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Mobile Home Park Damaged by Flooding to be Demolished

By Scott Stewart 

The Daily Record 

Bellevue – Nearly 200 mobile homes that were damaged or destroyed by floodwaters on March 19 are now slated for demolition this summer, although it’s unclear who will ultimately pay for it. 

The Bellevue City Council voted Tuesday to demolish the 194 mobile and modular homes at Paradise Lakes, located along Harlan Lewis Road on low-lying land hit hard by the March flood. 

The council declared the homes uninhabitable and ordered them to be demolished in early August. 

Two nearby levees, which also protected Offutt Air Force Base, were overwhelmed during the flood, causing significant damage to the Air Force Base and the surrounding area. Other structures in the area, such as the Jack Link’s facility, were also affected by the floodwaters. 

   People who owned their homes but rented the spaces underneath could face bills reaching into the thousands of dollars. 

   “I can’t afford to shell out that much money,” said Doug Muse after the council’s hearing on the matter, echoing the sentiment of many of residents who attended. 

   The landowner, Howard Helm, has told the city that he can’t cover the costs for razing the homes he rented out at Paradise Lakes, and the community isn’t eligible for federal money to help with demolition. 

   Cost estimates provided to council members totaled between $970,000 and $1,552,000. 

   Renters have expressed frustration about his lack of cooperation, leading several to contact Legal Aid of Nebraska about recouping unused rent and security deposits. Helm didn’t immediately reply to a message left Wednesday by The Associated Press. 

   Megan Lunsford, a single mother of four who is a former Paradise Lakes renter, told The Daily Record in April that she planned to sue the property manager with the help of Legal Aid. 

   “Everything was a loss,” she said. “Paradise Lakes up and ran.” 

   Jim Ristow, Bellevue’s city administrator, said it is possible that a lien will be placed on Helm’s land. But liens also could be placed against people who owned their homes. A final decision on liens hasn’t been made. 

   People who have loans on their homes should talk to lawyers and their lenders to determine how to proceed, Ristow said. 

   This report contains material from The Associated Press and The Daily Record’s Andy Roberts.

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