Checkout time came early for dozens of people at a north Columbus hotel Wednesday morning.
Police shut down the Columbus Inn and Suites on Zumstein Drive after calling it a public nuisance, rampant with drugs and prostitution.
Dozens of people, including children and families, were forced onto the streets.
The Columbus City Attorney’s Office said that they were safer on the streets than inside of the hotel, which is located off of East Dublin Granville Road.
Amy Thompson said her family has been staying at the hotel since the beginning of the month. She said she has seen it all.
“I have four children, two of them very small,” she said. “They’ve been sick since we moved in here. We are actually figuring out what we were going to do. We didn’t think we were going to be able to stay.”
Thompson said that her room was infested with mice, and the hotel was littered with trash and smoke.
The Columbus City Attorney’s Office said that drug deals and prostitution happen every day.
“There were several cars in the parking lot that I pointed out to my 12 year old and said, ‘You don’t talk to them. You don’t go near there,’” Thompson said. “They were sitting there obviously doing drugs.”
An environmental court judge ruled that bed bugs, roaches and mold investigators discovered there presented a danger to the public and ordered the building boarded up until a hearing in two weeks.
Columbus police on the scene said that dozens were forced out, carrying everything they own.
The YMCA family shelter and Maryhaven were providing temporary housing, and COTA was providing air-conditioned buses.
Thompson said she and her family paid in advance for their month’s stay.
“It’s a little daunting,” she said. “It kind of puts it all in perspective.”
Now, the family is out cash and a place to stay.
At the hearing scheduled for June 26, if a judge rules the hotel is a nuisance, it will remain closed for 12 months.
The City Attorney’s Office says that during that time, the hotel will remain the property of its present owner.
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