Residents at Risk of Losing Motel Home

Published 04/12 2012 05:00PM

Updated 04/12 2012 06:21PM

SPRINGFIELD -- People who live at the Bel-Aire Motel are in danger of losing the only place they call home. The City Council wants the owner to pay up for building code fines or aldermen say they'll shut it down.
    Now, residents are hoping for a miracle. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley has the story.
    "Everybody wants to put the place down, but nobody wants to help out."
    Mike Strongman has lived at Bel-Aire Motel for more than 20-years.
    "I don't mind it at all I think people out there in the world charge so much rent for a little bitty place, it's just outrageous."
    City Council says the motel is breaking hundreds of building code violations. So, we took a look ourselves. Here's what it looks like inside. A simple one-bedroom residents say is perfectly fine.
    "It ain't the greatest place in the world but it ain't bad."
    Strongman and dozens of others pay $400/month to stay here. They say it's the only place they can afford.
    "Let's say this place closed down tomorrow, where would you go?"
    "I think I'd have to move in with a friend. I'd have a hard time finding a place to move into."
    Owner Gopal Motwani is putting in new carpet and replacing some old, cracked doors. But, for aldermen, it's too little too late. If the fines aren't paid, the city will take over.
    "There's no way to pay for it. There's no way."
    We're told if it shuts down, the space could be turned into a museum. And, a lot of these people won't have anywhere to turn but the streets.
    "It's eating everybody alive but nobody's gonna do anything about it."
    The owner has one month to pay $141,000 in fines.

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