Big Business Battle

Surely everyone has seen the “MainStay Hotel – Coming Soon” sign if traveling  in and out of Grambling from Interstate 20, and wondered “how soon is soon?”
The answer to that question is up in the air.
“The city doesn’t have anything to do with that project,” said Edward Jones, mayor of Grambling. “We can’t use the community’s money to fund a private project.”
“We want MainStay here, — who wouldn’t want MainStay here? But the city just can’t fund it.”
One of the major problems for the hotel is funding.  
Ernest Johnson, president of the Louisiana NAACP  and Grambling alumnus, is behind the effort to bring MainStay to Grambling.
But, according to the mayor, Johnson is looking for the city to help fund the building of this hotel. The problem with that, Jones said, is that  money cannot be taken from the city to help build a private project.
Jones said no profit would be received from the project, and it’s not legal to use taxpayers money to fund it.
“Legally we can’t pay for what he’s asking us to pay for,” said the mayor.
Jules Leblanc, Johnson’s partner in the hotel venture, said he believes that something called “The Legends Project” is the reason the city won’t fund the MainStay Suites Hotel.  
“The mayor isn’t pushing the hotel because he’s focused on his own project,” said Leblanc. “What exactly is The Legends Project?”  
The project is a one the mayor has created.
Directly across from the bridge overpass on I-20 and facing the Chevron service station are nine acres of land the mayor is planning to put to commercial development use.
The city is making “tentative” plans to create a strip mall equipped with many businesses that would be useful in this area. This includes a supermarket, Dollar-Tree, Pizza-Hut and Hibbett Sports.
This project also includes the building of a Marriott Courtyard, which will offer paid internships and hotel management positions for Grambling students.
Although all these attractions are not confirmed, this is mainly what the The Legends Project is about.
 Johnson is currently suing the city of Grambling, but this doesn’t stop the mayor from supporting Johnson’s Main Stay project.
“If he brings the project to the city, we will approve it,” Jones said. “We have no problem with doing so. The city can definitely use a hotel, but we cannot fund it.”
So if you were wondering how soon is “soon” for the MainStay Hotel, you’ll have to wait until 2015 to see.
As far as The Legends Project is concerned, the mayor will be announcing the progress at 11 a.m. Oct. 16 at the building site.