City of Selma votes to take over management of 176-year-old St. - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

City of Selma votes to take over management of 176-year-old St. James Hotel

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The City of Selma says it will take over management of the St. James Hotel. The City of Selma says it will take over management of the St. James Hotel.
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SELMA, AL (WSFA) -

The City of Selma says it will hold on to the historic St. James Hotel. Built in 1837, it's one of the last riverfront hotels still standing in the Southeast.

Tuesday night, city council members decided to once again assume management of the property that has seen better days. There had been talk over the last several weeks that Selma might be forced to sell the hotel.

City leaders decided against that move, however, deciding to hold on to the property that was once the jewel of downtown. From a distance the St. James still looks like the stately hotel it used to be, but up close it's showing signs of wear and tear developed through the decades.

The Georgia-based company that had been managing the hotel recently asked to be let out of its contract with the city. A decision had to be made about what to do about the neglected hotel, even though a minority on the city council felt it was time to let it go.

But... Tonight the Selma city council decided the city would manage the property.

"So we're working with local citizens and private groups to come up with a plan as to how to maintain and continue to operate the hotel," explained Selma mayor George Evans. "The intent of city government is not to close the hotel, and at this point not to sell it," Evans added. "So we're in the works and progress to keep the doors open."

Mayor Evans says there may have to be cutbacks to staffing and there will definitely be limits to food service until they can find another organization to manage the property.

Gourmet Services, the Georgia company that has been managing it, will be out at the end of June. The city says it is working with Gourmet Services to determine who is responsible for some of the repairs needed.

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