Tenants Upset About Walden Pond's Closing
Residents wonder where they will go when the mobile home park closes July 31.
Lara Curtis survived Tropical Storm Debby but faced another bad situation shortly afterward.
When Debby menaced Florida, it damaged the trailer Curtis rents in Walden Pond Mobile Home Park. She later learned her landlord is closing the park and she and others need to move out by the end of July 31.
"I went from upset to being pissed off," she said.
When Debby was menacing Florida, a tree limb fell on the roof of the trailer Curtis, her husband and her five children live in. It hit the roof and damaged a seam, and rainwater leaked into the room her daughters stay in, she said.
Water flooded Sunburst Lane, the street she’s on. It reached the topmost step of the trailer. The floodwaters entered the shed and did damage there. Damage was also done to the family’s belongings.
Debby was followed by more rain. Curtis said she can’t even move damaged stuff onto the street because the ground is saturated.
Curtis considers herself one of the few at Walden Pond to possibly have another place to stay once the park closes. She says she has a trailer with an addition on Snug Harbor Road a couple miles away that is uninhabitable, but that she can “pup a tent” on the property, if need be.
She says she might be getting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She plans to use that help to rehabilitate the trailer on Snug Harbor Road to make it habitable for herself and her family.
Many in the park are on fixed incomes. Some own their trailers. Some of those trailers are at least 10 years old. Assorted residents say they don’t have the money for security deposits for new places. Curtis says there are about 40 families in the park.
Curtis has one of the few phones in the park, she says, and has been letting her neighbors use it.
"There's just so many here that live month-to-month, paycheck-to-paycheck," she said.
Donna Griffin, Curtis’ neighbor, says she bought her trailer three months ago. She moved into the park in October and has been homeless in the past. She lives at the park with her husband Ronald Dumas.
When the park closes, "we have no place to go, ” she said.
Betty VanValkenburg said she rents her trailer and lives at Walden Pond with a 15-year-old son. She doesn’t have a job or a place to go.
“If I can’t get help, I gotta get to the women’s shelter,” she said.
Israel Medina says that he lives in the park with his wife and owns two trailers, but that he doesn’t have a lease for the rental of space.
“Of course, I’m worried, where am I going to go?" he said.
Mary Jumper is married and has a job and children. She works at IHOP in Hudson. Relocation assistance would be nice but she doesn't expect it. On the park closure, she said, "I wasn't surprised. Everybody knew (the landlord) was going to shut it down. We just didn't know when."
Maurice Brown, who rents a trailer, was going to move to another trailer in the park. He said he has not received a notice but thinks he will need to leave. He has no place to go.
"When you have a fixed income, you can't just up and leave," he said.
Dwan Clabough also rents a trailer at the park and says she’s Curtis’ cousin. She says she’s on oxygen and dialysis and fears being on the street when the park closes.
“This is a death sentence,” she said.
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