The Shawnee News-Star
  • Notice to vacate: Meadow Ridge Mobile Home Park residents search for new homes

  • Residents of Meadow Ridge Mobile Home Park, some of whom have lived there for decades, are being forced to move from their homes after receiving a letter from the owner, Sid Haffener, informing them the park will close.
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  • Residents of Meadow Ridge Mobile Home Park, some of whom have lived there for decades, are being forced to move from their homes after receiving a letter from the owner, Sid Haffener, informing them the park will close.
    Myrtle Butler, 89, has lived at Meadow Ridge for 32 years. She said when she and her late husband purchased their trailer, the spot she still lives was the only vacant spot in the park. She and her son Eldon Haas, 73, have both recently overcome severe medical problems and Butler said she was just starting to enjoy being back home from the hospital when they got the letter that she said was unexpected.
    “We’re all just kinda flabbergasted,” she said.
    Butler spent two weeks in the hospital after having a pacemaker put in as a result of multiple heart attacks and Haas is a two-time cancer survivor.
    “Everything’s falling apart,” Butler said.
    Butler and Haas, along with other residents, received a letter from Haffener that states, “The on-going battle with the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) is over. We’ve been working for some time with Landis Engineering, a Shawnee based firm, to address the water issues of the park. The estimates to install water lines from the city of Shawnee to Meadow Ridge and up-grading the system within the park is in excess of $200,000.”
    The letter informed the residents based on the price of up-grades, the park would be closed and residents were given notice to vacate the park by June 10.
    Butler and Haas said they were not given enough notice.
    “I don’t see why they didn’t tell us six months ago,” Haas said.
    While the letter is dated March 31, Butler and Haas said they didn’t receive their letter until Friday, April 4 and others received the letter after that.
    “They wanted their rent,” Haas said. “They took their rent and told us to move.”
    The letter also informed residents that all utilities and services will be terminated June 10 and a gate will be placed across the entrance.
    “They said they were going to cut the water,” Butler said. “Now we’re just waiting.”
    Skylar McElhaney, public information officer for the Department of Environmental Quality, said the water in the park has had elevated uranium levels off and on since 2007.
    “In the past DEQ had taken enforcement action against the owner of the park,” she said, adding the owner needed to figure out how to fix that issue and he had decided it wasn’t financially feasible.
    While McElhaney said the elevated uranium levels issue needed to be fixed, someone would have to drink two liters of the water every day for 70 years before it could possibly cause kidney problems.
    Page 2 of 2 - Butler and Haas said they’ve never had problems with the water. Butler said before the park was sold to Haffener, it was kept clean and the water was frequently tested. She said she knows this because her late husband was the manager of the park and the two of them would take tests to Oklahoma City to have levels tested.
    Now, Butler said the current owner and employees will start digging things up and leave them and the roads are all busted up.
    “It’s a mess,” she said. “The whole trailer park’s falling apart.”
    Haas said there was a nice pond years ago that is now being used as a dump.
    “This used to be a nice park in the 60s and 70s,” he said.
    Haas isn’t so sure the water is the sole reason the park is being closed and he said other residents agree with him.
    “I think what it is is they’re just behind on payments or something,” he said.
    Butler and Haas plan on moving into a rental home as soon they find one but Butler said it’s hard to do since both of them have medical problems. She said her kids and grandkids have been helping them find somewhere to go and without them, they wouldn’t know what to do. She said she worries about some of their neighbors.
    “They don’t know what they’re going to do,” she said. “Everybody’s just messed up. People ain’t got the money…they just can’t do it.”
    Butler said her only income is social security so she won’t be able to afford much.
    “I just want a good little house so we can maneuver,” she said.
    Haas said some residents are planning on moving their trailers out of the park but theirs will have to stay.
    “It would fall off the wheels if we moved it,” Butler said. “It ain’t worth it.”
    He said they replaced the roof, heater and hot water tank this year so they will remove everything worth anything and leave the rest.
    “I just got it all done up and now we’ve gotta move,” Butler said.
    Haffner said the letter given to residents explained everything and he had no other comment on the issue.
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