Hot Springs looks to fill empty buildings

Hot Springs (KATV) Business and community leaders have formed a downtown task force in hopes of bringing new investors to the area and filling empty buildings.

After the fire at the historic Majestic hotel, the city wants to make sure nothing like that happens to an empty building again.

"We want to look at what's happened in the past and use it to prevent what's happened in the past from happening to other historic buildings downtown," said Jim Fram of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, "We have a lot of empty retail space that finds new tenants or finds new owners or finds somebody to spend dollars in reinvestment."

The chamber plans to have several community hearings and will also evaluate other cities similar to Hot Springs.

The task force will release a final report with a downtown redevelopment strategy by the end of April.

Keely Desalvo, who owns two businesses downtown, The Pancake Shop and Savory Pantry, is a part of the force. She says every resident was affected by the Majestic hotel fire, agreeing it was a wake up call for the city.

The task force hopes with a concerted effort from the community they will come up with a plan for restoration.

"We do have vacant store fronts, we do have buildings in need of restoration. I'm hoping we can bring that conversation to the table and get something done," Desalvo said.

The first community hearing will be Monday March 31st.