Spurs for Siloam Springs

Last night an acquaintance suggested I take issue with downtown Siloam Springs’ perpetual eyesore, the Crown Hotel. It’s not the only unattended structure in the area, but this 100 year old building needs a lot of TLC — and everyone in town seems to know it except its owners and residents. The building recently sold (from what I understood it was on the market for an absurd $400,000 some time back) to new owners who, reportedly, don’t intend to pay the exterior aesthetics any attention. Much to the rest of the community’s chagrin.

And as I biked this morning after the rain I found another downtown Siloam faux-pas over which to grieve: The parks. The fountain in Twin Springs Park needs work (which money is presently being raised for) and now part of the retaining wall next to the creek has caved in. The parks are very important to the look and feel of Siloam and a few years ago I was given the impression that there was money and a schedule to repair these historic rock structures. Why hasn’t it been done? Where is the taxpayer dollar going?

And why did the city leaders decide to simply repave Main Street instead of going ahead with plans to widen and landscape the road leading into the middle of town? Why are they haggling over parking, seemingly impeding the revitalization of downtown, when it’s not actually a problem?

So often it’s difficult to understand why God puts certain people in positions of authority, positions we’re told to respect and pray for — yes, pray for, not malign and slander. This command comes back to me once and a while and I’ve been reminded of it again this month. But isn’t there a difference between constructive criticism — which I believe every human should be willing to gracefully give and receive when necessary — and slander? Perhaps as humans we’re messed up enough that we fall too easily from one to the other without realization, and thus should avoid any kind of conversation about leaders and politicians. But then where is the necessary accountability in our democratic governments?

Going back to my last point about parking downtown, my father recently told me of a conversation he had with another gentleman about the small downtown in his community. My father hopes to purchase property in said downtown, but at the same time he and this other man share a skepticism about how revitalized the area can really become. Perhaps such caution is warranted, but at the same time if everyone were to exercise such caution of course downtown won’t come back! Someone has to step out, take their vision for a community to the next level. If it’s not you that’s fine, but instead of nitpicking good ideas to death encourage the people who have the guts and the means to act on their vision!

And as for the city, follow through with your good ideas!

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

4 Responses to Spurs for Siloam Springs

  1. Ginna says:

    The “perpetual eyesoar” they’re referring to is a home for people. It may not be known as the “landmark of beauty”. However, it provides shelter for the less fortunate. I personally know the owner and I know their priority is not to impress those living on the outside, but those living on the inside. They are trying to make a difference in people’s lives, real lives, not buildings that are here today and gone tomorrow. I must also add, I’ve personally walked through the building from the basement up to the top floor. It is definitely not a place of beauty to the physical eye. However, it is one of the most well built buildings in the entire town. It would be the last building in town to fall. I just have to say, please do not be so quick to take the advice of others to come against the “perpetual eyesoar”…because the “perpetual eyesoar” is shelter to people who need shelter. If we came against the crown hotel, we’d have to come against a lot of other homes in the entire town that don’t “meet up to other’s standards.” Not everyone is so blessed to have beauty, just needs being met, that’s it. But thank God for that!! We all can look deeper when we try. Not everything is beautiful to the physical eye, but that shouldn’t ever be the way we judge beauty.

  2. TAE says:

    The point here is that the Crown can remain a residence for the “less fortunate” while still cleaning up. If the owners can’t afford to paint and purchase new window coverings the business isn’t viable anyway. Further, this blog does on occasion mention other parts of Siloam which need aesthetic attention. If you read regularly you will realize this.

    And for what it’s worth, the acquaintance who prompted me to write about this also knows the owners the of the building.

  3. Pingback: New faces in downtown Siloam « The Aesthetic Elevator

  4. M says:

    Well, I have lived in Siloam since 2003 and admired what the Crowne was, and could be again without changing its purpose in life at this time. Simple aesthetic repairs such as paint and window treatments would go a long way in improving it appearance. My point of doing this isn’t to spruce this structure up to have folks of means move into cute little apartments but to enhance the appearance of the street that other building owners adjacent to the Crowne have done. It stands out like a sore thumb for the whole block. I used to be involved in city and town beautification programs in other locations I have lived and there is money out there to improve these types of structures if the owners are willing to look such as Main Street (http://www.mainstreet.org/). My current job doesn’t permit me to join or advocate such an association since I am out of town often so I don’t mean to come across as a person who points a finger often and does nothing more.
    Siloam has several very good points to utilize the downtown, especially the creek and fountains, but other buildings that “sit” there, such as the old automotive store with it’s glazed tiles falling off the exterior, awnings ripped and hanging down or non-existent are other fine examples of “what could be. What’s to happen to the old post office for sale?
    You can go on and on but basically until a group of owners and the city come together in a concerted effort and plan you are telling private property owners what to do with there commercial property and that always fly’s well when it isn’t an issue of a code violation.
    Bye the way the other individual who commented on the Crowne in a positive light as a place for less fortunate individuals and that they had toured the building from top to bottom. I too have viewed this structure from the perspective as a tenant, I was looking for an inexpensive place to live while my home sold out of state so I looked at every property offering rooms for rent. If this were in New York, Chicago or Saint Louis I might understand some of the short comings, but Siloam? It is a rough building with common bathrooms for all the tenants, no I didn’t rent a room, I lived in Rogers until buying a home.
    What does the tenants income situation have to do with the condition and appearance of the structure? Nothing, as a matter of fact if your wanting to “lift” those folks up why not have a living environment more positive than a dark and dank old hotel.

    The point of my little rant is to say I feel the owners owe it, it is a unwritten rule in commercial real estate to improve and maintain facilities, unless your into it to be a slum lord, which is what the Crowne is, Siloam’s version of slum housing. There are other examples such as the dump out on Harvard Avenue but that is another rant.
    Have a Merry Christmas
    M

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