Walden Pond Mobile Home Park in New Port Richey is still a mess, and city leaders are being presented tonight with options for putting out to bid the demolition of condemned trailers and clean up of the property.
City staff have put out a request for quotations for demolition services at Walden Pond, and the issue of demolition is on tonight's City Council agenda. It is unclear whether a decision is needed.
Earlier this month, city leaders passed an emergency resolution condemning unsafe trailers at the park. That resolution allows city staff to raze the condemned trailers if so directed.
The attorney representing Walden Pond LLC, the entity that owns the park, said at that time the park’s ownership had put in place an “action plan” to address the mess.
The city council opted to give the owners an opportunity to resolve issues at the park. The council directed staff to draft a settlement agreement for the park owners to raze the trailers and clean up the debris.
Last Tuesday, city staff told council members that the park owners had done nothing at the park, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The council members “blasted” Walden Pond’s attorney “for not coming through on promises that his client would begin cleaning up and securing” the park, according to the Times.
Public Works Director Sherman Applegate has said it could cost the city $100,000 to $150,000 to raze trailers and clean the park.
The council gave Walden pond until Oct. 12 to reach a settlement agreement with the city, according to the Times. Council members agreed that the ownership need to install a dumpster and security on site by their meeting tonight.
According to city minutes, "direction was given to Mr. Applegate to research and approve a lower estimate if no action was taken by Walden Pond, LLC by Friday, October 12, 2012."
There were still no dumpsters or security guards at the park this past Saturday, said Liz Nichols, New Port Richey’s code enforcement officer. However, she said she did notice an asbestos testing company employed by Walden Pond's contractor at the park on Saturday.
“That looks like they’re taking some kind of step,” she said.
On Friday, another trailer collapsed at the park, Nichols said. People have been stripping trailers. She remains concerned about public safety issues.
Walden Pond has been a concern for city officials for some time. This past summer, the mobile home park's owners ordered residents to leave, but failed to follow legal guidelines for eviction. Since then, some residents have vacated the park; others have remained behind. The dumpsters that served the park's residents have been removed, leaving trash and debris to pile up.
City officials have issued citations to the park's owners.
The park owners “have to take more responsibility", Nichols said. “They’re responsible for the property, and they’re responsible for the way it looks.”
Tonight's meetinbg starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 5919 Main Street.