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Future of Bel-Aire Motel Uncertain

Updated: Monday, June 9 2014, 10:16 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD -- Some Springfield city leaders want to see the troubled Bel-Aire Motel in Springfield condemned and torn down; but it's up for sale.

Cockroaches and mold are a couple of the issues Deanna Ishizaki says she has with the room she rents for $500 a month at the Bel-Aire Motel.

"It was an emergency. We had no where else to go," she says of how she ended up at the troubled motel.

Now Deanna is worried she again may have no where to go if the Bel-Aire sells and is no longer a rental property.

The owner of the Bel-Aire, who lives in Florida, tells ABC News Channel 20 he's selling it because of health problems. He adds he thinks the city has unfairly targeted the motel after slapping it with more than 700 code violations.

"I have done everything they are asking... we cannot spend outrageous amounts of money on the property," said Gopal Motwani, who has owned Bel-Aire for about 25 years.

The area where it's located on Sixth Street is not in a TIF district; therefore ineligible to receive funding from the city to revitalize it. Although, city leaders say they're willing to work with potential buyers.

"If we had a developer who was interested and who could put together a redevelopment plan, then it is a real possibility to access some federal block grant money," said Bill McCarty, budget director for the city of Springfield.

The asking price is $750,000 plus city fines for code violations; which stand at $114,000 right now.

Jim Cochran lives a couple of blocks away from the Bel-Aire and is hoping for a visitor center in the well-traveled location.

"I'm hoping it sells real quick. I hope somebody comes up with the money and does something really nice with it," Cochran said.

In the meantime, maintenance worker Ralph Hammers continues to make repairs to get a vacant room that's filled with mold ready to rent again, because there's a waiting list.

"People are lobbying to close the place but what are we gong to do about the people who have no where to go," Hammers said.

If the city wanted to establish a TIF, or tax increment finance, district in that area on Sixth Street, it's a lengthy process. Establishing a TIF district requires several studies and ultimately city council approval. However, there aren't any plans right now to do that.

Future of Bel-Aire Motel Uncertain


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