Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Grand plans flow in to keep Harder Hall standing


Published:

It's good that a few offers for Harder Hall are coming in, even if most of them seem unrealistic. All any of us want is for that grand pink building to continue to grace Little Lake Jackson. We just hope one of these ideas, and a person who can make it happen, comes forward soon.

The city of Sebring has owned Harder Hall since 2006. The economy has been in the dumps and every proposal or semi-serious potential buyer never worked out. The city continues to market the resort and hotel built in 1927 and some unusual offers have came in as a result. No serious buyers have stepped forward, however.

One possibility was to sell it to a yoga foundation. Another was to turn it into an orphanage, a rehab facility, a private residence, a media business and a rehab facility for veterans and an elephant refuge. One person wanted to sell stocks to investors but the Securities and Exchange Commission would have to rewrite some rules for that to happen. The city told the man to get back with them once the SEC has made the changes.

The hard truth is that Harder Hall will be a difficult sell. That's too bad because it's such a beautiful place. So many years have passed and trying to save that building is no easy task. We like that the city hasn't given up on it, though. The thought of the structure not sitting where it does leaves a bad taste in just about everybody's mouth.

Locals continually suggest it be used as some kind of governmental building or recreational complex. What these folks don't realize is just how much money would be required to make repairs, get the building up to code and to maintain a structure of that age.

In a perfect world someone with deep pockets would step forward with a plan that would save it and make it viable for decades to come. The location is fantastic and the property is primo, that's why developing condos on that land is attractive to some. To locals, we hate the thought of the building being torn down.

Maybe something no one's considered will come to the forefront before long. It will take a visionary to pull it off. While an elephant refuge isn't going to work there, surely there's something that would. Most importantly is keeping that grand place standing. Time's running out on that, unfortunately.

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