Fort Rapids Voluntarily Shuts Down For Health & Safety Violations

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The company’s website says Fort Rapids is closed for repairs, after owners voluntarily shut down to address multiple health and fire code violations.

The city attorney’s office said Columbus Police went to the facility Monday to inform owners they did not have a permit to operate the hotel portion of the property.

Several people walked up to closed doors Monday afternoon wanting to schedule an event, or arriving for a reservation.

"We had no idea,” John Walters said.  He thought he’d be staying the week to celebrate an important birthday with his family.  "[We had] about a 3 1/2 hour drive to come down here to Columbus to find this place completely shut down."

Walters didn’t know where to park the RV he drove from Norton, Ohio Monday night to Fort Rapids after being turned away.  "[We] had it planned for the week to be down here. Now, [I'm] disappointed [and] don't know where to go."

Walters said he made reservations a few weeks ago to stay and play at the indoor water park. He and dozens of others could be locked out for months.

"We do know that they had many challenges,” Columbus Public Health spokesman Jose Rodriguez said.  He told 10TV Fort Rapids has had issues for more than a year. He said multiple agencies have received complaints about bed bugs and cockroaches, food service and air quality in the water park.

"You can actually experience burning in your eyes, burning in your throat, trouble breathing,” Rodriguez added.

Fort Rapids has been cited 75 times in one year for health code violations. Inspection reports show 49 of them are critical and 22 are repeat critical violations.

The reports show violations like cockroach spray in the waitress station area behind the buffet and access to hand washing sinks blocked.

After a water leak caused an electrical fire Sunday morning, owners of the facility voluntarily closed its doors.

Management agency Experience Hospitality took over Fort Rapids last week because the lease with the tenant had ended.

"You know it's had a tough past, we know that, but we need to repair some of the systems in it and get some of the systems updated,” explained David Perella, part owner of Experience Hospitality.  Perella added Fort Rapids’ facilities will be closed for at least two months to make repairs and address code violations.

Walters says he doesn’t know if he’ll be back to the water park, but he’s glad he isn’t staying.  "I'm better that it happened now rather than to be inside and run into all that kind of trouble."

Walters said he had not spoken to anyone with Fort Rapids as of Monday night about rescheduling or a refund or if that’s an option.

10TV reached out to Fort Rapids and Groupon and had not received a response Monday night.


A history of issues

The Fort Rapids Indoor Water Park & Resort has had a history with violations and issues. Below is a list of those past problems:

  • 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