HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Hot Springs landmark is sitting in limbo as no one claims ownership of the former Army Navy Hospital. Now, there are reports of vandalism and break-ins.
For almost a century, the Army Navy Hospital has been the center of the Spa City. Clay Farrar has been leading the push to find an owner for it for more than a year.
“It’s the number one iconic structure in the city of Hot Springs,” Farrar said.
So far, he’s had no luck and it’s sitting vacant, deteriorating day after day.
“It would be like having the Empire State building be empty and vandalized,” Farrar said.
The Federal Bureaucracy, Army and National Park Service all don’t want it. Farrar believes it comes down to money.
“The carrying cost of the building is easily $1,000,000 a year by the time you do the utilities and so on. We have a building that nobody takes responsibility for,” Farrar said.
An empty building is open invitation for unwanted guests.
“There are broken windows, broken doors, windows left open, and signs of homeless there and some vandalism,” Farrar said.
Along with those visitors, Farrar said other bandits have checked in.
“We may have the largest raccoon hotel in the world,” Farrar said.
Right now, he is working with the rest of his committee to get lawmakers to act.
“The federal government built the building in 1933 and in my opinion they have the responsibility now to not ignore the building,” Farrar said.
If something doesn’t happen soon, he believes the heart of Hot Springs could become its biggest eyesore.
“It’s is our nightmare scenario is that the building gets hopeless,” Farrar said.
He and the rest of his committee is pushing for representatives to either turn the property over to the General Service Administration or it can be sold in a private sale.