OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Some Olmsted Township homeowners living in the Olmsted Falls Mobile Home Park believe they are facing an uncertain future, and are concerned they may eventually be forced to move from their homes.
Park resident John Snell and seven of his neighbors told News 5 they learned about a proposed project being considered by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, that if approved, could result in the sale of the land their homes are sitting on.
Snell said he and his neighbors have been given very little information on the future of the proposed project and had to learn about the Rocky River West Branch Subwatershed proposal from other Olmsted Township residents.
“Life has stopped,” Snell said. “We’re just placed in this limbo, not knowing when they’re going to come knock on our door and say 'hey we’re ready to send this project through.'”
“They have an area to run a channel from the creek over into the woods. We haven’t been told anything, we don’t know if this is something that we have to take the expense on ourselves.”
Doreen Baker has lived at the Olmsted Falls Mobile home park for 20 years and told News 5 she's been given little information about the proposed project.
“Well I’m very depressed," Baker said. “I just paid a lot of money for new windows three months ago, two years ago I got a new roof put on. So I invested a lot of money into this place.”
“I’d like to know if this is going to happen, when it’s going to happen and if we’re going to be taken care of and compensated.”
News 5 reached out to UMH Properties about the proposed project and it later issued the following statement in response to our story:
“Olmsted Falls’ management and residents became aware of the sewer district’s possible flood prevention proposal from the same sources and at the same time. As we learn more about the early proposal from the sewer district, we will share that information with residents. Meanwhile, we will work to protect them and limit the potential impact to our community.”
News 5 also contacted the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and it confirmed, if the plan was given the green light, it would call for the removal of eight mobile home lots at the mobile home park off of Bagley Road.
But the district said it could not give a timetable on the plan because it's still waiting for the results of an advanced planning study on the project, but pledged to communicate with park management and residents through all phases of the sale of the mobile home lots should it be necessary.
The sewer district quickly issued the following statement in response to our story:
Concerning the eight mobile home sites, while the SWMP preferred alternative recommends the purchase of these 8 home sites, there are currently no plans to move ahead with the purchase of these sites, prior to the completion of the Advanced Planning Study of this problem area. While the findings of the Advanced Planning Study may concur with the SWMP with the potential acquisitions of these properties, our approach to purchasing property for stormwater projects is voluntary. We’ll of course communicate with property owners and residents every step of the way.
News 5 contacted the Olmsted Township Trustees about the proposal and they said they understand why residents are concerned about the future. The trustees told News 5 they will be working with park management, the sewer district, and residents to ensure information on the project is passed along as soon as it's available.
Meanwhile, mobile home park residents like William Oberacker believe they're owed a meeting and more information on the plan.
“How many houses would be dislocated, how many families would be dislocated, they never thought to ensure that those families would be notified," Oberacker said. “We’re families, a retired man, and woman raising an adult who is handicapped. I’m a single dad and my child is handicapped.”
“They didn’t have the integrity to let us know that you have to deliver bad news just the same as you would good news, but you can’t keep people in the dark.”