Memo to Lodge: Shape up or ship out

The Gopher Campus Motor Lodge must be forced to atone for its past mistakes. When the Minneapolis City Council meets in February to decide the fate of the motel, it should stop short of revoking the motel’s license and give the motel’s management a last chance to become a respectable member of our community.
Dating back three years, there is a record of over 300 emergency 911 calls being made from the infamous motel, many involving drugs. This history has led many, including Ward 2 councilwoman Joan Campbell, to suggest that the motel’s license to do business should be revoked. Others have suggested the motel’s license to do business be suspended for a two-month period. Alternatively, a Minneapolis City Council panel has suggested that the suspension be put on hold pending the fulfillment of several conditions by the ownership. Allowing the lodge to stay open, but forcing it to reform its ways, is the most reasonable solution to this problem.
In order to fend off revocation, or suspension, the City Council panel suggested that the motel be forced to hire off duty police officers at least five days a week, in addition to being required to pay a $20,000 fine in lieu of suspension. Considering the costs associated with the hundreds of police calls, the fine is reasonable. Having the police officers on site would act as more of a preventative measure. Potential crooks might think twice when they see a policeman monitoring the location.
Recent statistics show that the crime level has dropped at the motor lodge — in November and December the location registered only two emergency calls. These numbers demonstrate an encouraging trend. But two months of relative peace do not a glistening record make. Given the solid pattern of trouble emanating from this location, the pressure needs to be kept on the motel to shape up.
Some in the University community would like to see the motel lose its license for good. However, a permanent revocation would not be good for the neighborhood. The property would likely sit vacant, with its reputation tarnished, and property value certainly depressed. There is no guarantee another firm would either be eager to step in and re-open the motel or demolish it and build something new. Revoking the motel’s license would be a recipe for more urban blight.
Instead, by forcing the ownership to take responsibility for the motel, a motivated corporate citizen would be created. Having fought hard to keep its license and to keep undesirables out, the motel would be emboldened to keep its nose clean. The Gopher Campus Motor Lodge would be on the brink of being closed. Should the motel once again become a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the city would have ample reason to shut the place down.
Many times those organizations that prove the most valuable are the ones that have faced adversity and overcome it. The Gopher Campus Motor Lodge should be given another chance to prove it belongs in our neighborhood. If the city’s faith is violated again, throw them out. For now, let’s try to make the motor lodge something of which the neighborhood can be proud.