Community leaders were predictably pleased by last week's announcement that yet another problem-plagued motel in the Northland area was being shut down at the behest of city officials with a goal of having it declared a public nuisance.
A temporary restraining order was issued June 24 by Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Daniel R. Hawkins, and the Super 8 at 1078 E. Dublin-Granville Road was closed down, its guests evacuated, the following morning.
A hearing on a permanent injunction was scheduled for July 2, after ThisWeek's press time.
"If I'm a business owner up there and I own a motel and I've witnessed what's happened ... I better be running my business at the highest level of appropriateness," Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy said. "I'd be darned worried that the focus now might turn to my business.
"Obviously, no one wants boarded-up buildings in their community ... but if it's a magnet for drugs and crime and prostitution, I'll take a boarded-up building over that any day," he added. "I think it sends a really strong message to anyone who's left."
Northland Area Business Association President Dave Cooper called the action requested by the office of City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. "another positive step."
"It's just another one of those things that was a hotbed for human trafficking and for prostitution and for illegal drugs," Cooper said. "We concur with the action they took and hope that any of the other hotels that received letters will pay attention to what's going on and do everything in their power to try to curb any illegal activity in their establishment."
Dave Paul, chairman of the NCC's development committee, said the latest legal action "should be a wake-up call to the operators of other motels there, some others who may be contributing to the crime level, that they really need to clean up their act."
Paul said he hopes the closing of the Super 8 and two other motels in the same vicinity earlier this year that were beset by the same issues could one day lead to redevelopment of the nearby Continent property.
"The Continent used to be sort of the gem of Northeast Columbus," he said. "It's ripe for development. Our impression is that's an important site and presents all kinds of opportunities, but none of those opportunities will come about when we have property owners not maintaining their property properly.
"This is laying the groundwork for redevelopment," Paul added. "That's the perspective I'm trying to keep on this."