by Susan Mikula Campbell
"My house is paid for. ... I just finally paid it off in February this year. Now, I have somebody telling me they're going to take it out from under me," said Sabre Park Mobile Home Park resident Lynn Wyatt.
Wyatt was among a group of Sabre Park residents who attended the Town of Niagara Town Board meeting Monday night to ask for help dealing with a situation that will put them out of trailers that in some cases have been their homes for years.
The residents recently received notice that the mortgage for the mobile home park property, now owned by Sabre Park Associates LLC, exceeds $6 million and is currently in foreclosure. They also learned that the new owner of Fashion Outlets of Niagara on Military Road intends to purchase the property. The notice from Sabre Park told them only that the new owner "does not intend to maintain use of land as a mobile home park after closing," which is to "occur on or about Sept. 1."
So far, the residents said, they have no information on what will happen to them or their homes.
Town Supervisor Steve Richards said he so far has been given no information on the Sabre Park situation, although he does have a meeting scheduled for Aug. 29 with the California-based new owners of the mall, Macerich Niagara LLC.
Richards and the Town Board agreed to let the residents use either the Town Hall meeting room or the Recreation Center in Veterans Memorial Park to hold an informational meeting to discuss their options.
Shawn Weber, owner of Cayuga Village, also located in the town, announced that there was room available in his mobile home park and that he is willing to work with the residents of Sabre Park, if needed, on possible moves.
"We're just all a bunch of lost souls," said Joel Mosher, a resident of Sabre Park for seven years. "We don't know what's going on."
He said so far the residents haven't been able to get any answers on their fate from either Sabre Park management or new owners; nobody is returning phone calls.
"We don't know who we paid the rent to or where that rent is going," he said. "Are we really out on the street with nothing?"
Mosher has two children who attend Niagara-Wheatfield schools and there are many other children in the park. With school starting soon, the residents are worried their children will face being uprooted and sent to different schools. Some longtime residents own their trailers, but they have been in Sabre Park so long the trailers are embedded in the ground and can't be moved elsewhere. Some elderly residents are being made sick by stress, Mosher said. "We're losing our homes, and we don't know what to do."
In other matters:
•The board agreed to reject all bids for all five contracts for the Town of Niagara Community Center Project Phase III. Richards said the town will take another look at the project to try to figure out why bids came in higher than the estimates, tweak the project if necessary, and send it back out for bidding again.
•The board agreed to pay Harter Seacrest & Emery LLP for legal services relating to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's airport safety zone project. Richards said the NFTA plans to relocate a portion of Cayuga Creek at the east end of the runway near Walmore Road. The town wants to be sure an enlarged water retention area near the runway helps alleviate flooding from the creek into Cayuga Village.
•The board approved the use of Veterans Memorial Park for the annual Kidz 'n' Kites event on Sept. 17. Previously, the event was held in Reservoir Park.
•The board also allowed the use of Veterans Memorial Park's recreation building by Alan Stevens, R.N., to conduct a pediatric first aid/CPR class from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20, and 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27.
•The board approved the final site plan request of Shawn C. Schott for an outdoor rental storage facility surrounded by a 6-foot fence at 8555 Packard Road.
•The board approved the final site plan request of James Fittante for a 24-foot-by-64-foot addition to the existing NAPA Auto Parts store at 2450 Military Road. The approval included an agreement that the store would not plow mounds of snow in front of the business or on the sidewalks.
•The board approved the request of Jason Fuller and Chris Leone, owners of CJ's Midnight Auto Inc., for a special use permit to operate an auto repair shop at 5000 Saunders Settlement Road, Bay 2.