The attached progress report, released today by Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis, indicates that a number of downtown historic building owners in Hot Springs have chosen to invest in property improvements that address code violations and enhance public safety, while touting the significance the city’s delivery of substantial water system improvements to the downtown area.
The report, entitled The Thermal Basin Fire District: A Code Compliance Status Report and Improvements Analysis, covers a six-month period from January through June 2015. It lists 12 downtown locations where fire sprinkler installation has been recently completed or is underway. Another seven downtown locations have scheduled sprinkler system installation to occur by year end. A fire standpipe system has been installed in one building and combustibles removed from the interior of another. A total of seven buildings have made means of egress improvements such as the installation of stairwells, exit doors or protected corridors. Phase 1 of a corrective action plan for the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI) Campus, located at 300 Reserve Street, has been completed, with Phase 2 scheduled to begin later this summer. According to the report, Arkansas Senator Bill Sample worked with ACTI administration to help facilitate corrective action for the campus, previously identified as “the most threatened group of buildings within the city.”
A total of 451 code violation citations have been issued from the city’s Planning & Development and Fire departments during the first half of 2015, including 16 for the Howe Hotel, 201 Central Avenue, and 435 for the Majestic Hotel, 101 Park Avenue. The demolition of two blighted downtown apartment buildings and the scheduled demolition of a third are contributing to downtown’s improved appearance, while the remodeling of the Thompson Building, 338-340 Central Avenue, is scheduled to begin later this summer.
Increased fire flow in the downtown area, resulting from the city’s addition of 12-inch fire mains on each side of Central Avenue, along with 16 new fire hydrants and 17 new fire suppression connections, has significantly improved fire safety within the Thermal Basin as well, the report indicates. “We appreciate Utilities Director Scott Bundy and his personnel for their dedication to fire safety citywide,” Chief Davis indicated at the close of his report. He also recognized the corrective actions on the part of many downtown building owners following the Board of Directors’ formal adoption of the Thermal Basin Fire District ordinance last October as being “the result of the cooperative efforts of local government and the private sector. This alliance between the community, fire department, other city departments and the highest levels of city leadership is making downtown Hot Springs a safer place.”
The full report is available on the Fire Department home page of the city’s website at www.cityhs.net .