Monday, November 12, 2012

Snellville Community Rallies to Stop the Eviction Of Parkwood Farms, Therapeutic Riding Center for Children with Disabilities

Parkwood Farms, a therapeutic riding center in Snellville for children with disabilities, is facing immediate eviction.

 Dr Marilyn Peterson, who owns the property and helps run Parkwood Farms, has issued a plea for support and a call to action to help save the riding center. The Sheriff's department arrived on Wednesday with the intention of evicting, although Dr. Peterson and the center had no notice of eviction. After the officer saw the children and all the horses he decided to reschedule.

Dr. Peterson has decided to stay in the property and resist the taking of her land and the community has responded with support. Today Parkwood Farms,Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, American Friends Service Committee, the Mayor of Snellville,  and the entire Snellville city council held a press conference and rally at the farm. The message was clear; the community can't afford to lose Parkwood to HSBC Bank.

“These beautiful children deserve a place to go where they can interact like other children, if, just for a little while.” Said Renn McClintic-Doyle, who sent her son Chris to Parkwood after no one would accept him. “The horseback riding helped him to bond to the horses and slowly he began to transfer that positive behavior to his daily life. Parkwood Farms has been a real life saver for Chris.”

“Parkwood Farms does great things for children facing physical, mental, or emotional challenges in their life.” Stated Snellville City Councilman Tom Witts. Councilman Witts was joined by the whole Snellville Council and Mayor Kelly Kautz who committed to stand behind Parkwood Farms and work to stop the eviction.

Without the farm, she and her family have no income. One of her sons is fully disabled, while another never leaves the house due to Asperger's. It was their disabilities that inspired Peterson to begin the therapeutic farm to begin with, eleven years ago.

While the eviction came as a surprise, she has been fighting the banks for over two years now. Her case is in litigation right now in federal court.While Dr. Peterson has a very good case, it could be years before there's a decision on her case, years the Parkwood Farms doesn't have. Banks regularly prolongs these types of cases in hope that homeowners will give up or run out of money.  

Peterson  received a predatory loan in 2004. When she refinanced it in 2011, she was told that the terms would be good for "the life of the loan."

"What they didn't tell me was that the 'life of the loan' was only two years," she said.
Everhome Mortgage Company in Jacksonville Fl services the loan for HSBC Bank and is aggressively moving forward with eviction.

According to Peterson, the people handling her foreclosure say that "so many things are wrong with this that they are doing it pro bono." The contract, the way the proceedings were handled, and even the way she was given the loan are under federal investigation.

Tomorrow night at 6pm community members, including many of the children that receive services, will be holding a candlelight vigil at the farm. The public is encouraged to attend. Link to Facebook event

They're praying for a miracle.

Tim Franzen


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