TOMS RIVER – Township officials said they closed down another hotel, this time because it was uninhabitable, and the people living there had to find other places to stay.
The Parkway Motel, formerly the Americana, was closed indefinitely and will only re-open if considerable repairs are made. It was closed after inspectors visited the property located at 925 Route 166.
“We had an annual fire inspection,” business administrator Don Guardian said. Inspectors found parts of the ceiling missing, mold, electrical hazards, and trash littering the property. They returned with code enforcement. The property was deemed unlivable.
Unfortunately, there were 18 people living there at the time. Four were able to go to family members in the area. Others were able to find alternate locations. Two pets, a cat and a dog, were put up at the township’s shelter until their owners were able to find a place to go.
Most of the residents were working, but can’t afford a more permanent place to live on minimum wage jobs, Guardian said. And while paying $250 a week rent to the hotel, they were not able to save up enough money to afford an apartment, since apartments generally want two months rent and a security deposit up front.
Recently, the town had also shut down the Red Carpet Inn in the downtown area and the Pine Rest Motel on Route 37. The Pine Rest had a similar situation, in which electricity was shut down and the hotel and cabins on the property were deemed uninhabitable.
All three of them had a history of police showing up for various reasons. When the Red Carpet was shut down, several people there were charged with drug possession and distribution.
Councilman Terrance Turnbach said that as far back as 1999 he had seen cases of criminal activity at the Parkway Motel, such as violence and overdoses, while he worked for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
However, the current residents were not arrested for anything when the motel was shut down.