Hot Springs Village residents oppose new 25-year plan for the community

(KATV Photo)

Hot Springs Village is one of the largest gated communities in the United States. Recently, their board of directors approved a 25-year master plan for the community, and it's safe to say a lot of residents are not happy.

People move from all over the united states to Hot Springs Village to retire. But the community's property owners association is wanting to go in a slightly different direction through a new master plan. "It is a plan that's focused on growth through the next 25 years, which has different demographics. Younger people will eventually in 25 years be who we are today," said POA chairman Tom Weiss.

This plan includes large developments to bring in a younger, working generation. However, many residents do not think it will be successful. They say the 14,000 people who live in the community cannot support new businesses and establishments coming though the gates. Homeowner Tom Blakeman said, "There's not a job base here to support working families for the most part. There are some. Yes, but this is not little rock. This is basically a rural, retirement community." Blakeman isn't alone. A meeting facilitiated by the group "We The People", who are the ones spearheading this fight, turned a crowd of over 700 people.

They are wanting a say in what happens in hot springs village, but Weiss says they aren't providing any alternative solutions to the plan. He said, "That hasn't happened. As soon as they have that plan, their plan that is a viable alternative to what we put forward, we'd be more than happy to sit down with them and talk." As for Blakeman, he says the solution to this is not a new master plan, rather all new leadership.

There is also a major vote coming up at the end of November for Hot Springs Village. The board of directors is attempting to change the deceleration of the community - to essentially declare independence from the developers. That has also turned opposition from residents. The group "We The People" plans to hold another meeting about the master plan and November vote at the end of October.

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