Budgetel Set to Reopen Soon While Many Former Residents Still in Limbo

EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (WDEF)- It’s been nearly six months since an East Ridge motel was shut down, evicting hundreds of occupants.

It was November 16, 2022 when residents of the Budgetel Inn were told to vacate their rooms.

This was after District Attorney Coty Wamp filed a petition for the abatement of a nuisance after she said numerous incidents there put a strain on first responders.

Now, Budgetel believes this whole saga can be put behind them.

Christopher Clem, the defense attorney for the Budgetel, said that building one of the motel is ready to be reopened to the public.

Clem said, “All of the electricity is on, all the cameras are available, going throughout the property, and the backs of the other buildings are on directed towards the parking lot.”

He says that all code violations found by the city of East Ridge have been resolved, and that the fire marshal and health inspector have given their approval for a reopening.

The motel is now waiting on a certificate of occupancy from East Ridge,

Clem said, “East Ridge has indicated to us that they do want to wait until this court gives an order opening it.”

Hamilton County Judge Boyd Patterson and the State, today represented by Deputy District Attorney Stephen Moore, say they want to do one more walkthrough before that order is granted.

Judge Patterson said, “Here’s the nutshell. I don’t have to go to this last walkthrough, but what I do want is for Budgetel to open as soon as possible if it can be done in a safe way.”

Moore says the renovations to the Budgetel have not gone without issues.

Moore said, “Someone was staying in one of the back buildings, apparently they were squatting for some period of time, but the contractors, once they noticed, contacted the East Ridge Police Department. He was arrested and prosecuted in East Ridge city court.”

He added there have been no incidents since then.

Not discussed in court are the ongoing effects to the displaced residents at the Budgetel.

According to data from the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, a significant number of households are still being impacted six months after these evictions.

They say they are paying for 141 households to stay in hotel rooms while they have gotten 69 into housing. 

56 others have resolved their situations while 17 others did not request help.

While the fallout is ongoing, Judge Patterson warned the motel against cutting corners.

Patterson said, “The General makes a good point, Mr. Clem, that how the specifics of how the cameras are set up, how the gate is used, that all should be done in a safe way and the person who runs the risk if it is not done in a safe way of course is the defendant.”

The two sides agreed to set up that walkthrough as soon as the motel as ready.

If the State has no further objections, they will revoke their temporary injunction which would allow the Budgetel to reopen.

Categories: East Ridge, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News