Beleaguered trailer park residents face eviction

Article Courtesy of Palm Beach Post

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Residents of a hurricane-ravaged trailer park in Lake Worth who have been trying for months to get full electrical power now have a more pressing concern: They are being evicted to make way for an industrial park.

Tropical Trailer Gardens residents were notified by park owner Wes Cox in December that they must leave by June 30. They have been battling with Cox since September to fix electrical problems resulting from Hurricane Jeanne's winds.

Trailer park residents were informed that the park land was being converted to a different use because repairs requested by Lake Worth city officials were extensive and expensive. But the park's owner was planning months before Hurricane Jeanne to convert the land to warehouse use.

In December 2003, a Cox representative asked the city to sell a small parcel of vacant land adjacent to Tropical Trailer Gardens.

"We desire to raise (sic) the trailer park and construct an industrial office and warehouse park on that property," said the letter from William Lowman Jr., the registered agent for a corporate entity that owns the trailer park.

The city did in fact accept bids on the parcel and the Lowman-Cox partnership was awarded the land, even though its $90,000 bid was second highest.

"Cox has not acted in good faith during these proceedings," Cathy Lively, an attorney for 15 of the 20-some remaining residents, said in court papers filed Tuesday.

Cox and the other owners failed to maintain Tropical Trailer Gardens' electrical system because they were planning to close the park, Lively contends. Blaming the electrical problems on a hurricane is a "blatant misrepresentation," she said in court papers.

Cox did not return a call asking for comment.

Next up for the park's remaining residents and the owners is mediation to determine how much money the latter should pay the former for their hardships in recent months.

"They've been forced to endure absolutely horrendous conditions," Lively said.