Photo by Ted Lohr
Water surrounds a home in the Mallard Lake mobile home park in Pontoon Beach. Some residents came back to the park after the flooding to find eviction notices because of late payments, but the park’s owner has since taken a more accommodating stance.
PONTOON BEACH — Carol and Chuck Westbrook say they were happy their Mallard Lake mobile home wasn’t flooded when they returned Jan. 6.
“It came up to our deck,” Carol said. “We didn’t get it in our house, so we were the lucky ones.”
Adding insult to injury, some residents returning to the park were greeted with eviction notices taped to their doors because of late rent payments.
Those notices apparently are not being enforced. The Westbrooks are just happy no one in Mallard Lake is getting evicted.
“I just called the regional manager to confirm and no evictions have been processed at all,” said Dave Hale, regional vice-president of operations of RHP Properties, which owns the park. “We’re very understanding, knowing that people have gone through this flood.”
The Westbrooks and other Mallard Lake residents left the park after heavy rain hit the neighborhood Dec. 26, causing massive flooding. Carol Westbrook said she and her husband were away for eight days.
“The power went out the first day,” she said. “We didn’t know it was going out. It was the first night here without the power on. We had a fireplace, but it got too cold. The next day, they advised us to get out of here.
“The flood was taking people out by boat. We barely got our car out of here. We had to load up really quick. We lost everything in our refrigerators and our freezers. We couldn’t get them out. We had no place to take them to.”
Hale said residents who struggled to pay their rent on time during the evacuation had their fees waived.
“The regional manager has been waiving probably all of the late fees for anybody who was late because of the flood,” Hale said. “We also have been taking payment plans, where people need to pay so much now and pay the rest later.
“We’ve been very accommodating, trying to work with everybody, knowing what people went through out there. For the ones who don’t have 100 percent of the money, we worked out a payment plan with them, where they can pay part now and part later, which we don’t normally do. You have to pay the whole amount, but in this case we’re trying to work with every single person out there.”
Hale said there were no damages in the neighborhood.
“The one thing that’s nice with these homes is they’re actually on blocks and they’re raised off the ground,” Hale said. “As far as we know, no one has reported any damages to the homes.”
Hale said electricity was immediately cut off when the flood hit the neighborhood.
“The utility company had to call and shut the power off in the community because all of the transformers were on the ground, so they had to be shut down,” he said. “To my understanding, power has been restored to the community.”
The Westbrooks have been living in the Mallard Lake neighborhood for 10 years. A large lake sits across the street from their home on Mallard Drive.
“We have a nice view,” Carol said.
Carol said she never expected the neighborhood would be flooded.
“We didn’t think anything like this would happen,” she said. “It was devastating to lose that much, especially since we didn’t have flood insurance. We couldn’t afford flood insurance because it was too expensive. We have homeowner’s, but we don’t have flood insurance because we were kind of reassured that there’s never been a problem out here, so we didn’t get it. It’s one of those things.”
Cloretta Robinson said her home on Osprey Lane wasn’t flooded, but she heeded an evacuation notice after the water reached the top of her driveway.
“We went to my daughter’s in Wood River and I was there for four nights,” said Robinson, who has been living in the neighborhood for seven years.
The Village Green and Lakeshore Estates neighborhoods also evacuated residents because of flooding.
RHP Properties is based in Farmington Hills, Mich., a Detroit suburb. Founded in 1988, RHP Properties is one of the nation’s largest private owner and operators of manufactured home communities, having $3.38 billion in owned and operated assets in 23 states and 900 employees.