SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WENY) --  Neighbors and residents are advocating action to address the conditions at Cherry Lane Park on Sherman Avenue in the town of Southport. For many residents and neighbors, they say the experience has been nothing but a nightmare.

"Absolutely disgusting," said former resident Sean Lewis, who lived in Lot 7 from September 2022 through May 2023. He said after he paid his first month's rent, the property manager didn't give him the keys right away, saying they had been lost. Lewis claims he had the locks changed himself, and when he finally got in the unit, he said he was shocked out  how filthy it was, and it took over two weeks to clean it enough to move in. 

"Cigarette butts and the walked in the floor, cat litter walked in the floor... the bathroom was spray painted graffiti on the walls. [...] One window was broke out. I guess a previous tenant had put a dead animal in the freezer. So I had to bleach the entire freezer and refrigerator. When after I was living there a few days, I noticed that I needed a new stove. I lived two and a half months with no stove."

Lewis said later he raised multiple concerns and complaints, after discovering rodents and cockroaches in the trailer.

"Then I started seeing roaches every now and then. So I got a hold of Roy [on-site manager]. He gave me some bombs. I bombed, but they come right back. So I called them, [I was told] 'I dropped something off.' A week came by, nothing.  Two weeks came by, nothing. Three weeks came by, nothing. So I'm sitting here and I'm thinking, huh, is it okay for me to hold my rent?" added Lewis. 

After consulting Legal Aid, Lewis said ended up withholding his rent starting in March and April of 2023, after notifying management multiple times about the condition of his unit and repairs not being made. He eventually called Southport Code Enforcement when he lost water. Sean thought it had been turned off for withholding rent, but it turns out it had been turned off to all of the park, due to non-payment.

Lewis said he and the code enforcement officer removed some of the trailer's skirting to look underneath for the water shutoff valve. There, they found a wire to electrical outlet hanging underneath, with an electrical cord plugged in.

"So I opened the door, I looked down underneath, I see this electrical outlet hanging. I said 'Oh Pete [code enforcement officer] Is this supposed to be like this?' He says, 'Oh,' he says, 'That's a fire hazard.' He says, uh, 'Let me take a picture of it.' He says, and uh, 'I'm gonna go get a hold of my boss.' He said 'Because I can't personally condemn the trailers myself,'" said Lewis. 

Lewis added that after discovering the wires hanging underneath his trailer, he and Wolfe became afraid for their safety. They said they were worried their home would catch fire, after witnessing previous trailer fires on the property, including one on December 26th, 2022. 

A few hundred feet away across the street on Sherman Avenue, lives neighbor Tina Moore. She said she has spent years witnessing the same conditions and situations over the years go unchanged. In 2021, Tina and her neighbors Grace Gee and Mary Davenport circulated a petition and have before the town board multiple times, calling for action to be taken against the park. Moore said she became aware that code enforcement visited Sean's trailer in May, but didn't condemn the unit immediately despite finding cause for concern. She said she told Sean to call code enforcement again, and another officer came on May 30th. The next day, the home was condemned. 

"The second officer comes on the following Tuesday [May 30], and in less than 24 hours, the kid's home was condemned," Moore said, adding, "And he [Lewis] told me he had mice and it was lined with cockroaches. He had complained about it. They actually moved out and they pretty much didn't have anything when they moved."

"When it got condemned, my wife called the new Silber management. Keith Pond came over and got on the phone with me, OK? And that's when Bruno [attorney for the property owner] offered me a thousand dollars cash to leave the property," Lewis explained. 

Lewis and Wolfe say their belongings were so infested, they had to leave nearly everything behind. A brand-new mattress was infested with cockroaches and their clothes were covered in rodent feces. They hauled the mattress to the dumpster on the property, where it still sat until Friday, June 16th when WENY News visited the neighborhood and could see it from the road.

"Everything, everything got covered in bedbugs and roaches and mice poop. We had to take everything outside, shake everything off... that we could save. And we had to take it to the laundry mat, wash 'em, dry 'em," Lewis and Wolfe noted.

On June 2nd, Lewis and Wolfe signed a release form, that relinquished possession of the trailer to Cherry Lane Park, LLC, and were relieved of their past withheld rent. The couple was paid $1,000. 

Currently, Lewis and Wolfe say are temporarily residing with family and are hoping their situation helps to draw attention to the conditions of the trailers at Cherry Lane Park. 

"Shut down. It really does need to be closed. I hate to say that because, because what? If my trailer was so bad, what about the other ones?" said Lewis and Wolfe. 

Moore agrees, saying the people who live at the mobile home park deserve better.

"I want them to close this trailer park down and I want Red Cross or whoever it's gonna be to be standing right there in the street waiting to help every single person that lives there," she said.

WENY News is continuing coverage of Cherry Lane Park in the town of Southport. Additional neighbors and residents will share their experiences in the coming days. 

*The document above states that the tenant holds the title to the mobile home. Lewis states the document is incorrect; the mobile home previously existed on the property and he was renting it from Cherry Lane Park, LLC. Lewis states he never had ownership of the trailer, and never possessed a title for it.