OAK PARK (CBS13) – It’s been an eyesore and a central hub for crime and illegal activity for years, and now a long-standing Oak Park hotel is being forced to close.
“It’s been a blight and cancer to the neighborhood, drug dealing, prostitution,” said Councilman Eric Guerra.
Johnson’s Greenbrier motel is located on Stockton Boulevard. It shut down last week, vacating all tenants. It sits across from a church in a residential area, and has raised concerns about safety.
And now a collaborative effort is underway to bring some much needed change to this boulevard.
“Everything from narcotics to illegal firearms, to prostitution, there’s been a lot of activity here,” said Sgt. Vance Chandler.
From simply looking from the outside, Johnson’s Greenbrier motel is run down and poorly maintained. Sacramento police say the calls of service here have been draining resources for years.
“High volume of calls for service, impacting our patrol resources, all of those police officers are responding to this location,” said Sgt. Chandler.
Over the last 5 years at this location alone, police have fielded hundreds of calls: 572 from citizens and 672 police initiated calls including calls for suspicious behavior, probation searches, to crimes in progress.
“For anyone whose living in the neighborhood, they want this place to be a safe place for their kids and their family … it’s not that way now,” said Councilman Guerra.
Councilmember Guerra lives nearby.
“We’re working on making this hotel better so we can relive and revive Stockton Boulevard,” he said.
“I think abating these issues, and bringing in new leadership, will turn a new leaf. It’s a Step in the right direction,” said Fran Louie with the Stockton Boulevard Partnership.
With safety on the mind, the Stockton Boulevard Partnership, along with police and other community groups, have been monitoring this issue for months looking for solutions.
The motel was forced to shut down last week – and now a boutique hotel is expected to move in.
“I just hope that they put something in here that’s affordable to people who don’t have things,” said neighbor Johnny Hampton.
When asked about concerns over gentrification, Councilman Guerra said “When people think boutique they think high end, but it just means something different. A lot of folks want this place revived, and we’ll find a balance on what fits the neighborhood but also has quality housing, and this is not quality housing.”
The new owners of the property own a model hotel off Del Paso Boulevard that they plan on mirroring over on Stockton Boulevard. They will also not accept cash walk-ins for room reservations, only online reservations.
All tenants were forced to leave last week, but the city did offer assistance with their move through its Cash for Keys program.
As for the new hotel, it’s expected to be up by next year.