RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today signed off on a $341,000 contract with a San Pedro-based demolition firm to ultimately handle the disposal of abandoned structures at a mobile home park condemned by the federal government.
National Demolition Contractors was selected by the county to remove run- down trailers and other eyesores left standing at the 40-acre Desert Mobile Home Park — better known as “Duroville” — on the Torres-Martinez Cahuilla Indian Reservation in Thermal.
The decades-old park, located at 68-800 Highway 195, was declared by a U.S. District Court judge in 2009 to be a public health and safety hazard because of its dilapidated condition. He placed the facility in federal receivership, appointed new managers and barred any new tenants on the grounds.
The process of relocating hundreds of existing residents to alternate living quarters has been continuing since that time.
Four years ago, the county began work on the Mountain View Estates, a sprawling trailer park with modern conveniences at Avenue 70 and Harrison Street in Oasis, for relocation purposes.
Many Duroville residents — mostly migrant farm workers and their families — are being given the option of purchasing new mobile homes at the site via the county’s Mobile Home Tenant Loan Program.
There are 181 spaces available at Mountain View. According to the county Housing Authority, once all occupants of Duroville are re-situated, the process of demolishing and hauling away the rotted single-wide trailers at Duroville can begin.
“The expense of doing this should’ve been borne by the federal government,” Supervisor John Benoit, whose district includes Thermal, told fellow supervisors today. “This is tribal land. The county should be reimbursed for removing and taking care of these hazardous materials and old dwellings.”
Benoit said he will press the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to offset the county’s costs.
According to Housing Authority documents, along with tearing down structures at Duroville, there may need to be a clean-up and containment of lead-based paint and asbestos at the park. That would entail spending upwards of $400,000.
The board reserved a total $800,000 to be tapped, as needed, for the entire operation.