Willow Beach Trailer Park to shut down leaving dozens scrambling for a new home

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Willow Beach is a small community of trailers in Harrison County, many of its residents having lived there for decades.

“I have lived here at Willow Beach for just about 23 years,” said Linda Sturm.

But the future of the families in this neighborhood are in limbo as they all received a notice of lease termination in September notifying them they had just weeks to find a new home.

“People were flabbergasted. They just did not know what to do,” said Linda Carleo, a resident at the trailer park for the past 18 years.

Carleo has been battling cancer over the past few years. She has been out of work while being treated, but now faces a new challenge. It will cost her nearly $4,000 to move her trailer, or she was offered the option to sell it for a fraction of the buying price.

“It is just not fair what he is doing, it is just not fair,” said Carleo.

The deadline has since been extended, residents say they now have until December to clear out of the trailer park. Dennis Pritts, the COO and President of the Willow Beach operating company, Traxxsall LLC, says the decision was made after they received a notice of violation by the Department of Environmental Protection.

“We received a notice of violation on our sewage treatment plant. They advised us we had to add tertiary treatment, which is a third layer of treatment to our sewage plant. With that, we did our research and what-not on what cost would be involved with that, the minimum amount of cost on that would be 50-thousand dollars,” said Pritts.

He said the other option was to raise the rent on residents from $200-per month to nearly $1,000-per month, a price many residents would struggle to meet.

Now, residents face a challenge they were not expecting.

“I have been here 23 years, my god, I’ve got to move now. I’ve done retired,” said Sturm.

She says she will be moving in two weeks. She hired contractors to tear down her patio and now, at the age of 69, she is finding her new home.

“I am sick over it really. I just want to leave it all behind and walk away. Now I understand homeless. (...) But the lord will figure it out,” said Sturm.

Pritts says there is no plan for what to do with the property after everyone moves. He says the company will look at removing the sewage treatment plant.

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