Groups work to preserve building for history

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Several groups in Independence County are attempting to save a building that was once one of the first opera houses on this side of the Mississippi River, after the building partially collapsed over the weekend.

The groups are trying to save the Adler building, which also houses the oldest elevator in the state.

Main Street Batesville put a call out to the community earlier this week, encouraging them to help the owners of the Adler building.

Building owner Joey Markowski told Region 8 News that the collapse added a cost of around $25,000 to the renovation, which already had a tight budget.

"It was a very fine line between being profitable and making or breaking this project from the beginning," Markowski said. "So, $25,000 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but it is when you're close to the margins."

He said the good news, though, is that an engineering report shows that the rest of the building is structurally sound.

On Thursday, the Batesville Preservation Association announced its board of directors approved a $10,000 grant for the reconstruction of the building.

"The Batesville Preservation Association makes small grants every year to help downtown property owners," Terrell Tebbetts, the organization's executive secretary and treasurer said. "And for over 30 years we've been putting away a little each year to have on hand in case of an emergency. The board's foresight is paying off if BPA can help save the Adler building."

The nonprofit organization helps to protect Batesville's history, which Markowski said is just as important as making a profit off of these renovations.
"These buildings, these historic buildings, you don't do something like this unless you have a passion for it and Batesville has a community that and a Main Street community especially that has a passion for historic buildings and preserving our heritage," Markowski said.

The plans for the building include commercial space on the first floor and loft apartments upstairs.

Markowski said they would appreciate the community's support in bringing the building back to life and value the opinion of citizens.

Copyright 2018 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.