Woman says family being ‘forced out of Lake City’ by community development group

LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – About three months ago, more than 50 Lake City families were told they had 60 days to move from their homes. The deadline is Wednesday.

The Greater Lake City Community Development group plans to build affordable housing units at the Wedgefield Mobile Home Park, where 50 families once placed their trailers, and their lives.

Many of the homes are no longer on the property, forced to move after receiving a letter in June saying they had 60 days to remove the mobile homes from the plot of land. Families say 60 days was not enough time.

Dozens of families in Wedgefield say they feel like they are being forced out their homes and Lake City.

“We’re being forced out of Lake City because everywhere you go to try to find a piece of land, it’s either ‘no’ or it’s not for sale. It’s not for rent,” explains Stella Montgomery.

Montgomery says it been a nightmare trying to move after The Greater Lake City Community Development organization purchased the land in June.

Just one month after receiving the letter advising her she had to move, Montgomery was laid off from her job.

“They’ve done so much to us,” expresses Montgomery. “I’m ready to go but we are just asking for time so we can get the money up to go – to find somewhere to go. You just can’t jump up and move. It takes money.”

Steve Gantt, Director of the Community Development Office, is also the former Columbia City Manager. He says after the land is cleared, the group plans to build affordable housing units.

“If you’ve been through Wedgefield you will notice that there are a number of trailers out there that are vacant. Some have been burned out. It’s really a bad environment,” said Gantt. “We feel like if we can get everybody that can move and go back in with permanent housing that will improve that area.”

Montgomery says people in the area should not be punished for the area’s reputation.

“They come to the area and they do things. If they move us from over here they will go someplace else and do it,” she explained.

Gantt says Wednesday is the deadline for people to move. Legal action will be taken against residents who refuse to relocate, Gantt confirms.

“We’ve waited until October,” clarifies Gantt. “We still have a number of folks that really haven’t made any move towards finding another location.”

Montgomery says her family is not moving because they have nowhere to go.

“We wish more people would come out, support us, and help us, because it’s really bad for us,” voices Montgomery.

Residents from the mobile home park went to the Lake City Council meeting Tuesday night to ask city leaders yet again to work with the group to help extend the deadline.

To ease some of the burden, city officials approved a resolution to waive a $100 permit fee associated with moving mobile homes for people moving from Wedgefield.

If people relocate a mobile home within the city limits, they generally must pay the $100 fee for inspection.

“It’s not much that we can possibly do in this situation. But we want them to know that we are trying to help those in a dire situation. It’s not much but we are trying to help as much as we can,” said Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr.