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Orange Park hotel shuttered by court faces hurdles to reopen

Judge ordered Parkway Inn to close

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ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The court order closing the Parkway Inn expires Saturday, but the owners of the trouble hotel were notified that that they must meet several building and fire codes and pay $76,000 in back bills and fees before it can reopen.

Last December, the town of Orange Park's Nuisance and Abatement Board voted to close the Rodeway Inn, located on U.S. 17 just south of Interstate 295, because of ongoing crime issues. The board determined the hotel had not done enough to fix the crime problem after both sides previously agreed on a plan to improve the hotel.

In June, Circuit Judge Michael Sharrit signed the hotel to close the hotel which has since changed its name to the Parkway Inn, since the town did not have legal authority to shut it down without approval from a judge. 

In his ruling, Sharrit ordered the Jax Inns Inc. operating as Rodeway Inn at 300 Park Ave., closed effective July 1 and continuing through Dec. 31.

The hotel has been a hot spot for crime in Orange Park for years. Things got so bad in September 2015 that the hotel agreed to a plan to stop crime in the hotel by doing things like implementing security and getting identification for all guests, so that information would be readily available to law enforcement officers.

The Orange Park Fire Department notified the owners earlier this month that areas of the property do not meet Florida Fire Prevention Code and must be brought into compliance and pass an inspection before the building can be occupied. Among the specific items noted were rusty gas lines in the laundry room that need to be replaced, leaking sewer and water lines, non-functioning smoke detectors and missing electrical outlet covers.