Hot Springs community pushes to save historic landmark

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HOT SPRINGS. Ark. – The Hot Springs Community is pushing to save a city landmark. A building that has been in use for close to 90 years will become vacant by the end of the year and there are no plans for use in the future.

It’s been an Army, Navy hospital and most recently the Arkansas Career Training Institute but they will be gone by the end of the year. The concern is if it stays empty it will deteriorate and could eventually be torn down.

“We can’t lose our history. If we do, we lose who we are,” Garland County Historical Society Executive Director Liz Robbins said.

Overlooking the city of Hot Springs there is one building that sticks out among the rest.

“I just can’t see Hot Springs being Hot Springs with out that sitting proudly up on the hill,” Robbins said.

From an Army, Navy Hospital to most recently the Arkansas Career Training Institute, this place has a long history of healing and educating.

“There are so many people who have stories about this building, about this whole site and what it’s meant to their lives,” Robbins said.

One of those stories comes from Clay Farrar, the man leading the charge to save the building.

“My father came back from World War II in Germany with arthritis and was shipped there and met my mother there in 1945,” Farrar said.

Farrar is the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Committee working to make sure this place of beauty does not turn into an eyesore.

“To allow that to become a big black eye would just be a tragedy,” Farrar said.

The ACTI is officially moving out of the building by the end of the year and by July 1, 2020 the Federal Government is taking over. So far there are no plans for the future.

“The fear is that the building would be closed down and then there is a homeless invasion and vandalism which is already somewhat taking place,” Farrar said.

Their hope is to bring new life to this building while keeping the original values.

“I’d love to see it continue it’s original purpose of helping people with their health or their education,” Robbins said.

Community members are urged to send letters to their elected representative to make sure the property remains secure while they look for a new use.

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