Motel ordinance helping crack down on problem properties in Blue Springs, city says

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Last summer, FOX4 told you about problems with an extended stay motel in Blue Springs.

Some people living there say it’s still not safe despite attempts to crack down on issues at such properties citywide.

At one time, the Welcome Inn had nearly 20 times the number of calls for police service when compared to two neighboring hotels. Despite some lingering concerns, the city says there is major improvement happening, in part thanks to a new ordinance.

The Welcome Inn is trying to change its image. In 2018, FOX4 showed you piles of garbage littering the property and filling the swimming pool. The pool is now closed and filled with concrete.

But Brian Franklin said some of the problems persist.

“Drug activity, dirty diapers on the property, kids running around in the parking lot, bed bugs,” he said.

Franklin and his wife have been staying at the Welcome Inn near Interstate 70 and Woods Chapel since March.

He said their sink broke, and it took weeks to fix. Then the toilet clogged and quit working. When a plumber finally came a month later, they were billed $90 for the repair.

“I just feel like I’m stuck,” Franklin said.

Their air conditioner also quit working almost six weeks ago. Brian had to buy a fan to keep the room under 80 degrees.

“They said it’s not really priority and that they’re trying to take care of the situations from the health department first, but they have not done anything that I can see,” Franklin said.

The Jackson County Environmental Health Division has investigated dozens of complaints at the motel.

Right now, there’s loose electrical and busted lighting. Support beams are cracked and rotting. Those are issues the county’s working with property management to get fixed.

But it’s not soon enough for Franklin, who said his complaints are now getting him and his wife kicked out.

“I’m being asked to vacate the property by the manager, and I have til Friday at 11 o’clock and I don’t have all my I’s dotted or T’s crossed on finding another place,” he said.

The city said while the property isn’t perfect, it’s a far cry from where it was a year ago.

Last July, a new ordinance was implemented to crack down on motel issues. When it started, the Welcome Inn was considered “tier three,” the worst offender class, facing fines and the threat of having its business license revoked.

“The message pretty much got out of, ‘Hey. You know we’re doing to do something about this.’ And the same with the ownership of the hotels and motels,” said Sgt. Joe Fanara with the Blue Springs Police Department’s crime prevention unit. “They’re looking at it saying, ‘We don’t want to be a nuisance to the city. We want to be actively involved in making it a good place for people to come and stay.'”

The Welcome Inn is now a “tier one” business, which is the lowest category, indicating very few police calls.

Residents now just hope the motel takes their concerns more seriously to keep the positive changes going.

FOX4 did talk with the Welcome Inn’s owner. He declined an interview, but said the business has a much better relationship with the city and county now and that his motel is striving to keep things on the “up and up.”

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