Once appraisal is completed, sides need to agree on date for final decision on St. James

Published 12:38 pm Saturday, April 30, 2016

Businessman Mark Peterson has informed the Selma City Council that he plans to resign from his position managing the St. James Hotel on May 9.

Peterson and the city have been discussing a potential sale of the hotel since October and he has been volunteering his time to run the hotel since December.  From the beginning, we thought it was strange that Peterson was allowed to oversee day-to-day operations of the hotel without any kind of agreement. Over the last six months, he’s installed new equipment and invested in improving the hotel’s air conditioning.

He’s also made encouraging strides with the hotel’s lunch and dinner menus. By most accounts, the hotel has improved immensely during Peterson’s time running the show.

However, allowing Peterson to manage the hotel is the equivalent of attempting to sell your house by allowing a potential buyer to change the wallpaper, paint your living room and redo the kitchen. And just like in that hypothetical situation, that potential buyer could walk away any time.

That’s how easily this could turn into an awkward situation. In all honesty, we’re not entirely sure what Peterson is resigning from. We don’t blame him for not wanting to work for free, but he wasn’t asked to run the hotel.

Even more confusing is why council members would consider not accepting his resignation, considering Peterson could’ve walked away from this arrangement at any time over the last six months.

Don’t get us wrong. Peterson has done a tremendous job and has helped the St. James gain some positive momentum in last several months. There’s no doubting that. The fact that he hasn’t walked away shows his dedication and commitment to the St. James. It’s clear he has a real vision for what the St. James can be and his actions have made his interest clear.

However, until the sale is finalized — or the two sides go their separate ways — it’s probably best for all involved that Peterson steps away from the hotel. If nothing else, it may help speed up the sale process, which has now reached the eight-month point.

The two sides need to agree on a final date for a sale. Once the appraisal is completed and the hotel’s worth is known, it’s time for both sides to make a final decision. The city can’t afford to keep throwing money at the St. James and Peterson would presumably like to get on with his life, one way or the other.