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Posted on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Judge orders demolition of 2 more deteriorating Ypsilanti Township trailer parks

By Tom Perkins

Two more troubled Ypsilanti Township trailer parks soon will be a bad memory for the township.

Owners of two parks had walked away from them in February as they lost the properties to tax foreclosure. That left the parks’ residents - many of whom were financially unable to relocate - living in seriously deteriorating conditions.

Since then, the Washtenaw County Treasurer’s Office has been paying utilities for residents in the parks at 2590 E. Michigan Ave. and the other is at 117 S. Harris Road, just south of the Ford Boulevard bridge over East Michigan Avenue.

On July 16, Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Donald Shelton gave an emergency order authorizing the township to demolish all the remaining mobile homes in each park and clear the land of any structures or utility infrastructure. The parks were owned by WOC Realty.

At its July 23 meeting, the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a request by township staff to seek bids on the jobs, which are estimated at close to $100,000 for both.

"It's just a real mess and a real problem, which is why we went to court," Mike Radzik, director of the township's office of community standards, told the board.

All residents have been relocated and the properties were in the Washtenaw County Treasurer’s Office foreclosure auction. Neither property sold, and now they will go to the no-minimum-bid auction in August.

Township officials said they were often unable to determine which trailers were inhabited and which were abandoned as they monitored the situation throughout the past six months. Many of the trailers had been gutted and torn apart by scrap metal thieves, and one had its roof completely torn off.

Washtenaw County Sheriff County deputies regularly respond to situations at the park, as recently as July 22. Officials said a fire was started by squatter earlier in the year, and they feared that the park could continue to attract more squatters.

One unit in particular on the Michigan Avenue property was packed with garbage from floor to ceiling throughout much of the trailer, and garbage was spilling out the front door in February.

Later that month, officials received a report that the drinking water at the Michigan Avenue park was contaminated.

Ypsilanti Township Attorney Doug Winters expressed anger with how the mobile home parks’ owners handled the situation. He called some of the trailers “death traps” and said the conditions at the parks were attracting scrap thieves and other criminals.

“They showed no regard for human welfare or the residents' well-being,” Witners said.

The order also allows the township to send the cleanup bill to WOC Realty.

“We’re going to get the parks cleaned up but at the same time hold the owners responsible,” Winters said.

Winters said it was the first time he had seen a local municipality and county treasurer working together on such a situation and questioned why the state continues to fail in overseeing mobile home park owners.

"Someone has to hold the mobile home park commission accountable," he said. "You can't just have mobile home parks with no oversight when these things implode."

The township also is closely monitoring a third trailer park.

In January, Wasthenaw County Circuit Judge Archie Brown ordered Greenbriar Mobile Home Park owner Gerald Burton to remove the abandoned trailers from the park, located at 2500 Holmes Road between Holmes and East Michigan Avenue, by Feb. 25.

Winters said the owner of that park has complied and the park remains in operation, though many trailers were cleared.



Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

This kind of classless warfare on blight and trailers must stop! You wouldn't throw trash in the street would you?


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 10:44 a.m.

It was real nice when it first went in. Then it changed hands and greed set in. Then it went downhill all the way. Glad to see it gone.

Doug Post

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

Its about time they started holding the property owners responsible for the demolition and clean up. I think we would all rather see "green space" versus blight.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

UPPS you missed the corner dowtwon ypsi ABES Coney Iland ..since 2005 vacant and condemted ..


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Detroit just got some money to clean up their blight. They said by the end of September 1500 homes will be demolished and gone. Channel 4 sent a reporter out to see this and said they were impressed with the clean up too. Nice. So yes, Detroit and Ypsilanti are cleaning up our blight. Is Ann Arbor?

Joe Payer

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

I love that they are working on blight in the area, but they just cant run the poor off into the streets! If you can afford to pay all these county workers to run around a sip coffee all day, you surely can start a program to help homeowners rehab their houses before they get to this point!!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

According to our last neighborhood watch meeting, our CAT mentioned that they are going after the Johns and not the prostitutes. Fining them more so then the the hookers. They said they have made a dent in the hookers and Johns who go after them. We are cleaning up our population, now maybe Jackson should drop them off at the border? I heard Indiana has room. Remember now Jackson has the prison. Interesting.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

According to the article the residents were all relocated. Nobody was run off into the streets.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

The Jackson police chief said in public that that city drops off vagrants in AA city limits. I think it's high time City of Ypsi did the same, especially for the prostitutes: the customers are from AA anyway. Lets get Wheeler Park back to Wheel-n-Deal Park!!


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Well, then Ann Arborites, what about your temt city? Can't run them off can we? Lets not call the kettle black here folks. We are not running them off but then we like Ann Arbor can't help everyone now can we? So, if you are willing? We will send them on to Ann Arbor since you folks love them and have a place for them. Nuff said.

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

When did it become illegal to be poor in Ypsilanti? Demolitions, re-purposing apartments, rent hikes these are the real weapons of class warfare.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:24 p.m.

Rent hike at $ 20. a months yearly since 2005

Ben Petiprin

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:09 a.m.

That would be the argument if the park was being fixed up, or even if the residents were moved to a new place. So far, I've only heard that people have been "relocated." Sub-par housing beats no housing whichever way you look at it. That excuse about "unfit to live in" pops up all the time, but what alternative is presented. There's no regard to where people will move as long as it's away from the last place. It's like even your existence is offensive to some people. It doesn't make sense in hard times.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

There are certain minimum standards that must be met in order to qualify as housing, methinks.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

The township has a tough job and it looks like they are handling it well. Bravo


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

On behalf our township? We say Thank You! Neighborhood Watches work wonders don't they?


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Any chance we can get Judge Shelton to rule on the Georgetown Mall property in Ann Arbor? Nobody here seems to be able to do anything about it.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

I'm with you, DNB. The 4th ward needs some new blood. The "dynamic duo" ain't cutting it.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

Brad, Remember, Margie secured that $1 M grant from the DEQ for the demolition. Oh wait, how could I forget, no developer financing within 120 days of the grant. Let's hope Jack defeats her in the primary, and we see some action in the 4th ward!


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

If he was on our block? We would see that gone too. Give him a call, can't hurt.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

All of these parks were "rough" when I worked in the area 20 years ago. "Affordable housing" may be a true statement, but is it desirable housing? Many years of neglect have contributed to the current conditions. It's nice to see the township finally taking action.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Agreed. The park was rough too. People found very questionable things there and as that park goes away? So does the riff raff. I am hearing they, as I said above, will try to make it into an extension of that park under the bridge.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

More "Affordable Housing" lost!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:31 a.m.

Don't worry, Ann Arbor will create more right down town.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

Isn't it great. :)

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

I was with you until the Bain Capital comment. Please refrain from slandering companies that risked millions of dollars to remake local companies like Dominos and accordingly assist in maintaining Washtenaw County at a five percent unemployment rate.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

I agree. Can't find that one either. Glad to hear they are getting rid of blight. This area has had a lot of drug problems especially at that park. Us as residents in the area want it cleaned up. We have asked it become a park or part of that park and this totally razed. Glad to hear it is finally being done. I have driven by it and noticed it is almost empty. The county needs to completely eliminate mobile home parks and never add them again. After hearing about numerous fires? Scary.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Just where did you see Bain Capitol mentioned?

Elijah Shalis

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

Bain was only nice to Dominos because its former owner is a friend.