Downtown Development planned for Hot Springs by Natural Retreats

An old farmer in a Robert Frost poem once said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” And the author/narrator continues, “Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder if I could put a notion in his head: ’Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it where there are cows? But here there are no cows . . .’”

For those who may have wondered why a fine solid board fence now keeps vehicles out of the gravel parking lot in Hot Springs, it is so that the owners can do some digging around. Jonathan Shannon, project manager for development for Natural Retreats described the work getting underway.

“That was really the sole reason for putting the fence around the parking lot– to be able to do some of the exploration that we need to do. We’ve been doing some surveying of the parking lot. Now we need to move forward with some geotechnical work; and really just a lot of exploration. As everyone knows, there’s a lot of history in this area, and there’s a lot of history under that parking lot as well, so we need to know what we’re getting into.”

Shannon talked about the downtown project, which is a further off in its construction -than the Village at Warm Springs Farm, but is still often at the forefront of local thinking.

“We really want to design, and stay within keeping sort of the Main Street feel, and the vernacular with three stories, thirty thousand square feet, something around that nature. Again we’re right now still in the very preliminary, beginning stages of design, engineering and architecture, so that will solidify itself in the future.”

Jonathan Shannon continued,

“We look for this to be a mixed-use building for the community, which would comprise of some condominiums for sale or rent and retail space, and some restaurant space, and some community space, maybe a park like setting. We’re looking at right now pursuing maybe two smaller buildings in that area.”

Proposals from designers, architects and engineers for the Main Street Building have not yet started to come in. While the Natural Retreats hopes to use some of the contractors who have been working at Trailview Village for the past couple of years on both the Warm Springs Farm site, and Main Street, they also recognize, a commercial builder may need to come from farther afield.

Kent Dougherty, Vice President for Development for Natural Retreats, and general manager for the Homestead Preserve who spoke in the first part of this pair of stories, connected both of these projects to some hopes of local Bath businesses.

“The developments that we’re talking about now, the Village at Warm Springs Farm, the buildings down town, sort of reinforce a lot of the findings of the recent economic development study which really focused a lot of their attention on Main Street and reinvigorating Hot Springs. This all promises to increase economic development in the county, bring more people here who are doing more shopping, more eating, more recreating, so we’re looking forward to that increased economic development.”


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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