Central New York, Community, Government, Poverty, Syracuse

DeWitt Trailer Park Residents Face Code Violations That Could Force Them Out

More than one hundred residents may have to leave their homes if Midler Meadows Trailer Park in DeWitt does not get cleaned up. (c) 2018 Taylor Lang

Video Transcript: 5March2018 Midler Meadows Script

By Taylor Lang SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – It is quiet for being in the industrial area of DeWitt. Only the occasional birds and ravens break the silence. Stray cats walk the side of the road. Trash bags float down the street as a loose siding panel continuously hits against a trailer with its window shattered and broken.

A car piled with wood and other raw materials next to an abandoned shed in Midler Meadows. (c) 2018 Taylor Lang

These are some of the code violations residents have received. They include overflowing trash, siding problems, unkempt yards, and outdated wiring. Over one hundred violations have been given to individuals in Midler Meadows over the past year.

More than one hundred residents may have to leave their homes if Midler Meadows Trailer Park in DeWitt does not get cleaned up.

A trailer that had to be evacuated because of code violations in Midler Meadows. (c) 2018 Taylor Lang

Individual residents are responsible for fixing these violations, but Midler Meadows resident William Stivers says money makes it difficult.

“They’re on a fixed income,” he explained. “The reason they live here is because it’s cheap.”

Officials at the Town of DeWitt are worried that people are living in unsuitable conditions. Samuel Gordon, the DeWitt director of zoning and planning, understands that renting and fixing the trailers costs money.

“The trailers are not in great shape, so it is hard to find people who are willing to live in those conditions,” he said. “I don’t think anyone should have to live that way.”

Stivers says that while most of the residents are trying their best to fix the neighborhood, others just don’t seem to care.

“A lot of people here…I mean, I watch them throw something on the ground,” he complained. “Or I’ll see something on the ground and they just keep walking over it.”

William Stivers realizes he has a hole in his own trailer at Midler Meadows. (c) 2018 Taylor Lang

Gordon is concerned that the trailer park is past fixing things. He explains that in order for people to gain suitable housing, moving out might be the best option.

“Our concern is for the safety of the people living there,” he said. “We want to make sure that they have decent but affordable housing options.”

Stivers believes that there is no way residents would be able to move out.

“They got nowhere to go,” he said. “I don’t have the money to move. And the next thing I would have to sell is [the trailer]. It’s so old. No one is going to buy it, and I can’t put it anywhere.”

 

But Stivers says there is hope.

“This is a nice place to live,” he

Trailers at Midler Meadows. (c) 2018 Taylor Lang

said. “It is quiet. We got rid of some of the troublemakers. The kids here are great. I am close to one of them and I teach him to take care of this place and get rid of the garbage if he sees it.”

DeWitt officials are trying to stay on top of the violations. They have an agreement in place where they are notified when the police are called to Midler Meadows. This allows them to enter the trailers to see the insides. Gordon says this is one step closer to finding a solution.

 

“We can get an opportunity to see inside the trailers and understand what the conditions are.”