The Boys and Girls Club of Fort Smith opens its haunted house October 13th, but for some the scariest part of this haunted house might be its doors closing for good.
Jason Morland says, “The haunted house started in 1994, and it was an idea from a couple of people, and we did it in the gymnasium and actually turned a profit.”
For the last 23 years, generating scares has been a big part of Jason Morland’s life. He says, “It’s grown into the largest fundraiser for the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club.”
But all that changes after this year. Marketing Director for the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority Lorie Robertson says, “We gave them about 18 months notice and we asked them if they would please clear their things out by may of 2018.” The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority is selling off the warehouses the haunted house calls home. Robertson says, “In the last two years or so, we have had a lot of interest from investors and developers wanting to buy these warehouses and we felt like it was time.”
With the Boys and Girls Club’s lease ending, time is running out to find a new space. Morland says, “It’s 27,000 square feet and for us to get a rent cheap enough that would make it worth our while to still have a fundraiser. that’s the question – that’s the hard thing.”
The organization pays a reduced rate of 1,500-dollars a year at Chaffee Crossing. Unless they find another location with a similar price, this could be the end of the haunted house. Morland says, “We do have a couple of people that have shown interest in buying certain pieces and/ or buying the entire inventory.” But Morland says he hopes they’re able to scare up a new space before it comes to that.
You can check out the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club’s haunted house yourself. It’s open every Friday and Saturday of October starting October 13th and there’s a special night of scaring for Halloween. Tickets are 15-dollars per person. For more information, click here.