Road conditions at Mimosa park cause difficulty to EMS

Published 7:46 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

The ride down the unpaved, gravelly Ricks Street in Mimosa Mobile Home Park is a bumpy one. Severe potholes and a swath of mud prevent easy passage.

The conditions, which can be an inconvenience to travellers, are also an obstacle to emergency response, according to a spokesperson for the Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department and Broad Creek EMS, who requested to remain anonymous.

Emergency vehicles risk incurring thousands of dollars of damage by entering the mobile home park, according to the spokesperson.

“Bunyan Fire Department, along with Broad Creek EMS, views this as a serious problem that continues to get worse,” he said.

Mimosa Mobile Home Park owner Scott Williamson, however, said it is a tough situation to improve with heavy rains and traffic.

“It’s been an unusually wet spring,” he said. “There’s probably 300 cars a day that drive through there.”

According to Williamson, if he paved the roads, cars speeding through the area could endanger the young children who play in the streets.

Washington Fire Chief Robbie Rose shared similar concerns with Bunyan and Broad Creek, saying he believes the roads do need repaving and resurfacing to have that “ideal situation” for emergency vehicles.

However, repairing the roads is a tougher fix than it may seem, as jurisdictional ambiguity complicates the picture.

The mobile home park is located off River Road and spans one entrance across Mac Jones Seafood and another behind Moody Mart, about half a mile north of Coastal Mini Storage.

The location of the privately owned mobile home park puts it in the City of Washington’s planning and zoning area, but not in the response area of Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS. Bunyan VFD and Broad Creek EMS handle its emergency response, according to Rose.

John Rodman, director of planning and development for the City of Washington, explained that the mobile home park was developed prior to its annexation by the city in 1985.

“When the mobile home park was developed it had very little guidelines and standards to go by,” Rodman said. “Once we took them over, they still were allowed to keep those standards and we can’t make them upgrade.”

Rodman went on to say that the city can only encourage the property owner to upgrade the roads and make improvements, since the mobile home park is privately owned.

“Nobody really has the legal authority” to fix the roads, according to City Councilman Doug Mercer.

“Within the past year, we’ve been trying to work some with the property owner to correct some of that because of the difficulty of emergency vehicles coming out of there,” Rose said.

Williamson said the roads’ conditions are improving. He also pointed out that several other mobile home parks in the area are facing similar conditions.

Rodman, however, said he believes the owner could be held liable if an emergency were to happen in the area and emergency vehicles were damaged, though he hopes it would never come to that.

“In order to make a change, some of the residents would have to get involved and say, ‘Look, we’re tired of these conditions and we’d like for you to fix them,’” he said. “We can continue to encourage the owner to do that, but we can’t actually enforce it.”