ATHENS, Ga. (November 2, 2001) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (Sutherland) and the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP), attorneys for Garden Springs Mobile Home Park residents, announced today that their clients and the owners of Garden Springs have agreed to a settlement. The terms of the agreement include an extension of the October 31, 2001 eviction deadline to March 1, 2002.
The four-month extension allows the 90 families who currently reside in Garden Springs the time to find an alternative place to live. With the help of their lawyers, state and local government, and the community of Athens-Clarke County, residents plan to acquire land in Athens and develop it as their new mobile home park site. This arrangement will allow residents to control the decisions that are made in their new community by creating a permanent and stable solution through vested ownership rights and control of their land. The residents have spent the past four months developing their leadership and capacity within their community and have formed Resident Action Committees. These committees are charged with working on various aspects of the relocation process. A number of residents are also planning to attend a Mobile Home Park Development and Management Conference in mid-November.
The needs of the Garden Springs residents have generated a considerable amount of interest from local citizens, churches, civic and community groups, politicians and the media. Organizations and individuals have donated or pledged thousands of dollars to support the residents' relocation efforts and individual needs.
Henry Gomez, a resident of Garden Springs, speaks to the core of the community and how they have come to appreciate their shared vision, "I hope all of our dreams come true for all of our community. We don't want our community to spread out one-by-one. We want to stay together." One of the first steps in the process of developing their dreams is to identify the resources and people who can help them develop their new home. To do so, the residents are planning a town-hall meeting on Sunday, November 11th at 4:00pm (location to be announced). The purpose of the meeting, which is being planned and will be run by the Residents, is to develop a strategic plan with identified roles for all of the individuals and organizations who want to help.
Skipper StipeMaas of GLSP commented, "The residents are committed to taking on the responsibilities for finding and developing their future home. They are capable and willing to learn the necessary skills to do so. The assistance of the Athens-Clarke County community has been and will continue to be extremely valuable and essential."
Charlie Lester of Sutherland added, "I would also like to express appreciation to the owners for their cooperative efforts. No one wanted to see these evictions take place and I am delighted that we were able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement."