PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – For years, Alisa Griffin has wondered when will it end? She lives across the street from the Travel Inn, in New Port Richey, a spot that’s known for criminal activity in the area.
“We’ve had to come out several times to ask people to not do what they are doing … Because it’s blatantly right there in the road,” Griffin said. “They’ll pull up to this gate. We’d have our grandkids outside.”
8 On Your Side was first alerted to issues at the motel last month when long time resident Kimberly Goodwin contacted us.
The day after our story highlighted numerous issues with the building, representatives with the fire department, police department, and code enforcement descended on the property. Goodwin and her children were relocated along with other residents who needed help.
“I didnt’ think this would happen this quickly. It’s because of Channel 8 that we were able to get out of this place and get to a better place,” said Goodson in a September interview. “Solely due to Channel 8. They shed the light on the problem and the city and the police came right in.”
While the residents were in a better place, people who live and work in the area still wondered what was going to happen to the motel now. Would the owner put a fresh coat of paint on the outside and reopen? Griffin learned the answer to that question last week when she heard the heavy equipment move in.
“I was like, yah! The bulldozer guy, he was like thumbs up,” said Griffin. “I was like way to go! “
Tracy Daudy works at the Mobil convenience store next to where the motel used to be. She says if it was still here, she would have second thoughts about working in the area at night.
“I wouldn’t have taken this job if that motel wouldn’t have gotten torn down,” said Daudy. “If it was still here I probably wouldn’t work here nights. I close nights now. “
Dineshbhai Patel is the owner of the property. Our attempts to reach him to ask about the future of the property were not successful. Calls went to voicemail, and the voice mailbox is not accepting messages.
Griffin is just hopeful that with the motel gone, there will be a rebirth in her neighborhood.
“Just because we live a block off of US 19 doesn’t mean we live in a bad area. I mean, we’re off the river. This is, every one of these neighbors is awesome,” said Griffin. “We don’t deserve that (pointing at the motel property). New Port Richey doesn’t deserve this.. “