East Cape Girardeau village leaders vote to condemn mobile home park, other areas

Families lose East Cape homes to flood damage

EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, Ill. (KFVS) - The Village of East Cape Girardeau leaders met to determine the fate of several areas in East Cape Girardeau, Ill.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, six village board members all voted ‘Yes’ to condemn the mobile home park, all of the A-frame homes, the East Cape campground, and the Sugar Shack restaurant formerly known as the Tiki Hut.

Village Trustee Jason Tubbs says the decision affects 28 families who rented and owned the properties.

East Cape Girardeau village leaders vote to condemn mobile home park, other areas

After the flood, inspectors with IEMA did not go inside the homes because there were signs the floors of the trailers were crumbling and black mold was growing inside.

“Everything is uninhabitable,” Tubbs said. “It looks like a bomb went off inside the Sugar Shack. The floor is ripped up, the water toppled appliances, the is mold growing on every fixture from the bar to the lights, and moving forward we could not say it was OK to occupy these spaces.”

According to Tubbs, if someone owns their trailer, they can move it off the campground. But, the rented trailers and land are now in the hand of the property owner. Village leaders cannot force the owner to remove the trailers or do anything in specific with the land.

“The whole board, we hesitated. But then when we thought about the safety of our people and our due diligence as elected officials is to watch out for the safety of our people and the concerns, I think that we met that due diligence," said Tubbs.

It’s been two months since people were forced to evacuate their mobile homes and they still cannot return home at this time.

Heather Fritz says she had 16 inches of water inside her trailer when the flooding was at it’s worst. She and her 7-year-old son have been displaced since May.

“We had one day to evacuate and our power was turned off," Fritz said. “We lost everything. I paid $9,000 for a trailer that is now ruined with all of my stuff in it.”

Shirley Clifford has lived at the East Cape trailer park for more than three decades. She feels like the neighborhood was forgotten during the flood.

“They should have helped us in the mobile home park. We are not just trailer people, we are humans," Clifford said. "They didn’t offer sandbags or anything and the water just kept coming and coming. I would hate to lose my collection of about 400 recipe books, and I want my pictures yeah.”

Fortunately for Clifford, she had insurance and after her home is inspected she plans to move her trailer out and salvage what she can.

Tubbs says the decision was hard to make but hopes it will allow those affected to move forward with the recovery effort.

“We did not take this decision lightly as you can saw. We now know that we have lost people that we valued,” Tubbs said. "The burden now does go to them and they have to figure out what their next step is. Are they going to move their trailer? Are they going to pay to have it salvaged?”

While these condemned homes can not be occupied the renters and owners can still get their belongings out at their own risk.

“If you think about 28 families. It can be a family or two, it can be a family of five. Those people are not in our population. To see even one resident leave east cape is just heartbreaking," said Tubbs.

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