Following an official finding of no significant asbestos-containing materials in the area adjacent to the sidewalk in front of the Majestic Hotel “yellow brick” building, the City of Hot Springs obtained approval today from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to clear the sidewalk for pedestrian access in the near future.
After more than a year of inaction on the part of the property owner, Garrison Hassenflu of Kansas City-based Park Properties, LLC, the city is proceeding with the project, which includes construction of a fence barrier atop an existing short wall to ensure pedestrian safety. The city met today with potential contractors to discuss the project scope and time frame, with bids expected later this week. The project cost, unbudgeted by the city, will be billed to the property owner. In an effort to contain costs, County Judge Rick Davis has agreed to waive landfill fees for debris disposal.
The yellow brick portion of the Majestic Hotel, a five-story structure built in 1886, succumbed to fire on February 27, 2014. It was partially demolished on March 1 and 2, 2014 at a $35,000 cost to local taxpayers following issuance of an emergency declaration from the Governor’s office due to its imminent hazard to public safety. The Hot Springs Board of Directors formally condemned the yellow brick structure on March 18, 2014.
“We’re very pleased and excited to soon be able to provide pedestrian access to our residents and visitors,” said City Manager David Watkins. “I’d like to thank the citizens of Hot Springs, particularly those in close proximity to the Majestic Hotel, for their patience as we worked with the proper authorities to achieve approval for sidewalk clearance. It’s been a long but obligatory process, including environmental assessment, negotiations with the property owner and meetings with ADEQ. The City of Hot Springs continues to work diligently on multiple fronts towards resolving the problems posed by the Majestic Hotel property due to its prominent location at a gateway to our city. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward as we work together to revitalize downtown Hot Springs.”