Sunday, September 19, 2004

Subdivision pitches in

Walton residents go from woes themselves to helping others

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

WALTON - "Like a good neighbor" has real meaning in the Walton subdivision of Steeplechase.

The 150-home neighborhood was tangled in the Erpenbeck scandal in 2002 when the company stopped performing maintenance and halted construction. Several homes, the clubhouse and pool had liens filed against them, and the homeowner's association faced more than $20,000 in bills that Erpenbeck owed.

"We were in pretty bad shape," said Denise Fawcett, subdivision resident of five and half years. Fawcett said Steeplechase neighbors immediately started to help.

"I volunteered to start paying the bills," she said. "Another family took over the pool and checking the chemicals ... Volunteers cleaned up trash, and did the mowing. You really start to get to know your neighbors at a time like that."

Fawcett, whose husband, Ken, is a former Erpenbeck Co. employee, said another hardship hit when one of the neighbors, Terry Scanlon, 31, succumbed to Lou Gehrig's disease last November.

The neighborhood came together to coordinate 'Luau by the Lake,' a Steeplechase family fund-raiser to help Scanlon's widow, Valerie, and two sons, Brendan, 6, and Christian, 4. With donated gifts from the community, the luau raised $25,000 last year.

"It was incredible for a backyard-carnival thing," Fawcett said.

Steeplechase residents gathered for another luau Saturday to not only help Valerie, but to put money aside for other people in the neighborhood who "may run into hardship," Fawcett said.

"It's very humbling to have to rely on help from other people," Valerie said. "I've been blessed with help from neighbors and family."

"Neighbors feel like family here," she said.

Everything from Bengals memorabilia to food and entertainment - a live band - were donated for the luau.

Fawcett said while the Erpenbeck situation has left some neighbors bitter, but they are dealing with it.

"The liens have been lifted but, they can't get the paperwork all straightened out," she said. "It's a long paper trail."

We've grown from it ... It's a great bunch of people here. We can get through anything," Fawcett said. "We really want to help each other out."



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