Frontier trailer park in Amityville closing

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“Watch out for that tree”

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#1 Apr 6, 2011
Any comments or suggestions? This should be good.

After school, kids play in the streets. In the winter, greetings mix with complaints about snow while the young help the old shovel out. In the summer, the smell from barbecues fills the air as lawn chairs are pulled closer together.

It's life in Frontier Park in Amityville. "It's like any other neighborhood," said Jude Baunach, 46. "Everybody knows each other and helps each other out. It's like an old-time New York City community, but with trailers."

Residents in the 50-year-old mobile home park say they are getting to know each other better than ever, as they unite to fight a planned development that puts their homes at risk.

PHOTOS: Frontier Park homes and residents

In February, Frontier Park's residents were notified that it is "no longer feasible" to maintain the park on Route 110 and bring it up to modern fire and health codes. R Squared LLC, a developer owned by the principal owners of Rechler Equity Partners, has given Babylon Town a proposal to build apartment units on the site starting in 18 months. Twenty percent would be affordable housing and residents would be given first priority and credited six months of their current rent. Planning board approval is required; Town Supervisor Steve Bellone supports the plan.

There are 374 mobile homes in the park, with more than 500 residents. They buy their homes but rent the land on which they sit. Residents, who pay an average of $635 a month, call it one of the few affordable housing options left on Long Island.

Enclave of friends, family

Baunach, who has lived in the park for 13 years, said buying a mobile home was economical for her as a single person. "It's like owning a home without all of the maintenance and expense," she said. "But it's my home and I can do what I want, with a yard for my dogs and a garden for my vegetables."

Baunach owns a 12-by-60-foot home with green trim and green latticework. Her living room is simply decorated with sepia-toned photos of her grandmother and great-grandparents. In the center of the room are cages for her dogs, Harlie and Gracie -- one reason Baunach, who recently lost her truck-driver job, said it would be hard for her to move. Few apartments allow pets.

In the summer, she brings extra vegetables to Leah Oehrig, 80, who has a garden and two dogs, two cats and a canary. After moving from apartment to apartment, Oehrig came to the park in 1965. "It was paradise," she said.

The small plot of land was full of large stones when she moved in, Oehrig said, and she hauled them off and brought in topsoil. She still gets up at 6 a.m. every day when the weather permits to tend to the earth. "It just makes me feel good," she said.

Oehrig's garden, overflowing with lilies and other colorful perennials, has many fans, including neighbor Juan Gomez, 75, who calls her "the farmer."

The two look out for each other. Gomez helps fix things and explains paperwork for Oehrig, who said she suffers from Alzheimer's disease. She has him for dinner most nights in her home, where porcelain animals and teapots fight for space in curios that hang alongside Egyptian prints -- souvenirs from a lifetime of travel, said Oehrig, a former European American Bank manager.

"I don't want to move from here; this is my home," she said. "This is where I wanted to breathe my last breath."

“Watch out for that tree”

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#2 Apr 6, 2011
Continued -

Elvis Cortes' home defies what he says is the popular notion of trailers. Clean and full of light, the unit he bought for $20,000 is a comfortable home for his wife Mildred, 23, and children, Elvis Jr., 4, and Arielys, 2.

"When I'm here, it's not like I'm living in a trailer. I'm in a house, I've got my little backyard, I go to work, my kids go to school -- it's like anywhere on Long Island," he said.

Cortes, 26, grew up in Amityville, served in the Navy and now works in construction, where jobs are sporadic. Low rent is crucial. "I want to stay on Long Island," he said. "I've been here since I've been born and I have a lot of family here."

His parents, Nelson, 47, and Carmen, 48, live four houses over with two other children. Nelson, a North Amityville Fire Department volunteer, said aside from young families, most residents are disabled or seniors living on fixed incomes and "just barely making it."

Invested in community

Residents say Frontier has gotten a bad rap because some trailers, like the park's roads and fences, suffer from the elements and neglect. There once was open drug-dealing and prostitution, they said, but neighbors got police to step up their presence. County police statistics over the last five years support the claim: Annual reported crimes have dropped from 65 to 34.

Residents said they hoped their renovations were investments. But the odds of selling now are slim, they said. And despite developer offers of help on thousands of dollars of moving costs, there are few parks nearby, they said, and some homes may be too old to move.

When Jose Giraldo, 41, bought his place, it was little more than a burned-out shell. He put in wood floors, rebuilt the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, made closets and added an extension so his son and daughter could have their own tiny rooms. He even put a skylight in the kitchen.

Giraldo estimates he has sunk $25,000 into renovations. "It's not a lot to make a place comfortable to live," he said. Now, he said, his house may not be worth anything.
shameless-li

Denver, CO

#4 Apr 6, 2011
it might not be the ideal living situation for some, but for others it's all they got.
sorry to hear about another community being ruined so that the land owner and builder can re-build and force them out.
it's all about greed.
pete

Eastchester, NY

#5 Dec 12, 2011
i think its awfull cold that the leader of a town would allow so many people that found a place to love and live could be so heartless to his town people...these people work and spend money in the area and contribute sales tax as well as property tax some of these people put him in ofice and this is what they get in return.they should sit in town hall or in front of his house..upper class always uses the hard working lower class and then toses them aside..there are pleanty of vacant lots that drug dealers and adicts use thatthey could do this to these poor familys with kids and old people...there is more here then meets the eye
feel bad

Eastchester, NY

#6 Dec 12, 2011
how can a town leader do this to kids and old people with know thought...its a
rich babylon

Eastchester, NY

#7 Dec 12, 2011
some people can go to there nice warm home and not care about what they done to some familys.evil at its best
SIMMER DOWN

Monroe, NC

#8 Dec 12, 2011
pete, feel bad, rich babylon

Are there no prisons or workhouses?

-THE GREEDY RICH
townsmen

Eastchester, NY

#9 Dec 12, 2011
shouldent a town leader care aout the people in his town..rich or poor..these people have a right also there are pleanty of other spots this could have been done...i bet there is more going on here then the people know
SIMMER DOWN

Monroe, NC

#10 Dec 12, 2011
who cares about the 47%'ers of slackers who pay no federal income taxes yet get IRS checks thanks to corrupt politicians! Let them go pitch a tent at OWS.

-HAPPY YULETIDE
Denise

Amityville, NY

#11 Dec 14, 2011
I have lived in the park for almost 22 years, when I moved here with my 2 kids it was a dream come true for me..... I was a single parent and wanted to have alittle piece of that American Dream. I had my own little yard, I could do what I wanted with my place because it was mine. Over the years I have enjoyed my home, after all , its all I,ve got. The kids are grown and I am sad to think I will have to leave my home. My son has put a small pond in my yard, built a small deck and it has been my home.. I do understand the parks position but those of us who purchased our homes for many, many, thousands of dollars shouldnt have to just walk away. Would they like to do that ? I think not.
karen ruolph

Brooklyn, NY

#12 Jan 4, 2012
my boyfriend of 5 years invsted in this place with is 401k moey so my dog had a place to live needless to say when he got the letter he flpied out and left me with a mess.this is not my fault but i guess he blames it all on me,I was so upset like i did something wogng it was killing me that i lose a man i loved over this trailer park
Tenants

Lindenhurst, NY

#13 Jan 5, 2012
You are tenants. You rent. You must go.
Louis R Moran

Houston, TX

#14 Oct 28, 2012
I lived at the Frontier Mobile Home Park back when it was first opened. It used to be frontier theme park. We lived at 197 Hazel next to a exit . Their was a House next door . I am now 59 and have found memories living their for 6 years. Parents moved to LIndenhurst then to El Paso and I now live in Austin Texas. It was a sort of Home and we all new each other. I used to help the mailman during the summer months. Used to walk to the Soda fountain store down the sidewalk. We had a major power outage in 1962 and I was walking to the store. Wish someone has any pictures of the place before everyone leaves. ltdreamer@hotmail.com Moran
karen

AOL

#15 May 8, 2013
no we are not.we paided for our homes like you did.
John

Lindenhurst, NY

#16 Sep 21, 2013
I have lived at Frontier for 3 years.
Working class people - actually nicer than living in some towns where you just wave to your neighbor going to and from work.
the town of Babylon should fund cleaning the place and look into building more affordable housing on vacant land

Since: Oct 13

Miami, FL

#17 Oct 23, 2013
The kids are grown and I am sad to think I will have to leave my home.

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Since: Oct 13

Miami, FL

#18 Oct 23, 2013
The kids are grown and I am sad to think I will have to leave my home.
__________
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karen

AOL

#19 Oct 30, 2013
know we are not tentents we own your house like you still pay every month but we pay taxes.do you think it will be better when we leave.GOOD LUCK
karen

AOL

#20 Oct 30, 2013
I JUST HATE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SHIT TO SAY ABOUT WORKING CLASS PEOPLE TRYING TO GET BY,BUT IN A TRAILER PARK SO WE ARE TRASH.LOOK AT YOUR SELF AND THEN SEE THAT YOU ARE MEAN.!!!!!!!!!
Bud

Montréal, Canada

#21 Oct 30, 2013
Tenants wrote:
You are tenants. You rent. You must go.
You smoke an awful amount of pot and cigarettes you chimney freak.......now go get help loser.....lmfao

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