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Residents uneasy as violations stack up at park

December 21, 2014

A central Indiana mobile home park has racked up numerous violations over the last 18 months, prompting residents to boil their water and shower elsewhere because of concerns about contamination.

But state officials say they won't shut down the Centre Grove Estates in Greenwood unless the park's management stops making progress on the violations.

Residents, many of whom stay in the run-down park for financial reasons, say they're afraid for their health.

"I'm scared to death to take a bath or shower in my water. I can't do the normal things normal people do in their own home. They have live electric on the lot, and I talked to my granddaughter, and I'm scared to death for her to go out and play," resident Debra Rice told the Daily Journal of Franklin.

The mobile home community has received more complaints than any other neighborhood in Johnson County, according to county health department administrator John Bonsett. A state inspector has issued 10 reports since June 2013, each of which includes multiple problems.

"We get complaints on all neighborhoods, every place or subdivision. But with just looking at mobile home communities, this one is way out there by itself," Bonsett said.

An April inspection found 28 violations at the park. In October, the state cited the community for a water leak, loose, broken or missing caps for sewer risers that could back up or overflow, 18 lots in a flood zone that haven't had electrical service removed and unused fire hydrants that were left lying on the ground. Three homes weren't secured to prevent people or animals from getting inside.

Mike Mettler, director of environmental public health for the Indiana State Department of Health, said the state has the option of shutting down the park or choosing not to renew its license the next time it expires because of the violations. But that would displace hundreds of residents, many of whom, like Rice, can't afford to move.

Some of the violations found by the state have been addressed, but others, such as unsafe electrical service and improperly sealed sewer pipes, remain.

Property managers did not respond to a request for comment.

Mettler said Center Grove Estates has had three managers in 18 months and said the current managers are making better progress on repairs to the park, which can accommodate 500 mobile homes but is only about half full.

"It's just a matter of having such old infrastructure and it's a large mobile home community. Another critical thing is when they do make these repairs, they do them properly and do them to the best of their abilities," Mettler said.

Rice hasn't seen a difference. She said that when she turns on her faucet, the water often smells like sewage. Water breaks are becoming more frequent, and boil orders are almost continuous, she said.

"We don't know what else to do," Rice said. "I just don't understand why they don't shut it down."

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