Travel trail­ers open for res­i­dents still with­out gas ser­vice

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By ALEXI CO­HAN — alexi.co­han@boston­her­ald.com

As four travel trailer sites start to fill lo­cal parks in An­dover, North An­dover and Lawrence, fam­i­lies are slow to oc­cupy the spa­ces as they con­tinue to find al­ter­na­tive hous­ing in the wake of the Mer­ri­mack Val­ley gas dis­as­ter.

The largest travel trailer site, lo­cated in O’Con­nell South Com­mon Park in Lawrence, has 180 trail­ers in which res­i­dents can stay un­til gas ser­vice is re­stored to their home, a process that could take un­til Nov. 19. Ac­cord­ing to Christo­pher Besse, the pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer with the Mass­a­chu­setts Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, 95 trail­ers at the park have been pre­pared for res­i­dents and just 13 fam­i­lies have moved in as of Wed­nes­day evening. Besse said an­other 30 trail­ers have been as­signed to fam­i­lies who should be mov­ing in soon.

Besse said he is un­sure if all 180 trail­ers will be oc­cu­pied.

“It’s re­ally hard to tell, it de­pends on peo­ple’s sit­u­a­tions and the other hous­ing op­tions that are avail­able,” said Besse. “It also de­pends on the weather and the tem­per­a­ture.”

South Com­mon Park, bor­der­ing South Union and Mar­ket streets, is typ­i­cally used by lo­cal ath­letes to play soft­ball and base­ball.

Besse said the rest of the trailer sites are be­ing pre­pared through­out the week. Ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from MEMA, Pem­ber­ton State Park in Lawrence will have 100 trail­ers, along with 80 trail­ers at Grogan Field in North An­dover and 40 trail­ers at Recre­ation Park in An­dover. Besse said as of Wed­nes­day evening, the South Com­mon Park lo­ca­tion is the only one that is cur­rently hous­ing fam­i­lies.

The 30-foot Aca­dia and Cole­man trail­ers are lined up and or­ga­nized into rows across the parks and in­clude a kitchen space, bath­room and sleep­ing quar­ters that can fit up to eight peo­ple.

Each trailer site will be staffed with se­cu­rity per­son­nel along with man­age­ment and main­te­nance. Besse urges res­i­dents who wish to live in al­ter­na­tive hous­ing to call Columbia Gas or MEMA and go through an in­take process and not just “show up.” Other hous­ing op­tions pro­vided by Columbia Gas in­clude ho­tel rooms and apart­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to Columbia Gas’ daily brief­ing, as of yes­ter­day, 22 out of 44 miles of main line have been re­placed in the af­fected ar­eas and 1,334 out of 6,100 ser­vice lines have been re­placed.

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­GELA ROWLINGS

HOUS­ING OP­TIONS: Work­ers un­pack a de­liv­ery at the travel trailer site at South Com­mon Park in Lawrence.

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