Shady Hills keeps license
David Merriam, a Madison attorney, owns the park at the intersection of Creek Road and Highway 140 in Bradford Township north of Clinton. On Monday, Merriam spoke to the Bradford Town Board and 70 Shady Hills residents who packed the town hall for a public hearing on the possible revocation of Merriam’s license.
The board did not vote on the issue and has no plans to do so at this time, town attorney Dave Moore said.
The town board wants to meet with Merriam and other local officials to work out a plan for improvements at the park.
The town held the hearing after its building inspector recommended revocation. The inspector said the park lacked access for emergency vehicles and contained partially demolished homes.
The Rock County Health Department also issued an order to repair roads and remove trash from the park.
Earlier in the year, some residents were told they had to move so Merriam could tear down homes to improve emergency access. Last month, they got notes saying they didn’t have to move.
Merriam said the former park manager kept poor records of lot ownership and rental payments. He plans to keep better records and enforce timely payments, he said.
“I’m not going to move anybody out unless they don’t pay their rent,” Merriam said. “Barring that, as far as I’m concerned, you can all stay in your houses.”
If the town revoked Merriam’s license, he would not be allowed to collect rent and would have to start the process to evoke residents.
Many residents at Monday’s hearing directed their concerns to Merriam. Some spoke to the town board against the revocation. Here’s what they had to say:
-- Resident Dawn Smith—“I’m trying to raise a family here. My kids to go school here. I hope you consider there are families that can’t afford to go anywhere else.”
-- Resident Jane Kleyr—“We want to make those changes just as much as you want them to get done. We’re willing to do what it takes. We want a nice place to live.”
-- Resident Joe Hager—“Me and a couple other guys have been working with David (Merriam) and trying to get stuff done. What needs to happen is more volunteers to come up and help with trailer removal. We will step up as a community to do whatever needs to be done to make everybody’s life happier and safer.”
-- Colleen Mendez, Clinton teacher who has worked as a translator for Spanish-speaking residents. “You’re looking at 50 units of people that could be homeless because of faulty management.”