Donna Griffin sat on the steps of a trailer at Walden Pond Mobile Home Park on Tuesday as a demolition crew worked on razing condemned trailers on the property.
“It’s awesome,” said Griffin, who resides at the park. “About time.”
A contractor has started tearing down dilapidated trailers at the park, and New Port Richey taxpayers are on the hook for the work.
Walden Pond Mobile Home Park has been a problem for the city for a while. This past Summer, the mobile home park's owners told residents the park was closing and residents needed to leave the property, but they failed to follow legal guidelines for eviction. Since then, some residents have left. Some haves stayed behind.
Also left behind were vacant trailers. Stripping has been an issue. Some trailers have collapsed.
New Port Richey leaders decided to have the city pay a contractor to get rid of more than 50 condemned trailers and clean up afterward.
The effort is estimated to cost $69,500, said Sherman Applegate, director of public works for New Port Richey. The work could take two or three weeks, and the final cost will depend on the time the cleanup takes. The city contractors started demolishing trailers Tuesday.
The city intends to bill park owner Walden Pond, LLC, for the cost of the demolition and cleanup. It could pursue a lien.
Walden Pond also owes the city for unpaid water utility bills and clean up of a mound of trash in September.
Residents are being permitted to live in trailers that are not condemned for now.
Lara Curtis, another resident at the park, also thinks its “awesome” to see the demolition move forward. One collapsed trailer is right next to the one she inhabits. The demolition of condemned trailers is currently happening on the opposite side of the park from where Curtis and Griffin live, but it will eventually move to their side.
Vermin have been breeding in the park, Curtis said. She said rats and snakes have been spotted. Some vacant trailers have been used for drug use, she said. She also said someone has stolen some of her family’s property, including three bikes.
She also said cleaning up the park benefits the neighborhood surrounding the park.
“It’s not just good for those of us still here,” she said.
Curtis has property elsewhere in New Port Richey that she wants to relocate to eventually.
Keep track of what's happening at Walden Pond with this record of continuing coverage: