Residents must move to make room for Sasol expansion - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Residents must move to make room for Sasol expansion

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Government and business leaders work hard to bring economic development to the area -- and there's huge anticipation about the Sasol expansion expected. But progress and expansion mean acquiring property which can turn life upside down for those who have to move.

Linda O'Dell found out 30 days ago that she has to move from Country Estate trailer park off Evergreen in Mossville. That's hard after 14 years.

"It's devastating. I'm sorry. It's very traumatic. It's a move that was not planned," said O'Dell, watching nervously as movers work to prepare her trailer.

Her landlord is paying for the move and giving her $1,000 to get re-established. But she worries her home is in too poor condition to be moved.

"We've been told that if the trailer breaks, that they're not responsible for it, that we no longer have a place to live. And I'm terrified. I don't know what I'll do or where I'll go if the trailer doesn't make it," said O'Dell.

The movers arrive at 8 a.m. and work to fix the rusted out frame to prepare the trailer for moving.

"They've been working really hard. They're doing all they can. They've welded extra pieces on to the tongue. They found a spot in the frame that was rusted out. They welded extra pieces on to it," she said anxiously as she watched a man with a welding torch under her trailer.

Finally, after three and a half hours, they try to pull it from its spot. They make it to the driveway but then discover the roof is caving in. It's a no go. The trailer cannot be moved.

O'Dell's is obviously filled with despair, bending at the waist is if she may get sick. She paces around the yard wondering what will happen. The man who owns the moving company makes a few phone calls. He tells Linda that the land owner, Mr. Fredericks, is willing to offer Linda a trailer left behind that is in better shape and can be moved.

Linda and her daughter look at the trailer and decide it will work.

"They're at least making an effort to make sure we're not homeless. That's my main concern that they were going to leave us with nothing. It's a lot better than what I had," said O'Dell.

And so, there's a lot of work to do but with any luck, Linda will soon be in her new home with the stress of an unplanned move behind her. 

Sasol does not yet own the land and public affairs manager Mike Hayes said they are trying to stay out of the relationship between the trailer park owner and residents.

But Hayes said they are interested in seeing that all renters are successfully relocated.

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