We asked and you answered. Since our investigation last week into the worst eyesores in the Bluegrass, we've had an overwhelming response from viewers. As we continue to investigate your leads, we learn how certain properties got to be the way they are and what it would take to fix the problems.
A viewer from Clark County pointed out a popular riverside area that has been plagued for years by a very big eyesore. Before it flooded, the abandoned mobile home park used to be a fun place to enjoy the Kentucky River. We're told a container at the entrance is full of materials to give the site a makeover, but like the property itself, it just sits there decaying.
For anyone driving along Athens Boonesboro Road, the abandoned mobile home park is a disturbing sight, and those living right next to it worry about what people may not see. "You have people going in and out of there," said Whitney Clouser, who lives next door, "I'm just afraid of people going in to look for stuff to steal, and that's right by my house. I'm afraid of my well-being, my safety."
A quick check with the county property valuation administrator can tell you who owns a property, but what can you do about it? "I don't know who to call, actually," Clouser said, "Gary Epperson, I think is who we were going to call. He's something in Clark County."
In fact, Epperson is the Winchester-Clark County Emergency Management Director. "It's not that we're ignoring it, or we're not doing anything with it. We are," Epperson said.
Since the May, 2010 flood, Epperson has been working with the property owners. "Initially the property owners were going to go back in and try to put the trailers back together," Epperson explained, "Well, when you have trailers and mobile homes that get a certain amount of water in them, they're destroyed."
That's why local officials applied for grant money to buy the property and clear the area. Epperson says if FEMA approves the deal, it will be a win-win for all because the owners will unload a money pit, and no one will be living there when the next flood hits. "We can have some green space. We can actually put a little park down there," Epperson said, "We've talked with Boy Scouts and Girl Scout troops that are going to keep it mowed for us, put some walking trails, put some native species grasses and stuff back in there."
"There's not much traffic on the river anymore," Clouser said, "If we did a green space or something, we could get people down here."
Despite whatever is in that container at the entrance to the park, eventually the trailers will have to go, but most agree, the empty space that remains will be a welcome change.
Epperson says the grant approval process has already taken more than twice the usual 120 days. He says that's because of the high number of disasters FEMA is addressing. In the meantime, Epperson expects crews to be at the site next week to mow the grass and begin cleaning the property.
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