NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - As a child Ronald Ackley could only day dream about the beauty of the Hacienda hotel.
"It's always been boarded up for years and I didn't have a chance to get in here because it was off limits," he told ABC Action News Saturday afternoon.
The hotel opened it's doors in 1927 quickly becoming the centerpiece of the New Port Richey social scene. 86 years later Ackley and hundreds of other residents worked to restore the building's former glory.
"We were just painting up on the balcony and my first thought was 'how many people walked where we were standing?" he said.
The city has owned the Hacienda for 10 years, but it's been vacant since 2006. Councilman Bill Philips hopes to bring the hotel back to it's former glory and connect it back to the community.
"If you treat it well people will reinvest in the community, and it's just a way to revitalize New Port Richey," said Philips.
80 year old Frank Coversano came to lend a hand.
"It's just important not to be tearing down something that has been here a long time and they don't build them like this anymore for one thing," said Coversano.
His hard work paid off with a historic discovery.
"I found out that this railing was made in South Africa and it's stamped right on there. I will never forget this day really," he said.
Many, including Ackley, will remember the day that opened the doors to history once again.
"It brings everybody closer together. When you go by this you can say 'look I helped worked on that," said Ackley.
The future of the Hacienda looks brighter. The city plans on a smaller scale community cleanup in the following months. The city says they will continue to explore the options for the historic landmark.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Ireland Nugent is back in her Palm Harbor home and walking. An Orlando facility fitted her with new prosthetics. It's been more than two months since the toddler lost her feet after being accidentally run over by a lawn mower.