Route 66 News

Bel-Aire Motel slapped with more code violations

The city of Springfield, Illinois, reported more than 700 building-code violations for the troubled Bel-Aire Motel along Route 66, reported the State Journal-Register.

That’s on top of the $114,000 in fines levied last year against the Florida-based landlord for nearly 400 code violations. Owner Gopal Motwani is challenging those fines in court.

The violations range include unsanitary bathrooms, soiled carpet, potholes and lack of working smoke detectors. A photo by the newspaper showed evidence of black mold — a potential health hazard — in one of the bathrooms.

As recently as 2012, Springfield was negotiating to buy the motel and adapt it into a Route 66 museum and visitors center. The motel’s retro neon sign, including a Sputnik structure, would make it a beacon for Route 66 travelers if the motel were so converted.

But later that year, the motel was quietly withdrawn as a possible site — mainly because the city didn’t have the money.

The city probably can condemn and seize the property for being a chronic nuisance. The city of Albuquerque seized the historic El Vado Motel for similar — but much less egregious — reasons. Whether Springfield will is another matter.

(Image of the Bel-Aire Motel by straightedge217 via Flickr)


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