Health Department to Crowne Plaza: Shape Up or Lose Licenses

By Justin Foss, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS - The Linn County Health Department issued an ultimatum to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. This week inspectors found some troubling violations in the building.

The health department has inspected the restaurant and hotel several times since the new owners took over last summer.

Kronos Hotels, which owns the Cedar Rapids Crowne Plaza, has ten days as of Tuesday to get a fix-it plan together or public health workers say the Crowne Plaza might not be able to keep their liquor and food licenses.

Every time a business changes ownership the health department inspects the property. The Health Department found multiple violations when it first inspected the Crowne Plaza in July of 2007.

According to the inspection reports, the new hotel owners inherited many critical violations with the property.

"After 30 plus years a building starts to show some wear and tear and if the regular maintenance hasn't been kept up there could be some significant expenditures that come into play, and that seems to be happening here,' said Dustin Hinrichs with Linn County Public Health.

Public health workers say they told the new owners to fix the roof and kitchen floor last summer and set a deadline for November. Inspectors say the work still hasn't been done after a second deadline passed in January.

"Shocking isn't the word I would use, but we were a little bit let down that they hadn't come forward with the different items we had given them to comply with," said Hinrichs.

Wile the violations are considered non-critical, this week public health said they need to see some progress on a fix.

"We thought it was enough time and we still believe it probably was enough time. We're willing to continue working with them, but we need to see some progress fairly shortly if we're not going to take any reciprocating action," said Hinrichs.

Hinrichs says people staying at the hotel aren't in any danger.

However, on Tuesday they told the hotel they had ten days to create a fix it plan, or risk losing their food service and liquor license.

Attorney's for Kronos Hotels said they couldn't comment specifically on the recent violations, but did tell TV9 the company is committed to improving and renovating the Crowne Plaza.

The manager of the U.S. Cellular Center, which is connected to the hotel says he is seeing some of the renovating.

"I've seen that they're working on the beds, they got all news beds this week so we're seeing more progress forward, is the most positive thing," said Scott Schoenike.

Linn County Public Health says they just hope that progress includes the roof and the kitchen floor.

Email Justin Foss at Justin.Foss@kcrg.com
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