SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The owner of the Hotel of Terror is calling on the community for help in preventing the city from gaining legal authority over the property and keeping the attraction in business.

Today marks the first opportunity Springfield residents have had to sign a petition that could get the issue on the ballot in August.

After years of back and forth with the City of Springfield, Sterling Mathis, the owner of the Hotel of Terror, says he has to save his business.

“I don’t mind moving, but I would love to stay here. You know, it’s a turnkey operation. I’ve been doing it for 45 years,” said Mathis. “But the dollars that they’re talking, there’s no way to do that at that price.”

Mathis said the most recent offer from the city of $500,000 isn’t enough to move and stay open.

Now he’s looking into doing a referendum and has asked the community to show support by coming out and signing a petition that will hopefully keep the haunted house’s doors open.

The city has deemed the building eminent domain and wants to tear the building down to expand a creek nearby.

“We do have historic flooding through the Jordan Valley. So the whole point of the project is to help reduce flooding, protect properties through there, and reduce the impacts of the public,” said Kristen Milam with the City of Springfield. “The referendum process has not been used for eminent domain situations in Springfield. So we are aware that he is moving forward with that avenue.”

Mathis says that he hopes to stay open, as the building is part of the Springfield community.

“The community has really stood behind us and we appreciate it,” Mathis said.

Mathis will be holding another petition event on March 14 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel of Terror.