Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Evicted renters find a city of friends in Largo

Robert Burns helps fellow No Go Largo Village park resident Arris Williams, who is not in this picture, carry his things to a truck. Volunteers and officials made sure the residents had shelter and other aid.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Robert Burns helps fellow No Go Largo Village park resident Arris Williams, who is not in this picture, carry his things to a truck. Volunteers and officials made sure the residents had shelter and other aid.

LARGO — Debbie Wisniewski heard about the plight of the nine families at the No Go Largo Village mobile home park and had to find a way to help.

So Wisniewski and her husband, Pete, the owners of Direct Buy of Pinellas, donated the truck that helped the families move from the park on Clearwater-Largo Road that had been deemed unlivable because of a water shutoff.

In addition, Debbie Wisniewski spent Thursday morning at the park helping the residents pack boxes and load the truck.

"The main thing is the sense of community," said Wisniewski, 52. "We are all here and in this together, especially in these economic times that we are in."

Largo code enforcement officials Wednesday ruled the mobile homes were uninhabitable without water, which was shut off Sept. 30 after the park owner failed to pay an $8,400 bill.

The city of Largo, local nonprofit organizations and area residents banded together to provide temporary housing and other assistance for the 18 adults and 16 children.

"It's the first time we've had to mobilize so many resources so quickly," said Jonathan E. Evans, an assistant to Largo's city manager. "Everyone has worked hand in hand and it's almost a model of how government and other organizations can work together for the betterment of the community."

Three families have secured permanent housing and one family made other arrangements for temporary lodging. The other five families are staying at InTown Suites in Clearwater for the next week, with Catholic Charities picking up the tab.

Catholic Charities also is continuing to help them find permanent homes.

Direct Buy donated a truck and several of its workers donated their time to help load them. Largo Self Storage donated storage services, the Salvation Army chipped in free bus passes and some county residents donated cash.

"I figured I'd come help," said Jimmy Henderson, 25, of Pasco County who was reluctant to give his name because he wasn't seeking recognition for the help. "It's like a karma thing for me. When I'm in need, somebody might come and help me."

Selena Vesey, 25, is seven months pregnant and had just moved in the park three weeks ago. Wednesday night, Catholic Charities threw her a baby shower. She received a stroller, and lots of diapers and clothes.

"I'm surprised at the amount of help we've received," Vesey said. "I'm thankful for it because being pregnant, I don't know what I would do."

The water was disconnected because the park owner, Key Largo Communities Corp., had not paid the utility bill since July 25, according to Pinellas County Utilities. There are about 60 homes in the park but only eight were being rented.

Neither Andrea Trani, president of Key Largo Communities, nor her partner Helene Provenzano, could be reached for comment Thursday.

Rebecca Rader had lived at the park for five years and was filled with emotion Thursday morning as she watched volunteers load her belongings on a truck.

"We are so tired we couldn't sleep," Rader said. "It must be God keeping us going. I'm trying not to cry. I'm so trying not to cry."

Then she cried.

Staff Photographer Jim Damaske contributed to this story.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or dalee@sptimes.com

Bragington Oaks mobile home park, also owned by Key Largo Communities, remains in danger of having its water cut off, too. Key Largo Communities president Andrea Trani had arranged with Pinellas County Utilities to pay $2,500 of the $6,079 owed on the water bill by the end of the day Thursday. But Trani had not paid the bill by 5 p.m., utility officials said.

There are six occupied units at Bragington, 810 16th Ave. NW. Micki Gates, assistant director of customer service for the Pinellas County Utilities has agreed to give the city of Largo as much notice as needed before shutting the water off at the park.

To help

To help residents of No Go Largo Village, call Jonathan E. Evans, Largo's assistant to the city manager, at (727) 587-6727.

Evicted renters find a city of friends in Largo 10/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 7:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump condemns 'evil losers' who carried out Manchester concert attack

    Politics

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank — President Donald Trump condemned the "evil losers" responsible for the deadly attack on concert-goers in England Tuesday and called on leaders in the Middle East in particular to help root out violence.

    President Donald Trump pauses as he makes a statement on the terrorist attack in Manchester, after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. [Associated Press]
  2. Tampa Bay Times journalists wins 17 Green Eyeshade Awards

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay Times journalists placed first in seven categories of the prestigious Green Eyeshade awards, which honors outstanding journalism in the Southeast.

  3. A manatee swims near the entrance to Three Sisters Springs on Kings Bay, some of many springs that feed the Crystal River in Citrus County. The Southwest Florida Water Management District is considering a proposal that would allow a decrease to the amount of fresh water flowing in the Crystal River so that water can be diverted to fuel development. Critics say similar proposals around the state could threaten Florida's environmental health. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014]
  4. Ailing Florida springs could be tapped further to fuel development

    Water

    BROOKSVILLE — Efforts by state officials to set a minimum flow for its iconic springs have stirred up a wave of public opposition. Opponents contend the state is willing to destroy its springs in order to justify continuing to provide water for new development.

    A manatee swims near the entrance to Three Sisters Springs on Kings Bay, one of many springs that feeds the Crystal River in Citrus County. The Southwest Florida Water Management District is considering a proposal to decrease the amount of fresh water flowing in Crystal River so that water can be diverted to fuel development. Critics say similar proposals around the state could threaten Florida's environmental health. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014
  5. Canned by lawmakers, PTC staff say they are now forgotten

    Transportation

    TAMPA — After roughly 20 years in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Mike Gonzalez got another job with a uniform and badge when he was hired in 2015 as an inspector for the Public Transportation Commission.

    The badge that PTC inspectors carry while on duty. State lawmakers voted to abolish the agency this year leaving its remaining employees fearing for their future.