Residents of Pee Dee neighborhood given forth and final extension to move out

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) – A judge granted the fourth and final deadline extension Wednesday morning for Wedgefield residents to move off the property.

The remaining residents now have until March 28 to vacate the property bought by the nonprofit group Greater Lake City Community Development.

Both parties feel with the final extension, the months-long dispute can finally come to an end.

"I certainly would have desired the judge to have been more sympathetic as to those folks who are doing the best they can," said Wedgefield residents' attorney, John Whittleton. "As a matter of consequences, this adversely affects both those who didn't try and those that did."

Back in June, Wedgefield residents were given 60 days to move their mobile homes off the land. At that time, 50 families lived in the neighborhood. Now, around 20 remain.

Former Wedgefield resident Yamekia Robinson, who has lived in the community for decades, represented the majority of the remaining residents in court.

"We're all scattered right now, but the unity of Wedgefield will stand," Robinson said.

Even though Robinson was fortunate enough to find another home, many others have not.

The attorney for Greater Lake City Community Development said his clients feel they gave the residents more than enough time.

However, Robinson said the judge's 30-day extension is understandable, but she was hoping for more time.

"Like he explained, he didn't understand, or the only encounter he had of a mobile home being moved is not the weight that we're seeing now," Robinson said.

The weather, expenses, limited housing in the area and immobility of the homes are all a part of that weight the remaining residents struggle to carry.

Robinson's mother's home has been in the neighborhood for 32 years and is now too old and damaged to move.

"You look at it and say it's movable, but until you start moving it, unhooking everything and it can't be moved, so that's a person out of a home," Robinson said.

It's a home that Robinson said her mom invested in.

"She doesn't want to just give up her home like that, you know a home that she didn't think that she would have to move from, that she work hard for and paid for," she said.

Robinson said she wishes the whole situation had been handled differently.

"Maybe come within the community and talk to us. Let us know, OK, things are going to change because we have the land now," she said.

Despite the hardships, it's a change that brought the community closer together.

"When you see your neighbor needs help, what do you do? Do you turn your back and make sure you're OK or do you go and try your best to help them?" Robinson asked.

The judge said if residents are not gone by March 28, the company has permission to haul off any homes that are left.

Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved.