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Development displaces Spartan Heights families

Andrea Espinosa and her mother, Maria Silva, Andrea Espinosa and her mother, Maria Silva,

Andrea Espinosa and her mother, Maria Silva, plan to move their mobile home from Scenic Mountain Lane to a lot off Brooklyn Avenue a few blocks west on Spartanburg Highway. They're among the few lucky ones, though, who so far have found a place to move.

About 50 families on Scenic Mountain Lane and McKee Circle in the Spartan Heights neighborhood must move by Christmas. And for these households, move means to take their whole house with them.
Andrea, a senior at East Henderson High School, said the family has gotten a permit to relocate the trailer, and plans to move it in about two weeks.
Jaime and Nayeli Lopez and J.J.A few doors down the lane, Jaime Lopez says he has not yet found a place to move his trailer, which he shares with his daughter, Nayeli, and her son, J.J. Pineda, and a granddaughter.
"I've tried. I'm looking," said Lopez, who owns his own patio building company. "I've lived here 17 years. You can see the work." He has added a deck and a covered porch to his home, which is one of the nicer ones on Scenic Mountain Lane.
The homeowners in the trailer park say they have been paying $350 rent a month for many years to the former owner, Ralph Ledford, who sold the property in March 2011 to Boyd Automotive for a new Chevrolet dealership. They received letters earlier this summer that gave them six months to relocate their trailers.
"They said they would like to have it clean," Lopez said, meaning cleared of all development. Aside from the trailers, the commercial development in the front, including a Citgo station, a car wash, a laundromat and a former restaurant building, also will be cleared to make room for Boyd's new showroom and dealership.
"We have to follow the landlord," Lopez said. "If he says I have to move, I have to move. We have saved a little bit of money but we're not prepared in six months to change a life. It's hard."
Cam Boyd and his son, Les, owners of Boyd Chevrolet, said they gave the trailer park residents six months notice and have tried to be flexible with their needs. The Boyds said they had cleaned up the trailer park, pulling out abandoned trailers, since they bought the property.
"We've been very good with the tenants as far as the notice we gave," Les Boyd said. "We know it's a difficult time for them."Carlos Castillo
Up on McKee Circle, Carlos Castillo welcomed a reporter. He said he wanted justice, and wished the property owners could do more to help the families relocate.
"This is no good, man," he said.
Another man who said he was the owner did not want to give his name. He, too, said the families would like help, because they're not sure how they can relocate. Three family members and three dogs live in the double-wide home, which they say will be harder to relocate than a singlewide.
"Nothing bad about him," said the homeowner. "We understand his business. We're not complaining about what he wants to do. We just thought maybe we could use a little bit of help."
He said the search for a place that will permit an older trailer has so far been futile.
"We've tried," he said. "Fifty families are fighting for the same spot."
The two men said they'd like to urge potential landlords to get in touch with the Spartan Heights families. "If anybody has a piece of land they would like to rent, come in," he said.