Bulldozing begins

Hoppers mobile home park being demolished after months-long saga
Courtney Astolfi
Nov 16, 2013

 

Families uprooted, homes abandoned, money stolen and lives changed.

The saga of how Hoppers mobile home park fell into chaos after owner Joe Yost allegedly allowed water bills to go unpaid for years appears to be coming to a close.

On Friday, a lone excavator began clearing the Venice Road property of the remnants of the lives of those who once called it home.

Yost, who allegedly collected money from residents for water services but never paid the city, was arrested in October on two counts of felony theft. He bonded out of jail within just two hours to return to the comfort of his Catawba Island home.

His predominantly low-income tenants enjoyed no such luxury.

Dozens of former Hoppers residents were flushed from their homes after city officials turned off water access Aug. 1, citing the $260,000 bill Yost accrued between 2008 and 2013.

And now, the mobile homes many were forced to leave behind are being bulldozed.

Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci chose Herbst Excavating for the job, which should be complete in about five days or less.

The cleanup process comes after Ricci cited Yost for multiple fire code violations related to the property’s state of disarray.

On Wednesday the company will begin filling trash bins and hauling debris away. Only concrete slabs embedded in the ground will remain when they’re through, Ricci said.

City officials had three options when it came to assuming control of the property for cleanup efforts, law director Don Icsman said.

They could have moved the process through the courts, or they could have cited emergency conditions so they could get onto the property without Yost’s permission.

They went with the third and final option: ask Yost himself for approval to access the property.

On Oct. 30, Icsman sent a waiver form to Yost’s attorney, asking for access to Hoppers mobile home park to clear the site, Icsman said.

“We had contact with the owner’s attorney and we have what we need to move forward,” Ricci said Wednesday.

Herbst’s cleanup will cost $5,000, while rented trash bins will cost “no more than $9,500,” according to a proposal included in the waiver sent to Yost.

The city will use block grant funds to foot the bill. That money will hopefully be recovered after the city places a priority lien on Yost’s property, Ricci added.

Comments

doppleganger

Will a lien also be put on the Apex property so taxpayers can recoup that money?

The Bizness

Apex was torn down with the help of grant money. ( I know tax dollars are part of what grants are made of)

Tearing down massive, unusable industrial buildings to make property available for redevelopment is a great use of tax dollars in my opinion.

From the Grave

A better use than killing innocent people in other countries, for sure.

doppleganger

You are correct, but we also put up more money than the grants.

In December, Sandusky officials obtained a $1.09 million state grant to jump-start the project.

Famous Realty of Cleveland, which owns the land, contributed $323,000, while city taxpayers are fronting the remaining $45,000.

lugnut2511

I gotta love how the water department has handled this case. I know people who were like maybe tow months behind on their water bill n had it shut off until the bill was paid in full. How is it they can let Yost go this long without taking action. Mistakes like these are why cities are in trouble, very bad management.. Not saying clearing that corner is such a bad idea to begin with, but all the people that lost everything can blame the city as well as Yost

Licorice Schtick

I thought Yost was a City employee.

Darwin's choice

And, there are allegedy guilty city empolyees who let this farce go on..!

pavedparadise

This is how the City of Sandusky has and always will do business.

A lien may be placed on the property, as Ricci suggests, but will be forgiven once a developer shows interest and you can take it too the bank.

Darkhorse

What a mess! I am sure there is a developer waiting in the wings for this prime property. The city created a bigger problem by looking the other way when the problem could have been addressed a long time ago and now it will cost the city money to clean this property up.

Truth or Dare

Have a gut instinct that was the plan all along. Went down to the city building one day recently to pay a past due waterbill for someone, water that had been turned off. I commented regarding this situation. You know what I was told? "Whether or not there are young children in the home, the City can't discriminate". Riiiiiiiiiiight. They did here for 5 yrs. easy, at the cost of hundreds of 1000's of $$$$'s, people literally ran out of their homes and at the expense of all City Taxpayers. They wonder why there are those that won't vote for and support a raise in the Income Tax?! Just another good reason, so wonder no more!