The Evans: The Heart of Hot Springs

In 1892 local businessman Fred Evans constructed the historic building that was known as the Evans Hotel. It was a time when Hot Springs streets were lined with spas, bath houses and resorts that made Hot Springs the City of Healing Waters.

Over time, however the Evans Hotel ceased operations and stood vacant in the middle of Hot Springs. In 1977 a fire nearly sealed its fate. With the help of SHDHA, the Evans Hotel was converted into apartments in 1979 for the elderly and people with disabilities and the stately sandstone building, in the heart of Hot Springs, was reborn with a new role in the community. At the time, the $3.1 million project was the largest ever financed by SDHDA.

Twenty-five years after the first remodel, the Evans was faced with low occupancy rates, outdated appliances and aging plumbing, heating and cooling systems. Too few units were handicap accessible and many needed new kitchens, according to Greg Foust, Executive Director of the Hot Springs Housing and Redevelopment Commission. Once again, the Commission turned to SDHDA for assistance.

A $1.8 million rehabilitation project began in 2010. Utilizing HOME funds, contractors replaced the heating and cooling system, put in new water pipes and made other updates. Kitchens were added to 13 units and five units were made handicap accessible. "Now our occupancy is consistently over 97 percent," Foust said.

"Before," commented Foust, "most of the 85-unit apartment building's residents were from the Hot Springs area and nearby towns. Now, with the improvements, a number of people are moving from other parts of South Dakota. That is good for the Hot Springs economy."