Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crime-ridden Port Richey mobile home park demolished

A member of a demolition crew douses debris with water to keep the dust down at the Port Richey Mobile Home Park on Thursday. The work is expected to be completed in two weeks.


A member of a demolition crew douses debris with water to keep the dust down at the Port Richey Mobile Home Park on Thursday. The work is expected to be completed in two weeks.

PORT RICHEY — Nancy Britton wiped tears from her eyes Thursday as demolition crews began clearing away debris at the dilapidated Port Richey Mobile Home Park.

For years, she said, the park had drawn an unsavory mix of prostitutes and drug users. After the residents moved out earlier this year, it became an illegal dumping ground and an unsafe gathering place for homeless people.

"I am ecstatic," said Britton, 50, a former City Council member who once held anti-crime marches around the blighted park at River Gulf Road and U.S. 19.

"I know two kids who got wrapped up in drugs there," she said. "What has me so emotional is that I'll never have to see another kid affected by that trailer park again."

Britton, other neighbors and city officials shared a collective sigh of relief Thursday as bulldozers tore down the dwellings on the 1.6-acre property. Tangled piles of debris from the park's 34 structures were scooped up by a front loader and hauled away.

City officials had planned to demolish the park for months, but waited until the ownership of the property was settled during a foreclosure sale Wednesday at the West Pasco Judicial Center.

The city came prepared to bid on the property — appraised in August for $622,000 — for no more than $400,000. But the property's mortgage holder, Bayview Loan Servicing, wanted $476,000.

So Bayview kept the property and the city walked away empty-handed.

"It wasn't worth what we wanted to bid," said City Manager Richard Reade. "It was more than what we wanted."

Property records show the park was built in two phases: the first starting in 1958, the second in 1972. Few residents could recall positive memories about the park.

"It drew a lot of bad stuff to the area, like drugs and prostitutes," said James Zambrotto, 67, who owns Mica & Jim's Custom Cabinets on Grand Boulevard near the park. "That's always been a trashy place. Should have been out of here a long time ago."

Records show the park was owned by the Port Richey Mobile Home Park Inc. The officer of the company is Harry Hunt.

The company fell behind on its mortgage payments and the property fell into foreclosure. Residents of the park moved out in January, city officials said.

The city tried to purchase the property earlier this year but reached an impasse with the mortgage holder's attorney.

As time passed, the park's condition worsened. Police say two fires were started on the property in the last two months.

"More doors and windows were ripped off," said Ed Winch, city building official. "It was an open cesspool."

On April 30, Winch sent a letter to Bayview condemning the property. The letter stated the mobile homes were unfit to live in and should be demolished.

When he didn't hear anything back, Winch sent a second letter June 12 saying "it's our intent to demolish if we don't hear back from you in 30 days."

A month passed. Still no word from Bayview.

So in mid-July, the city put out bids for demolition service. They hired a company for $55,000, using Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA, funds. The city will put a lien on the property for the demolition costs, Winch said.

The work should be completed in two weeks, he said.

It is unclear what Bayview has planned for the property. An attorney for Bayview didn't return calls for comment Thursday.

Even so, Mayor Richard Rober said he'd like to see a boat ramp or a parking structure there.

"It couldn't have happened soon enough for me," Rober said of the demolition. "Getting that done was a big step in the right direction."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Crime-ridden Port Richey mobile home park demolished 10/09/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 2:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yankees executive Jessica Steinbrenner seeks restraining order against ex-husband


    TAMPA — Jessica Steinbrenner, a top executive with the New York Yankees and a daughter of the team's late owner George Steinbrenner, is seeking a restraining order against her ex-husband.

    New York Yankees excutive Jessica Steinbrenner, with her then-husband Felix Lopez Jr. in this 2008 photo, filed for a restraining order against Lopez in Hillsborough County last week. 
[Times files]
  2. Hurricane evacuations halted for lack of ambulances at VA's Young center


    As many as 30 patients who should have been evacuated from the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center were left behind during Hurricane Irma because the hospital and the county couldn't agree on where they should go.

    Lorraine Johnson-Mitchell, back home in St. Petersburg on Monday, said she watched in disbelief as hospital staff seemed to scramble without a plan to evacuate patients like her from the VA medical center in St. Petersburg before Hurricane Irma. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. South Florida poaches debris pickup trucks once slotted for Tampa, officials say


    TAMPA — A week into the job of picking up an estimated 300,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Irma debris from its streets, Tampa City Hall is finding to its dismay that the challenge is more competitive than expected.

    Yard debris from the winds of Hurricane Irma line many yards along Pinellas Point Drive South, St. Petersburg, 9/22/17.
  4. Wisniewska: I protected our students and USFSP campus


    Throughout my tenure in academia, my focus has always been on putting students first.

    The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
  5. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]