SCRANTON -- Residents of a troubled mobile home park in Lackawanna County said Wednesday they now have hope that they will be able to stay in their homes. That looked doubtful last week when the park's water was shut off.
This time last week, it was looking like the 44 families who live at Valley View Estates in Archbald would have to leave because the park's manager hadn't been paying the water bill and was behind bars.
The manager's mother and brother met with residents and Lackawanna County officials Wednesday and told everyone they are working on turning things around.
Margaret Barrett and John Egan, a mother and son from Florida, sat in a crowded meeting room in Scranton and listened to how Lackawanna County officials stepped in to try to save the mobile home park the family owns.
Lackawanna County bailed out the owners last week, making a minimum payment to restore water to Valley View Estates.
Their son and brother, Eugene Egan, is the only manager the residents at Valley View ever knew of. He's locked up in the Berks County Jail.
"I think it's important for everybody to realize that John Egan and his mother really have not been running the park up to this point. They're here. I think they are being accountable certainly by repaying the county back the money," Archbald Borough Solicitor James J. O'Connor said during the meeting.
The owners did not want to speak with Newswatch 16 on camera but told everyone at the meeting they plan to start paying outstanding utility bills.
The park residents saw that as a sign of good faith. They have 30 days to make arrangements with the water company or the trailers could be condemned.
"We will do whatever it takes and support Ms. Barrett and her son because this is where we live. I don't know what else to say, and that's not just me, that's everybody that sits here. We all feel the same way. These are our homes, our families," said Valley View Estates resident Sharon Williams.
County officials said they do not plan to make any more payments for Valley View Estates, and that they only did so last week to avoid what they say could have been a human services crisis.
Residents said the county's intervention has helped.
"A lot of the questions that everybody had were answered today, finally, after how long of going through all this. It's not the first time without water, but hopefully now it will change now that he's (John Egan) back and Ms. Barrett's back," added resident Amanda Miller.
The owners of Valley View Estates said, aside from the water bill, they have several issues to iron out including six trailers that are currently without power and thousands of dollars in back taxes that are owed.