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Hot Springs agrees to buy Majestic Hotel

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - The city of Hot Springs is moving forward with plans to take control of the condemned Majestic hotel.

Much of the hotel site has sat in ruin, virtually untouched since a massive fire more than a year ago. Last week, the Majestic's owner, Gary Hassenflu, made an offer to sell the property to the city for $680,000.

"You're buying the ultimate fixer-upper, except we're not going to fix it up," said Hot Springs City Manager David Watkins. "We're basically making a short-term loan to ourselves with the intention of getting that investment back and having control over what happens on the property."

"The potential is unlimited," added Watkins. "If we could get the Majestic site cleaned, ready for public and private use I think the psychological and physical impact on this downtown would be immeasurable."

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Hot Springs board votes to buy remnants of historic hotel

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - The Hot Springs City Board has voted to buy the remnants of the historic Majestic Hotel downtown.

City Manager David Watkins says the board voted 6 to 0 Thursday evening to begin the process of purchasing the 5-acre property for about $680,000 from the Missouri owner.

A portion of the hotel was destroyed in February 2014 fire, leaving piles of debris next to the remaining structure.

Watkins says once the sale goes through, the city will make cleaning up the fire debris its first priority but demolishing the rest of the hotel will also be high on the list.

Once the building is removed, he said the city is considering its options for the property including a possible park or amphitheater.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Hot Springs considers purchase of Majestic Hotel property

Hot Springs considers purchase of Majestic Hotel property

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— The City of Hot Springs, on Thursday, July 2, will consider approving purchase of the site of the historic Majestic Hotel, part of which was destroyed by fire February 27-28, 2014.

“The property, which is the entryway to Hot Springs from the north and which serves as the gateway to the city’s historic downtown district, is key to ongoing plans for the redevelopment of the downtown area,” said David Watkins, Hot Springs’ city manager. “Acquisition of this property presents an enormous array of great opportunities on several fronts.”

The rubble of the destroyed portion of the hotel has remained since the night of the fire. Ongoing talks with owner Gary Hassenflu of Kansas City had proven unsuccessful in getting the rubble cleared and remediating the unsafe condition of the remaining portion of the buildings. The Hot Springs Board of Directors condemned the property in March of this year.

The Charlie Daniels Band to celebrate July 4 at Magic Springs

The Charlie Daniels Band to celebrate July 4 at Magic Springs

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Southern country legend Charlie Daniels will be celebrating the Fourth of July with his band at Magic Springs’ Timberwood Amphitheater in Hot Springs. 

Performances will begin at 3 p.m. with country singer Blane Howard followed by Hot Springs native Aaron Owens at 7 p.m., leaving the Charlie Daniels Band at 8 p.m.

Charles Edward "Charlie" Daniels is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for his contributions to country and southern rock music. He is best known for his No. 1 country hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and “The South’s Gonna Do It Again.” He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009. Daniels won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," which reached No. 3 on the Hot 100.

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Hot Springs park officials warning public of firework fines

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - The fourth of July is just around the corner, and park officials are reminding the public of what can happen if you shoot off fireworks on National Forest lands.

Officials with the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are urging for the safety of the public to not shoot fireworks on National Forest Lands as Independence Day is fast approaching.

Hot Springs tears down now-vacant BBQ favorite

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) – On Tuesday, the final remnants of Dewey's Town Talk BBQ in Hot Springs could be seen heaped in piles.

The local spot has been vacant for more than 15 years, but the old building stood as a landmark of memories and good local food.

"There are new restaurants that try to have that old feel It actually had that old feel," said local 48-year-old Albert Harris.

Harris owns a family-owned funeral home a few stores down from the old BBQ pit and says he remembers grabbing food in his teenage years.

"My parents would drop me off after school and they didn't want to cook sometimes," he said laughing, which quickly turned to somber nostalgia. "The current feeling is sad, because of the current condition. It's gone essentially."

The city used two days to clear the property, which local officials say had become run down.

Highway crews closing Carpenter Dam Road lane in Hot Springs

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway crews will close a lanes on Highway 128 near Hot Springs so they can inspect a bridge.

Crews from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will inspect the Carpenter Dam Road bridge over Lake Catherine. Traffic will be reduced to one lane on the bridge; flaggers will control traffic.

The inspection will take place Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. If the weather is bad, the work will be delayed.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)