From patching potholes to illegal dumping, work is underway to clean up an embattled trailer park.
After residents lodged complaints last year, Glasgow Court was slapped with a number of code violations from New Castle County code enforcement due to conditions in the park.
A shuttered section of the back of the park turned into a vacant lot that became overgrown and an easy target for illegal dumping.
"You'll get different kinds of debris, because people start dumping in that area; there's not only tree debris, but tires, other pieces of metal, mattresses, everything you can imagine...many of them from outside the park, who would come into the park, and it's just an easy area that's not being kept like it should, and it's a good way for people to dispose of things," said Jim Smith, assistant land use manager for New Castle County.
The long-shuttered Glasgow Drive has also reopened after three years. County officials had been working to reopen it, but a state lawmaker got DelDOT to open the roadway earlier.
Friday, January 18, 2019, county officials walked the park along the property manager and Kelli DiSabatino's attorney, David Zerbato, to observe what's been done and what's still left to accomplish. DiSabatino did not attend the walk-through.
"We saw that they had made repairs to the fencing to Sparrow Run...there were holes in the fence that people were using to get through the communities...we also saw that they erected a barrier to keep people from using the [utility] easement that runs through the two communities," said Smith.
Glasgow Court maintenance has also put out dumpster to take care of debris, county officials said.
"Most of the debris, including the oil drums, water heaters, different kinds of metal had been removed; there was a little bit of debris left, there was some tree debris left, some dead trees," said Smith. "We felt that they were making some pretty good progress."
But the rest still needs to be cleaned up in a timely manner, county officials said. They're awaiting a proposal from Glasgow Court on a timeline for repairs. Current code violations don't carry fines, but that could change if work isn't resolved.
"As weather permits, after they've cleaned up the debris in the closed section...they're going to begin to mow in that section because it's been allowed to grow tall, and we explained to them that that could be part of the problem of why people dump in there. If it's not being kept well, you'll have people think that's just a great place to put things," said Smith. "You'll also be able to see people a little bit back there. It's inviting right now for people to dump."
Two accessory structures need to be donated or removed from side streets, and two large abandoned trailers on Glasgow Drive still need to be removed from the park, Smith said.
"They probably are going to have to demolish those in place and haul 'em out, which will cause a little bit of a disruption to the park in that they may have to temporarily close Glasgow Drive--maybe a number of times--throughout a week to do that and clean-up," said Smith.
To minimize park disruptions, Smith encouraged Glasgow to schedule demolition during spring break while public schools are closed.
"We've heard from people in the park. It took awhile to get that back entrance open, I really don't want that to be closed again, and it needs to remain open."
Glasgow Drive had been closed for three years. State lawmakers intervened to get Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to reopen it.
"So buses could go in and get the children to school in a more timely fashion and just facilitate getting in and out of the park," said Smith.
Pothole repairs also need to be made, weather permitting.
"It's kind of a cold time to work on streets, but they realize that there should be a 'quick-fix' that they can do to at least patch the holes," he said.
These code violations are separate from a host of code violations that resulted from work which was supposed to be completed by DiSabatino's husband, contractor Robert Redick, who was fined for not showing up to code violation hearings.
In documents obtained by WDEL, Redick is appealing those fines, claiming he was out-of-state when violations and hearing notices were issued, and he didn't return until after the hearing had commenced.
"I believe they're committed to correcting all of the code violations, and we'll have to see how it works out on the building inspection side," Smith said.
Glasgow Court's owner, DiSabatino, has plans in the works to transform the park into a mixed-use community that could force out many residents. Her plans are on-hold after WDEL exposed she owed--at one time--hundreds of thousands of dollars in back sewer tax to New Castle County, which was the highest delinquency in the county. The property, which made payments and received credits, continues to owe tens of thousands in back sewer tax, and hundreds of thousands more on other properties owned under various aliases.
Neither Glasgow Court nor Zerbato returned requests for comment.