Mayor: St. James’ operations doing well thus far
Published 8:31 am Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Jay Sowers
The Selma Times-Journal
Nearly a month after a contract between the city of Selma and an Atlanta-based management company expired, Selma Mayor George Evans gave an update to city council members on operations at the St. James Hotel since volunteers assumed the management and upkeep of the hotel.
“I’d like to update the council that the St. James Hotel is doing wonderful,” Evans said. “It is my understanding, based on the numbers that I have gotten, that they have made about $5,000 in terms of people staying there since we have done this program.”
Evans took a moment out of the meeting to thank the volunteers for the work they have been doing since Gourmet Services ended their contract with the city following an announcement in late June.
“The volunteers have been there and they are doing an outstanding job,” Evans said. “I just applaud the ladies and gentleman of our staff.”
Evans worked to assure any doubters the city does have a plan for the future of the historic Water Avenue hotel.
“Again, I say to someone’s who say there is no plan, that there is a plan, “Evans said. “The plan is to run it as long as we can, based on the funds we have, which is $10,000 which came out of the city funds, and then what we collect.”
Evans said the city will continue to operate the hotel under the current plan until funds run out, at which point the council will be asked for further funding or to close the hotel.
“The plan is to continue to run it until we can get someone to come in and present the proposal to the city,” Evans said
Evans said the council would have to approve any proposal from an outside group to manage the hotel.
“If we in fact never get anybody to present [a proposal] here, or we are not happy with the proposal, then it is certainly the option for the city council to shut it down and allow it to be sold,” Evans said.
Ward 3 council member Greg Bjekle asked Evans if the city was actively looking for management groups, or was waiting for such groups to express interest first, and said that while the city is looking, multiple potential managers had already come forward.
“We’ve had two or three people already approach us about making presentations [regarding management of the hotel],” Evans said.