PETERSBURG, Va. -- A hulking, deteriorating hotel stands at the gateway to Petersburg City, easily seen whether headed north or southbound along Interstate 95. Everyone agrees the old building doesn’t do much to help the image of the city, especially amid Petersburg’s financial crisis.
"If I was driving down the Interstate and they publicized downtown Petersburg and I saw this building at the exit, I would not come downtown at all,” said Lori Karr, who owns a business nearby. "It looks really bad -- and looks are just one of the problems.”
The city doesn't want police, firefighters or other employees inside the building without protective gear but regardless, people are getting in and leaving their mark.
"I come off that exit coming into work, almost every day and over the last, I guess maybe six months, six to 12 months, you can tell there's been some graffiti work on the building,” said Danielle Fitz-Hugh, Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.
"It started just on the roof, now it's going on down the windows, in each room, kinda like,” said Glenn Moore, who also owns a business nearby.
Last year the city was given a $600,000 check to help the developer revitalize the property. The developer reportedly plans to close on buying the property within 60 - 90 days and begin construction.
About three weeks ago several city officials attempted to gain access to an outside stairwell which they hoped could get them to the roof. They wanted to send a crew to paint over the graffiti, but a wooden platform was so severely deteriorated that they said it wasn’t safe to try.