Rescheduled fireworks could pay off great for Selma

Published 12:49am Saturday, August 31, 2013

We’re hoping for good weather Monday evening as the city of Selma prepares to light the candle on yet another attempt to having a fireworks spectacular.

The Labor Day show was originally scheduled for the Fourth of July, but threatening weather forced organizers to postpone the show. In the end, the stormy weather in July might have been the best thing to happen to the city — specifically one historic building downtown.

The fireworks, which will be fired off from Riverfront Park and light up the night sky over downtown Selma and the Alabama River, could be a grand opening of sorts for the historic St. James Hotel.

After a month of city leadership, the riverfront hotel appears to be turning a corner.

From what city leaders and volunteers have said, the hotel is beginning to bring in some revenue and the facility is cleaner than it has been in years. Sheets have been replaced, the grounds have been cleaned and, by all accounts, the customer service has been tremendously upgraded. Now all the hotel needs is guests.

That’s where the fireworks come in.

When moving the fireworks to the riverfront from Memorial Stadium — a move that was primarily forced because of the ongoing bridge replacement project on Dallas Avenue — city leaders began urging residents to book rooms at the hotel to get the best views possible of the fireworks; enjoying the show from the balcony that lines the back side of the hotel and the rooms on that side of the hotel.

It’s not clear just how many have made reservations, but we are encouraged that someone at the hotel is at least thinking of marketing the facility and finding ways to draw guests.

The hotel is in need of work and the only way that can happen is if the hotel once again proves it is a viable business and begins to generate revenue. The city has only show much it can invest in the hotel operations and once that money is gone, it is gone.

In the end, the best solution for the hotel is to find a true hotel management company — a company that knows what it is doing in running a hotel — that can get the hotel in a position where it is generating money that can then be reinvested in fixing the shutters, patching the walls and redoing the paint.

It is also our opinion that the volunteer workforce solution can only work so long.

The city must redouble its efforts in finding a management partner or get busy either finding a buyer for the hotel or working with a developer in turning the hotel in to riverfront condominiums. Either way, something needs to happen and happen soon.

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