COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The owners of an ousted Columbus water park and hotel wracked with code violations will forfeit thousands of dollars if their property isn’t cleaned up.
The City of Columbus filed a judgment Monday against the owners of the former Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort, Jizi Cui and Jeff Oh Kern, after the pair repeatedly failed to resolve code violations and dangerous conditions that have plagued the east side property since 2019, according to a news release from City Attorney Zach Klein.
Cui and Oh Kern, who bought the once-popular resort after it was shut down in 2016, will be forced to pay $1,000 every day until the property fully complies with city code, Klein said.
“Compliance with health, safety and fire codes isn’t optional, it’s essential to protect public safety—regardless of whether the property you own is in use to the general public,” Klein said.
Klein documented a number of violations at the former resort near Hamilton Road and I-70, including windows and doors that weren’t secured, overgrown grass and weeds, exterior damage, abandoned or inoperable cars on the property, and broken fire suppression and alarm systems.
The resort has also faced complaints about bed bugs, cockroaches, air quality, improper handling of food, and guests becoming ill from fumes inside the water park, according to past reporting from NBC4.
In January 2018, a water pipe burst at the resort’s 12-story hotel, causing water to pour out of the top floors of the building.
The property was declared a public nuisance in August 2021, Klein said, as its owners failed to address violations and failed to secure the proper permits required for renovations.
In addition to the daily $1,000 fines, the City ordered Cui and Oh Kern to produce a contract signifying the continuation of 24/7 security and weekly landscape maintenance at the resort’s premises.
“I am grateful for the persistent work of City Code Enforcement and Fire Prevention Bureau personnel who have helped us build this case to hold property owners accountable for the dangerous and deteriorating conditions at this site,” Klein said.
A compliance hearing for the defendants is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.