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Hazardous stairs causing worry for central Omaha motel stayers

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 10:28 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A 6 News investigation has located startling hazards at one central Omaha motel.

Near 70th and Dodge streets sits Sonesta - a popular motel for an extended stay.

But guests might not notice the hazards until after they check-in.

6 News discovered loose and rotten railings protecting stairs and second-floor landings on three units. Some of them need to be completely replaced.

The Chief Engineer of the property, Phil, only gave his first name but admits he’s been busy repairing stairs on several motel units.

“Just trying to keep up on them and keep them safe the best we can,” Phil said. “Some of them are so rotted out it’s beyond repair.”

Many guests don’t stay at Sonesta for extended vacations. The motel is close to Nebraska Medicine, Methodist, and Children’s Hospital where loved ones may be receiving treatment.

“We’ve enjoyed staying here, they’ve been really good in the office to us,” said Dennis Tenopir, a Sonesta guest.

Dennis is a carpenter near Lincoln.

“We’ve seen guys working around here and nothing has affected our stay here,” said Tenopir.

The city of Omaha already issued a violation notice for a sinking sidewalk but Sonesta ownership said it will go beyond the city’s request and repair all stairwells and decking.

However, the project has been delayed by the nationwide shortage of materials and supplies.

As medical supplies were delivered to one unit, Phil performed his own form of maintenance triage.

“If a guest reports it we look at it immediately and we try to fix it the best we can,” said Phil, the Chief maintenance Engineer.

He wanted guests, and their guests, to come and go safely while avoiding a trip that may extend their stay.

Sonesta, a Massachusetts company, said a local contractor has been hired to repair the stairs and decks. The project is expected to start within three weeks and will take approximately 60 days to complete.

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