Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey will hire its own contractor to raze dilapidated Walden Pond mobile homes

New Port Richey workers approach a refuse pile at the Walden Pond mobile home park in September. Huge piles of trash have accumulated there since a Dumpster was removed.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

New Port Richey workers approach a refuse pile at the Walden Pond mobile home park in September. Huge piles of trash have accumulated there since a Dumpster was removed.

NEW PORT RICHEY – Disgusted by the lack of progress at the dilapidated Walden Pond Mobile Home Park, the City Council decided Tuesday night to hire its own contractor to raze 52 condemned mobile homes and clean up the site.

The $62,000 bill for the work will be sent to Walden Pond LLC.

The vote came after a tense exchange between council member Bob Langford and Paul Beraquit, one of the park's four owners, after city staff put on a slide show of destroyed mobile homes and massive trash piles that have accumulated since a Dumpster was removed from the park a couple of months ago.

Beraquit again pleaded for more time, saying Walden Pond has begun asbestos studies needed to begin demolition and will send someone to monitor the park at different hours of the day.

That wasn't enough for the council.

"Why haven't you done anything?" Langford asked, his voice booming through the microphone.

"What do you mean?" replied Beraquit, shocked by the flash of anger from Langford.

Langford blasted Beraquit for not completing any of the items in a verbal settlement outlined at the Oct. 2 council meeting, including trash cleanup, 24-hour onsite security and payment of a water bill to the city, now approaching $36,000.

"You were supposed to have security," Langford boomed.

Beraquit said he couldn't afford it.

"I don't care," Langford replied.

"Well I care, because I can't afford it," Beraquit shot back.

"It's not our problem, it's yours. You created this. You're not being a responsible person at all about this!" Langford said.

"Okay," Beraquit finished.

Voices then lowered as the hearing moved on, but other council members still had tough words for Beraquit. Council member Bill Phillips lamented that there are still people living in the park surrounded by "filth."

"The safety aspect of it bothers me. It really does," he said.

About two dozen people are still living in the park along Oelsner Street, just off U.S. 19, in about 12 mobile homes that have not been condemned. They are the last remaining residents since Walden Pond sent a letter in July telling residents they had to leave because the park was going to close.

It set off a firestorm of looting and squatting that still continues.

The people living there legally are renters who have not yet been evicted, or who own their mobile homes on the park property, according to the city.

"It's just a deplorable location right now," said Mayor Bob Consalvo.

Beraquit sat down in the front row of City Hall chambers and watched as the council voted to take over demolition and clean-up of his park. The council agreed to use a low bid of $62,000 obtained by Public Works Director Sherman Applegate.

The city will hire SC Signature Construction, the firm that recently completed the demolition of the dilapidated Port Richey Mobile Home Park, not far north along U.S. 19 from Walden Pond.

Once the project is complete, the city will send Walden Pond a bill for the work, as well as the water bill and all costs accrued by the city's public works, police and code enforcement in dealing with the situation in recent months, Assistant City Attorney Jim Lang said.

If the bill is not paid within a certain time frame, the city could place a lien on the property. The city had tried to negotiate a settlement in which Walden Pond would pay $40,000 for the expenses incurred by the city. But the company didn't agree to that amount. In the meantime, the city's costs are only growing, Lang said.

As for the remaining residents, Applegate said once demolition and cleanup is complete, the park will be fenced off, except for access points allowing residents to enter and leave their homes. There will also be room for emergency vehicles to enter and leave the premises to serve the remaining residents, he said.

New Port Richey will hire its own contractor to raze dilapidated Walden Pond mobile homes 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Culpepper falls just short on 'Survivor' finale

    Human Interest

    In the end, Tampa lawyer Brad Culpepper fell just short, and the ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer lost Survivor: Game Changers and the $1 million prize to Sarah Lacina, a police officer from Iowa.

  2. Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs

    Crime

    TAMPA — Andrew Oneschuk never liked making small talk on the phone, his father said, but the last time the two spoke, something seemed off.

    Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman lived in a Tampa Palms apartment with Devon Arthurs and Brandon Russell. Oneschuk and Himmelman reportedly planned to move out.
  3. Brad Culpepper makes it to final 3 on Survivor, but jury picks Sarah

    The Feed

    UPDATE, WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Tampa's Brad Culpepper make it to the final 3 on Survivor, but jurors chose Sarah as the winner of the $1 million.

    Original report follows:

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  5. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]