SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Sterling Mathis is up against time, again.

The longtime owner of Hotel of Terror thought he had what he needed to put the eminent domain status of his property to a citywide vote, but that’s changed.  

“We’re just going to give it a good try and give it all we got and try to stay here for the people because the people want us here,” Mathis said. 

In March, Mathis submitted over 2,100 signatures as the first step of a referendum process, while only needing just shy of 1,600.

He’s now racing to get more as the city has told him he needs just over 400 before April 10.

“A lot of these people are mad because they can’t sign it because they live right outside the city limits or they’re from another small town, you know, like Ozark or Willard or, you know, Nixa,” Mathis said. “They can’t sign it because they don’t live inside the city limits.”

The city voted to declare the property eminent domain after stalled talks to buy the land for the purposes of rebuilding the Main Avenue bridge, which will be part of a project to daylight Jordan Creek.

“If they want to spend $44 million down there, that’s fine If that’s what they want to do and that’s what the park is going to cost the voters of this town,” Mathis said.

KOLR10 reached out to city officials who say the petition requires at least 10% of registered voters who took part in the April 2022 election.

The remaining signatures are due April 10 at 5 p.m.