Wikimedia commons/Tichnor Brothers, Publisher / Public domain
WHEN IT WAS MAJESTIC: I prefer to remember it this way.

A detailed story in the Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs on the rejection of two proposals to redevelop the site of the old Majestic Hotel. City officials said they lacked required assurances of financial capability.

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Proposals required either a bond guaranteeing sufficient capital or annual financial statements and a fiscally sound development plan.

The coronavirus extended the proposal submission period to April 30 and two were submitted.

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Grand Point Investment Group and Cienda Partners’ proposed a $100 million thermal water resort with 250 guest rooms, 30 residences, a park, a rooftop club, spa, mountain biking program and parking, the newspaper reported.

DHM Design of Colorado proposed to find investors for a design that would “look to integrate the hot springs into the natural environment.”

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Deputy City Manager Lance Spicer said the city would solicit more proposals. The city bought the vacant hotel property for more than $2 million in 2015 and demolished it. The property has received environmental clearance for redevelopment.

A spokesman for Cienda told the newspaper its partnership had the means and track record to get the project done and was prepared to work further with the city.

PS — I have sentimental reasons for my attachment to this story. The greatest trip of my young life was a family stay in the Majestic Hotel in 1958. We ate at the Dutch Treat. I bought comic books in the Sundry Store. I drank hot water from the fountain in the lobby. I walked Central Avenue where a sidewalk photographer snapped my picture outside Mollie’s, where we ate loaves of challah. We went out to the Majestic’s lodge on the lake. Went to the IQ Zoo. Got a pair of cufflinks from the 25-cent mystery box at the auction house on Central. On a trip several years later, we had rooms in the “swanky” Lanai Suites. Don’t ask me why but I still remember the pleasure of cold Pepsi in one of those swirled bottles that I bought from a machine by the pool.

We joined my Huttig, Ark., relatives at their campsite on Lake Ouachita for a mess of fried, freshly-caught fish.

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I also remember asking my parents about some words painted as an advertisement on one of the other hotel/bathhouses. “What is a high colonic?”

I was not the only person in swampy South Louisiana who looked at the lakes and mountains of Arkansas as something near paradise. Who knew in 1958 where that eight-year-old would be today?