HAMPDEN – Residents of Crestwood Trailer Park are scrambling to find new accommodations after receiving notice last month that the park on Route 1A will be closed as of Nov. 1.
Sharall Wilson and her daughter Nellie Lagasse are among the renters who already have found places to go. Each found a space in a mobile home park in Clifton, several towns away.
Wilson said that another Crestwood renter has found a place at Hampden Trailer Park, just up the road.
Because the mobile home Lagasse lives in with her husband, Stanley, and two children, 3-year-old Lily and 1-year-old Andrew, is an older model that doesn’t meet current codes, Lagasse has arranged to purchase a newer mobile home now sitting empty at Crestwood.
Lagasse, who has lived at Crestwood for three years, said she is looking forward to the move.
In their new home in Clifton, Lily will have a room of her own and will have children her age to play with, Lagasse said.
But there still are renters at Crestwood who have not made plans after Nov. 1.
At one time, Crestwood had more than 30 occupied mobile homes, according to Judy Luce, whose ex-husband David Luce had been managing the park for the last several years.
The number of renters since has dwindled to about a dozen because no new renters were allowed after it became apparent the park would be closing, the women said Sunday afternoon. Only half a dozen school-age children remain in the park, Luce said.
“Some of the people are waiting,” Wilson said. “They don’t believe it’s really going to close” despite notices sent by certified mail.
Other tenants could have a hard time finding new places to live because of their pets. One neighbor, they noted, has more than a dozen cats, while another has two Rottweilers.
The decision to close the park, which has been open for at least three decades, resulted from a probate matter recently resolved in a Florida court, Zeus Simeone, one of the heirs of the former owner, confirmed Friday.
Once the site is cleared of mobile homes, it will be put on the market, Simeone said. An asking price has yet to be set for the land located in a prime position on the town’s main street.
He said that mobile homes not owned by those who have been renting lots at Crestwood are for sale and that 15 of the 20 acres on which the park sits will be sold.
Simeone said he and the other heirs want to buy a 5-acre parcel on which their father’s house sits “because he’s literally left without a home.”
He said that the heirs have no interest in maintaining the park, which has become increasingly costly. To make matters more difficult, state laws protecting renters make it difficult to get tenants to keep current on rent payments.
Hampden Town Manager Susan Lessard said Friday that the town office fielded several telephone calls from renters after the notices went out, but that there was nothing the town could do to help.
“We got calls saying, ‘Why are you doing this?’ People think it’s something we’re doing,” Lessard said. “This is a private legal matter not related to the town. We don’t own it, and we’re not taking it away from anyone.”
According to Lagasse, David Luce, a “big-hearted person,” has offered to help renters move their mobile homes to new lots.
Simeone said renters received more than 45 days’ notice of the closure.
“That’s 15 days longer than we had to give them, but the more time they get the better because they’re in kind of a tough spot as well,” he said. “We’re really trying to help these people.”