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Terrytown residents complain about abandoned trailers that have become eyesores

November 7, 2018

TERRYTOWN – Several abandoned trailer houses continue to plague Terrytown as they become magnets for trash, feral animals, and even homeless persons.

Resident Dave Ojeda spoke to members of the city council last week to see what could be done about the problem.

“It’s just an eyesore because the doors fallen off and windows broken out,” Ojeda said. “I see trash in the yards that spread to other parts of town. Trailers attract mice and feral cats and the neighbors are also complaining about the mice that get onto their properties. I’ve also seen homeless people coming in and out of those trailers.”

Ojeda added the trailers pose a fire hazard that could spread to neighboring properties because of the trash and weeds.

“I’ve lived in Terrytown for 38-plus years,” Ojeda said. “I’m tired of people saying the town is just a slum when it isn’t. But we’re starting to become one with all the trailers. Something has to be done.”

Adding to the problem is residents from both Scottsbluff and Gering dumping their trash in Terrytown.

Cinda Munoz, manager of the Patriot Park mobile home property, said the trash problem has been ongoing for years. Rock Church volunteers did a big cleanup of Terrytown last summer, but old mattresses and other trash continue to be dumped behind the trailer park.

“We don’t own any of the trailers,” Munoz said. “They’re personal property so we can not just go in and tear down abandoned trailers. We’d like to work with the owners to remove them, but the owners often live in other states and it’s difficult to contact them.”

She added the eviction for tenants in violation of the park’s rules can be a long, involved process. But park staff does their best to keep up with needed maintenance and trash removal.

One possible remedy Munoz proposed was for Patriot Park to apply for licensure from the state as a mobile home dealership.

“Cinda isn’t envisioning piling up a lot of mobile homes,” said Terrytown City Attorney Libby Stobel. “She wants to place mobile homes on the empty lots, then lease or sell them to someone for occupation.”

Munoz said she will be placing new mobile homes on the lots. They will begin with about three homes to see how the program works.

“Today’s mobile homes don’t even look like trailers,” she said. “They look more like small houses.”

Council members agreed with the idea and approved that Munoz proceed with application for a license from the state.

As for the feral cat problem, Munoz said 90 percent of tenants are cooperating and have provided vaccination information on the animals they own.

Ginger Klemm with the Panhandle Humane Society has been helping the city with animal control. She’s been getting to know residents and explaining the city’s ordinances regarding animals. The Humane Society has also developed a system for dealing with violations.

The first action is to issue a verbal warning to owners that let their animals roam or bark throughout the day.

“I like to talk with people in person to try to figure out a solution to the problem,” Klemm said. “If the problem isn’t resolved, I’ll issue a formal warning letter. If the problem still isn’t resolved, I’ll issue another warning letter reminding them of the city ordinances. After than I’ll turn the case over the city attorney for possible prosecution.”

Klemm also agreed to attend future city council meetings to provide updates to how the city’s animal control program is working.

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