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County supervisors consider $130K for asbestos testing at Duroville

By Tom Tucker, CBS Local 2 Morning Anchor, thomas.tucker@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Jan 15 2013 08:22:06 AM CST

File photo: Riverside County Supervisors meeting

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Riverside County supervisors are expected today to  approve $130,000 to fund environmental safety testing of structures at a desert  mobile home park condemned by the federal government.
      The Economic Development Agency is seeking the money to pay for asbestos  and lead-based paint inspections on 140 travel coaches at the Desert Mobile  Home Park -- better known as "Duroville" -- on the Torres-Martinez Cahuilla  Indian Reservation in Thermal.
      The county is in the process of demolishing Duroville rotted single- and  double-wide trailers -- some of them decades old. The Department of  Environmental Health has already been conducting tests on vacant structures,  but additional funds are needed to complete testing on those lean-tos still  occupied, officials said.
      In December, the Board of Supervisors approved a $341,000 contract with  San Pedro-based National Demolition Contractors to dispose of all structures at  the 40-acre park, established by Harvey Duro and his family in the late 1990s.  It is one of several non-permitted parks where migrants and their families  reside in the eastern county region.
      According to the county, 41 families have left Duroville in recent  months, relocating with county assistance to the Mountain View Estates, a  sprawling trailer park with modern conveniences developed with public and  private financing and located at Avenue 70 and Harrison Street in Oasis.
      There are 181 spaces available at Mountain View. Duroville residents are  being given the option of purchasing new mobile homes at the site via the  county's Mobile Home Tenant Loan Program.
      In 2009, Duroville was declared by a U.S. District Court judge to be a  public health and safety hazard because of its dilapidated condition, including  a faulty electrical system and contaminated drinking water. He placed the  facility in federal receivership, appointed new managers, and barred any new  tenants on the grounds.
      The process of relocating hundreds of existing residents to alternate  living quarters has been under way since that time. According to Housing  Authority documents, the clean-up and containment of lead-based paint and  asbestos at Duroville could cost upwards of $400,000.