Mayor Sam Parham, who did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, called the old hotel “a bad look” for Petersburg at a press conference in late April. Earlier this month, city council voted to declare the old hotel a run down property and a public nuisance.
“At this point we are all here concerned for the welfare and safety of all of our citizens and we are not going to sit down and let anything happen, waiting for Mr. Harrison for another three or four. years to move forward on construction, âParham said in April.
Between the “negative press conferences”, the city’s dismal unemployment rate and its financial past, Harrison said, it is difficult to secure funding for the project, contractors and leading hotel chains.
âThe City of Petersburg has described me as a guy who’s a deadbeat and won’t pay,â said Harrison, who bought the property for $ 750,000.
In January, a meeting was scheduled between Harrison and city officials, before the city canceled it, he said. Instead of rescheduling, the city filed legal complaints and held press conferences. Williams, the town’s attorney, declined to comment on the January meeting.
Construction was ready to begin on the old hotel site in September 2018, Harrison said. With the funding in place, construction came to a halt after the state took over the approved loan for the tourist area because Petersburg shut down its tourism department, Harrison said.