AUSTIN -- What was once a path to the Colorado River in East Austin is now off limits. On Friday morning City of Austin inspectors deemed it unsafe.
East Side Tubes' owner, Dan Walker, says those stairs are the heart of his business, and cutting off customer access to the river effectively shuts him down.
“They beat around the bush and didn't shut us down with the building or the lights, but the public river access everybody uses to get to the water - the state water,” said Walker.
When East Side Tube’s opened thousands of people came flocking in. Now the building is full of tubes but void of people since tubers can’t get down to the shoreline.
City inspectors noticed the path when they were responding to nearby homeowners' complaints.
“We received a complaint about a property that is operating without a certificate of occupancy,” said code enforcement inspector Robert Alvarado.
Walker has been working with the city for the past month to get a certificate of occupancy, but he says the trail isn't part of his property, and there's been confusion over who is in charge of the stairs.
“This trail was here before we got here. We added some rope and things like that for the kids, but we never went through a permit process because it's state land. It's public land,” Walker said.
Alvarado tells KVUE News if Walker hires an engineer and comes up with a plan to fix the stairs they will take down the caution tape.
“Once he goes through the site plan process and gets approved, we have no problem," the city inspector said.
The city inspector did admit there's a chance they could decide the trail belongs to the state. And that would delay the process since state officials would need to decide what to do with the stairway.
For now, however, Walker has hired an engineer and hopes to fix the stairs as soon as possible.