A bank of snow Sunday at Elk Ridge Mobile Home Park. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
The intersection at the entrance to the Elk Ridge Mobile Home Park is still piled high Sunday afternoon. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
While the New Year’s heavy snowfall in Los Alamos caused concern and frustration throughout the community, it seems to have deeply affected many residents of Elk Ridge Mobile Home Park on East Jemez Road.
Residents of Elk Ridge began contacting local media sources Jan. 2 when they became worried about the depth of snow on roads within the park and their inability to leave their homes. Residents reported that the former maintenance person at the park had attempted to clear the roads with a plow attached to a pick-up truck but that it only put a dent in the amount of snow that fell during the storm.
The same maintenance person was also assisting residents to remove snow from their roofs where it was blocking vents and there were fears of roof collapse from the weight of the snow. By Friday evening he reportedly had had enough and quit.
On Sunday afternoon, the Los Alamos Reporter visited Elk Ridge and observed the amount of snow piled up throughout the park. While it was comparable to other areas of Los Alamos, there was still great concern about the access by emergency fire and medical services and the inability for regular vehicles to move through the park.
Throughout the park, residents expressed their frustration about the lack of response and communication from YES Communities officials about the situation. A sign posted on the door of the office said it was closed due to memorial services and would reopen Jan. 7.
Over the weekend, some residents pooled their financial resources and hired LeRoy’s Excavating to move snow at the park so that people could drive in and out. Dale Salazar told the Los Alamos Reporter Monday that his company was headed over to try to move snow for another group of people who had raised more money to pay for the company’s services.
Salazar said he was shocked at the snow conditions throughout the community and couldn’t remember seeing that much snow for 14 years. He said the situation could have been very dangerous at Elk Ridge if people at the park had an emergency.
In addition to the snow issue, several residents said their lot rent had been increased by $40 to $610. A notice sent out with the November 2018 billing statements said, “Sign up for electronic funds transfer and your rent increase of $40 becomes only $25. Please visit our office to find out the details”. They also complained that there is rarely anyone at the office, even during posted office hours.
In response to an email from the Los Alamos Reporter Monday, Elk Ridge manager Tina Jones called the Reporter and gave her side of the story. She said she had made several attempts following the storm to have a company come to move snow and that the maintenance man had plowed and shoveled as much as he could and removed snow from the roofs of residents.
Jones said the memorial service referred to was for her father and that she had hoped to attend electronically but never got the opportunity. She said even though the office was closed, she continued to work behind the scene looking for a company to clear the snow even though it may have appeared that nothing was being done.
Jones also said the flyers pertaining to the lot rent increase were sent to her from higher up in Yes Communities with instructions to deliver them to residents. She cited a staff shortage at the park and apologized for “letting the community down”.
An immediate response was not received from Kim Kurz, South Central Division Vice President for YES Communities who responded to questions in June 2018 about other issues at the property.