglect, group members want to see the more than century old building restored.

“There are things we remember when we go into a historic building or buildings that we spent time in with our families during our childhood years,” says Brandenburg.

But some neighbors are writing off the buildings.

“We can’t continue to hold on to something that is not necessarily going to be productive for our future,” says Neighbor Kae McWilliams.

The historian group said they are working to motivate businesses to purchase the old buildings and make them new.

And as the ink dries on the “Idea Wall” members and neighbors wait to see what is written for the future of their downtown.

“I feel it would be best if we can do something that is better for the community,” says McWilliams.

“We can’t let these go down because if you let history go it’s forgotten,” adds Woodward.

The group plans on holding another meeting in three to four months.

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