EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – On Facebook, the East Liverpool Police Department has jokingly named itself the city’s “Vacationer Welcoming Committee.”
Much of that is because of the amount of arrests they’re making on out-of-towners — and part of it is how often they’ve made arrests at the Vista Motel in East Liverpool.
The Vista Motel — located on Edwards Street just a short walk from the Ohio River — has been called a nuisance in the past by police and the people who live next to it. Now, new owners are trying to turn it around and get the crime out.
Lately, it’s been infested by the drug epidemic, with raids and arrests happening almost weekly there.
“10:30 last night I was watching a drug deal happen on my phone at home,” Brian Allen, City Service-Safety Director, said.
Police have access to security cameras mounted throughout the building.
It’s part of the new owners of the motel — Danielle Russo and her husband — plan to shape the place up. But it’s proven to be a tough project.
“We sat down with the guys that we bought it from this past week,” Russo said. “And they gave us an option to not do it at all or keep moving forward and doing what we can to make it better. We decided to keep going.”
On the outside, the motel looks out of date. But in the six months the Russo’s have owned it, they’ve already put $10,000 into the indoor renovations.
Russo and her husband, who live in Cleveland, have been meeting with city leaders to figure out what kind of new management the motel needs.
She says the management before was hired by old owners, and some of the staff took part in the crime.
“We will do a lot of drug testing,” Russo said. “Random drug testing.”
There will be stricter requirements to stay there, too, such as two copies of ID and valid credit cards. Noise ordinances and “visiting hours” from non-paying guests will also be enforced.
“My husband’s been down here more, I’ve been down here more,” Russo said. “We’re just going to get the ball rolling and start our renovations and new policies.”
Russo says they’re also planning on renaming the motel.
She says she’s been posting in local East Liverpool Facebook pages, getting the community involved in renaming it and getting people excited for the changes.