Blue Springs residents demand action on sketchy hotel

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- A handful of extended stay hotels in Blue Springs are creating a call to action for residents. A Facebook post showing photos of trash piles and severely neglected maintenance at the Welcome Inn off I-70 are also getting attention at city hall.

Despite its name, one Blue Springs motel doesn't exactly roll out the welcome mat. Piles of trash are everywhere, including a swimming pool that looks more like a dumpster.

"We've been here since 2008 and since then it's been a growing problem with what's going on at the hotel. Drugs, prostitution, theft. It's one of the first places police come when they're looking for stolen items," said Jeff Siems, president of Blue Springs Marine, which sits next door to the Welcome Inn.

To give you an idea of just how bad the problem is, there are three hotels all together on the same stretch of the interstate. In the past two months at La Quinta, there have been just 13 calls for police service, and about 30 calls at Motel 6 next door. But at Welcome Inn, police have been called almost 200 times.

Jeff Siems says at his business, they've expanded security measures to keep property safe and stop crime from spilling over.

"We've been able to put up fencing that's really helped deter a lot of the problems. We have a very sophisticated camera system that calls the police every time sometime someone steps on our property after hours," said Siems.

The city knows it's an issue.  That's why police have been stepping up enforcement. This week, the codes department issued four violations to Welcome Inn. The Jackson County Department of Environmental Health has also been involved with inspections at the property.

"A lot of times what happens is the property owner will address the problem and it'll be fine, then it'll come back. So it appears like it's never taken care of, but that repeats the process and it starts all over again," said Bob Muenz, Blue Springs Police Chief.

So the city's now considering a new measure aimed at holding property owners more accountable. It's modeled after an ordinance in Branson and would create a "tier structure" for motels based on police calls for service and the number of rooms the property has. Motels could improve their tier status by making specific improvements.

"If you can address and lower your calls for service, by addressing those problems, then we're not on your case anymore and we like that," said Chief Muenz.

While the goal is to get compliance, if a property won't make fixes, its business license could be suspended or revoked.

The Blue Springs city council is expected to vote on the new proposed ordinance soon.

Meanwhile, the owner of Welcome Inn reached FOX4 by phone. He apologized for things getting bad at the property, and claims he'll make every effort to clean things up. He also said the motel recently added a night security guard, has created a "do not rent" list aimed at keeping troublemakers out, and may eventually seal its swimming pool up so trash can't be dumped there.

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