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City imposes fines on owners of closed Columbus water park

The owners of former Columbus water park, Fort Rapids, face daily fines after failing to maintain compliance with city and state codes.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The city of Columbus has decided to take legal action against owners of a property that once housed Fort Rapids Indoor Water Park & Resort.

The former hotel and indoor water park in east Columbus was shuttered in 2016 due to health, safety and fire code violations.

RELATED: Documents show water at Fort Rapids caused health problems among guests

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced Wednesday that the city has “secured an agreed judgement entry order” in Franklin County Municipal Court’s Environmental Division that will impose daily fines in the amount of $1,000 a day on owners of the Fort Rapids property.

“Compliance with health, safety and fire codes isn’t optional, it’s essential to protect public safety—regardless of whether the property you own is in use to the general public,” said Klein. “I am grateful for the persistent work of City Code Enforcement and Fire Prevention Bureau personnel who have helped us build this case to hold property owners accountable for the dangerous and deteriorating conditions at this site.”

The current owners bought the property in 2017 after the water park was shuttered, but never reopened the business.

Starting in 2019, officials from Code Enforcement documented violations of city safety code. Six other inspections conducted by code and fire personnel followed which found that the property was violating several codes. 

The violations that officials found on the property include alarm systems that were not working, abandoned vehicles, overgrown grass and weeds, damage to the face of the building and unsecure doors and windows, according to the Columbus City Attorney’s office.

Owners of the property failed to bring the former water park property to compliance which subsequently declared the property a public nuisance in August 2021. The owners will face the $1,000 fine every day until the property is brought into compliance and the violations are resolved.

When it was open, Fort Rapids, located just off Interstate 70 on Hilton Corporate Drive, had a history with violations and issues which caused many health problems among guests forcing its closure six years ago.

From 2015 and early 2016, guests at the water park complained about getting sick with complaints ranging from asthma attacks and bronchitis to vomiting. 

RELATED: Fort Rapids Voluntarily Shuts Down For Health & Safety Violations

Some of the past problems included:

  • Columbus Public Health had notified Koo Seafood Buffet and Grill of a proposal to revoke their food service license on January 27. The proposal was set forward after receiving 75 violations, 49 of which were critical, in a one year span (Jan. 2015 – Jan. 2016). Those violations includes employees not washing their hands and cans of cockroach spray being stored at the waitress station near the buffet. – Click here to read the full report
  • A letter from Columbus Public Health to Fort Rapids in December 2015 outlined several issues with the resort. Among them includes air quality in the water park and complaints about bed bugs and roaches in the hotel. – Click here to read the letter
  • A report from Columbus Public Health in July 2015 shows the results of several illnesses related to chlorine vapors in the water park. The park was advised to keep indoor temperatures 2-5 degrees higher than the water temperature. – Click here to read the full report   

10TV reached out to the owners' attorneys for comment but has yet to hear back.

RELATED: Map shows drug houses, other nuisance properties shut down by the city of Columbus since 2019

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