|Faith remains as residents of Seminole Estates dismantle their lives.|
Five weeks ago, the Seminole Tribe of Florida took control of the management of the community and announced the June 30, 2013 closing of the residential community that was originally intended to operate until 2024. Within 24 hours of the STOF's public decision, all recreational amenities and meeting facilities were padlocked. Homeowners, already saddened and angered by the eviction, rendered even more powerless, robbed of any air-conditioned common space where they might commiserate and potentially gather strength to refute the act.
|Diane Gannett: "They're tearing us apart."|
|Bud and John help Diane dismantle the shed addition.|
|Marilyn will spend $2,500 at an extended stay hotel while her home is relocated. The hotel can accommodate her cats too.|
|Sounds of jack hammering fill the air as Marilyn's porch is about to go down.|
Signs of exodus are not only evident in the rubble, they are literally staked into the ground as manufactured home communities in Broward and Palm Beach counties recruit homes for empty lots. Communities such as Coral Cay in Margate, Country Knolls in Pompano, and Rexmere Village in Davie are striking deals that lessen the financial burden on the displaced residents while simultaneously meeting lot occupancy needs. Coral Cay manager Eric Toledo is offering up to $25,000 for relocation plus a few other perks in exchange for each homeowner's promise to keep their home on the lot for 10 years. Homes must first pass inspection. So far Toledo has placed over 30 homes, one of which belongs to Kathy Maynard, the first Seminole Estate resident that I met and now a new friend.
|Signs of mass exodus: Lakeshore has an office at Seminole Estates and offers complimentary shuttles to its Pompano Beach community twice a day.|
While Diane, Marilyn, and Kathy are proactive and own homes built after 2000, there are plenty of others whose lives still hang in the unknown. Many of these folks own old homes (one of my favorites below) which are more prone to damage in a move. And some communities won't accept these older homes anyway. Tim Kirby, manager at Deerfield Lake in Coconut Creek, says "For us to move a home it has to be wind zone 3 and that means it has to be a 1995 or newer." Tim has placed 2 Seminole Estates homes in his community which was practically full to capacity at the time of the eviction.
At the pop-up Lakeshore Community office here at Seminole Estates, Bunnie is minding the desk. She is friendly and open. This is not her usual gig, but Bunnie is a seasoned land-leasing pro and now a self-confessed consoler. "I listen, I feed them, and they usually leave in a better mind set. They're not angry at us," says Bunnie who assists people through the overwhelming process of moving a manufactured home. Bunnie continues, "I've seen it all, but nothing like this. These people are not beggars; they just need some help."