Board of Works approves massage business

A foot massage business is expected to open in March, the first to be approved by the city since a 2012 ordinance was passed to regulate massage establishments.

Tian Ding, of Bloomington, received approval Tuesday from the Columbus Board of Works and Public Safety to open the Blue Bay Health Spa at 3984 25th St.

Ed Huff, who works with international students in Bloomington, spoke on Ding’s behalf during the meeting.

Huff said Ding already operates two locations of Blue Bay Foot Spa in Bloomington with five employees. The new spa in Columbus will have two employees, Huff said.

The exact hours of when the business in Columbus will be open are still being determined, Huff said.

The facility will have one shower, two tables and four foot massage stations, according to Ding’s application filed with the city.

Police Chief Jon Rohde told the board a criminal background check turned up no criminal history on Ding. The investigation was performed to ensure no discrepancies existed with Ding’s application to the city, Rohde said.

Any additional employees who are hired at the business also will have to undergo background checks and will be required to submit an application that will need to be approved by the city’s board of works, Rohde said.

City Attorney Alan Whitted said the ordinance that was approved in 2012 was in response to an investigation and subsequent charges filed about allegations that there was sexual activity taking place at two massage businesses in Columbus nearly five years ago.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office reached settlements in civil lawsuits with four defendants who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax-evasion charges in March 2013 in Bartholomew County after being arrested in spring 2012, accused of running spas that provided customers with sexual favors for a price.

Whitted said the city’s code enforcement department will work to ensure Ding’s business meets the criteria under the ordinance before it is allowed to open.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com