Grove City will soon rid itself of a hotel that was once the site of drug trafficking and prostitution.

Grove City will soon rid itself of a hotel that was once the site of drug trafficking and prostitution.

Fu Ih Chu, owner of the Value Inn Hotel in Grove City, has until May 1 to either sell the property or demolish the structures on site before the city can demolish the contents itself.

The decision for The Value Inn Hotel, 4200 Gantz Road, was made by an agreed entry through the Franklin County Municipal Court, Environmental Division.

“This was an agreement amongst all the parties,” according to city attorney Stephen Smith, who added that the city did not force the agreement upon the owner.

It was in the city’s best interest to get the situation resolved, Smith said. “It has been outstanding for a while,” he said.

The Jackson Township Board of Trustees and the Jackson Township Fire Department filed a complaint against the Value Inn on Jan. 7, 2007. Grove City filed complaint on Jan. 12, 2007. The two parties combined their cases.

A temporary injunction was filed on Jan. 17, 2007. The hotel has been closed since then.

On Sept. 23, 2008, following a trial, the court issued a permanent injunction and declared the property a public nuisance.

After May 1, the city can demolish any structures on the property. Any costs the city incurs can be put as a lien on the property. Ultimately, when Chu sells the property, he will pay off the lien.

While the city would recover its costs, Smith said the city would also take any steps it could to reduce the cost of possible demolition. For example, the city can reduce costs through the bidding process by taking into account things that can be recycled.

The city had issues with the hotel’s substandard maintenance and repairs, said city chief building official Mike Boso.

In accordance with an ordinance passed in December 2005, the Franklin County Board of Health inspects hotels and motels twice a year, Boso said. The board of health had sanitary issues with the Value Inn regarding bedding and mattresses.

The Grove City Police Department also had numerous calls to the hotel for criminal activity, Boso said.

The property owner petitioned multiple times to reopen the hotel, but the court denied each petition, Boso said.

The city has been patient since 2007, Boso said. “It’s a reflection back on the city when you have properties like this,” he said.

The police department has responded to a number of problems at the Value Inn relating to drug trafficking and prostitution, said Grove City Police Chief Steve Robinette. Many times, hotel management wasn’t calling the police when there were problems at the hotel, he said.

Police also had evidence that sex offenders were staying at the hotel longer than 30 days — by city ordinance the maximum amount of time you can spend in a hotel in the city.

While they still check the hotel occasionally, the number of calls to the Value Inn has dropped dramatically since it closed, Robinette said. Still, an abandoned building is an “attractive nuisance,” inviting scavengers, curious kids and the homeless.

“The further it decays the more of a hazard it becomes,” he said.

Joseph Piccin, attorney for the Chu and Value Inn, Inc., said he and his client decline to comment.