A north Columbus block watch group is celebrating a neighborhood victory after a judge ordered a hotel boarded up for an entire year. Prosecutors say that hotel - the Red Carpet Inn on Dublin Granville Road - was infested with drug abuse and prostitution.
Talisia Bailey's quiet neighborhood street backs up to the now-boarded up Red Carpet Inn. Bailey says there was so much drug use and prostitution around the Inn that she wouldn’t even allow her son to walk outside.
A judge ordered the building boarded up until May 2015 after police investigated a shooting, a kidnapping and arrested at least ten women for prostitution at the Inn.
Prosecutors say drug abuse and prostitution at the hotel plagued neighbors. In fact, they say prostitutes would often solicit customers in a restaurant next door. They were even sometimes caught with johns in a public restroom.
Pat Wood heads up the Sharon Woods Block Watch Association. Her group is working closely with the Northland Area Business Association to help police either clean up or shut down hotels on the 161 corridor. "They're getting the message. Now that we've closed down two - they're starting to pay attention,” says Woods.
The Red Carpet Inn is the second hotel in the neighborhood to close its doors. The courts already boarded up the nearby Columbus Inn and Suites. Prosecutors tell 10TV they're not treading lightly and caution other hotel owners that if they don’t clean up, their hotel could be next.
In the meantime, neighbors say they plan to keep pushing back. “We're not going to take it. As long as I'm alive, I'm gonna fight,” warns Bailey.
And it's making a difference for people like Talesia, who can finally play outdoors with her son without worry. “I think the message is, we're taking our community back.”