Florida mobile home park residents forced to leave homes, terminate leases
One woman told AccuWeather that the type of tight-knit community found in the neighborhood is hard to come by these days.
Gasparilla Mobile Estates in Placida, Florida, had some lucky residents like Fran Jones, whose homes remained almost intact after Hurricane Ian’s impact.
“A new roof, new sheetrock and we’re back to our home,” Jones told AccuWeather National Weather Reporter Jillian Angeline.
Jones is one of the only residents staying in her home at this Placida community, located in Charlotte County and part of the Punta Gorda metropolitan area. Despite leaking that occurs in her main bedroom when it rains due to the damaged roof and the lack of running water, she and her husband are still living there. Jones said it’s a strange experience passing by her friends’ and neighbors’ destroyed homes.
But Gasparilla Mobile Estates sent out a letter to residents on Oct. 10 informing residents of what the near future will look like for the community.
"We do not have the resources to restore Gasparilla Mobile Estates to a functioning mobile home park, and we do not plan to do so," the letter stated.
The letter shared apologies but also requested residents to make new living arrangements within a 28-day period. Jones said the community had been well-equipped for the residents before Ian destroyed it.
“We have great pancake breakfasts,” Jones said. “There’s a golf team; there’s swim aerobics. There’s all kinds of stuff for us 55 and older people.”
Fran Jones told AccuWeather she doesn't want to leave Gasparilla Mobile Estates despite Hurricane Ian's destruction.
Carol Kropp, president of Gasparilla Mobile Estates, told AccuWeather that about 80% of the park was destroyed as Ian tore through Florida.
“The common facilities were all damaged, and we do not have the resources to bring the park back to an operating mobile home park,” Kropp said.
The company cannot provide essential services and will be terminating the leases. All residents will need to find a new place to live by Nov. 7.
"As of the date of this letter, we assume no responsibility for anyone that remains in the park until Nov. 7, 2022," the letter stated. "Each homeowner assumes their own risk of remaining in or entering the park."
About 80% of Gasparilla Mobile Estates was destroyed after Hurricane Ian. There are not enough resources to rebuild, the president of the mobile home park told AccuWeather. (AccuWeather / Jillian Angeline)
The level of destruction has caused the community to feel quite empty these past couple of weeks, which is quite the contrast to the normally bustling neighborhood.
“Everyone walks in the morning and nobody’s walking, nobody’s here to walk except for the few people. I don’t know how to express how sad it is,” Jones explained tearfully to Angeline.
Jones said she has highly enjoyed her time living at the mobile homes park and doubts that she and her husband will find something that comes even close to what Gasparilla Mobile Estates offered them.
"It's, you know, a fishing community, a golfing community," Jones told AccuWeather. "It's a tight community. You don't find them much anymore."
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