Time is not on the side of the city, St. James

Published 10:45 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We’ve been told on more than one occasion the city of Selma doesn’t want to be tasked with the long-term, day-to-day management of the historic St. James Hotel. But, with each passing week, each new event and new purchase, we’re starting to think some with the city leadership are getting a kick out of running a hotel.

Last week, the city of Selma unveiled new bicycles available to guests of the St. James, perfect for touring historic Selma on just two wheels.

Last week, we wrote about Sunday’s Soul Food Sunday fundraising event, aimed at raising money for hotel operations.

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In that editorial we said another dinner event, organized by city officials raised approximately $1,600, a small percentage of the reported $25,000 the city of Selma has spent on the hotel.

We say again, hosting multiple fundraisers is not a sustainable long-term plan, but we again thank the city council, city personnel and leadership for doing what they can to keep the hotel in operation.

But, when does trying to run a hotel, developing fundraising events and tending to the needs of hotel clients, begin to take time away from other city projects? How much time is our city’s leadership focusing on linens, pillows and coffee purchases?

It’s time the city do what is needed to find a buyer for the hotel or a company willing and capable of running this historic icon. It is time the city found the means — in partnership with investors or businesses — to make the desperately needed renovations.

These fundraising events are all well and good, but unfortunately, they are attracting many of the same people, who are already committed to the hotel’s success. How long can we continue to tap those who are already giving, already committed?

We cannot afford to lose the St. James to the sands of time, or the idle hands of neglect. Nor, can we afford to have other city services suffer because of desperate attempts to save the St. James.

It’s time for city leaders to come and say they don’t want to do this long term. It’s time for them to get serious about finding a buyer or a partner.

Unfortunately for the St. James, it’s future is all about time.