NEW PORT RICHEY — The City Council plans to place a $74,000 lien on a troubled mobile home park where last year city workers demolished dozens of dilapidated units and cleared out mounds of trash.
In November, the city took down more than 50 crumbling units in Walden Pond Mobile Home Park off Oelsner Drive, just west of U.S. 19, after City Council members became frustrated by deteriorating conditions on the property.
In addition to the lien against property owner Walden Pond LLC, the council is also considering tacking on a separate $80,000 lien for unpaid utility bills.
Tampa Attorney Bryan Sykes said during a hearing last week that his client Walden Pond was taking steps to demolish the mobile homes in the park and clean up the site when the city went in without giving enough notice. Mayor Bob Consalvo had another recollection of inaction by Walden Pond.
"I just remember hearing excuse after excuse after excuse," Consalvo said.
Sykes admitted the park has been "fraught with problems from the beginning," leading Walden Pond to inform tenants last July that the park would be closing.
That led to a free-for-all of looting and scrapping of mobile homes in the park leaving the area's landscape destroyed.
While people continued to live on the property, many illegally according to Sykes, Walden Pond also removed the trash bin and took out lighting. Sykes said last week the owners were trying to make it as "unappealing to be there as possible" in order to get people out of the park.
Council member Judy DeBella Thomas said instead it was a "pattern of disregard for the health and safety of the residents as well as the community at large."