As a conscientious mobile home owner, you’ve probably seen plenty of news stories about parks being torn down or residents being evicted. Perhaps it’s happened to you. To some, this news is a matter of course. But to a few experts, it could actually be a matter of mobile home endangerment. They point out the growing concern that mobile homes are in need of preservation.
You love your mobile home and your park. It’s a great place for you and your family to live—you enjoy having neighbors close by and you feel a sense of security from living in a community. You feel attached to the place you live, and you assume many other mobile home park dwellers feel the same way.
So, why are all the parks disappearing? Are mobile homes being put on the endangered species list? Well, Eduard Krakhmalnikov, “a preservationist and landscape architect,” talked about this issue with Carson Bear of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He shared not only the role mobile homes have played in American History but also the threats they face today.
In talking about mobile home parks, Krakhmalnikov notes that “To keep them affordable, their original infrastructure usually remains in place while their owners [find temporary solutions for repairs] until the entire mobile home park needs to be replaced.” Then, he says, the parks are sold. He also mentions zoning and redevelopment in his discussion on endangerment. Let’s look more particularly at these threats.
Death by a thousand cuts
Let’s say there’s a mobile home park in your area that’s experiencing a gradual decline. You don’t think it will last too long before the current owner decides it’s just not a positive performer in his financial situation. Perhaps selling to get out from under it is next. Of course, after the sale, you don’t know whether the situation will deteriorate further or take a turn for the better.
In fact, it’s not exactly a heartwarming scene currently. Roads are in a sorry condition. Plus, abandoned homes are falling further and further into disrepair. Thus, you wonder if the park owner or manager just isn’t interested or able to remedy the situation.
To move in or not to move in
With a park looking lousy, we can all imagine mobile home owners are just clamoring for a spot, right? Of course not. For obvious reasons, people don’t want to move into a downtrodden mobile home park.
You wonder if the situation you’re seeing is part of a wider phenomenon. Factors and situations may vary from place to place. However, other communities in the United States face similar scenarios. Consider East End Mobile Home Park in Manassass, Virginia and Dora Mobile Home Park in West Virginia as examples.
Zoned into the ground
While you may be a firm proponent of integrating a mobile home into your lifestyle, everyone may not be so welcoming. In fact, some people or communities may be a bit unwelcoming when it comes to mobile home parks. Not everyone is keen on having parks in their neighborhood. According to the Manufactured Housing Insitute, “There is a growing trend of municipalities trying to use zoning and other land use regulations to restrict or eliminate manufactured housing in their jurisdictions.”
Mobile home park no more
In some “endangerment” situations, the land belonging to a mobile home park may have become more profitable for other uses. Instead of a mobile home park, perhaps there is now a strip mall or an office park (or a plan to build one). A sea of mobile homes with their carports, driveways, and families disappeared to make way for something new. Take the example of Lowry Grove near Minneapolis.
In light of the threats against mobile homes, Krakhmalnikov mentions two solutions: cooperatives and becoming a city. Take time to learn more about mobile home co-ops. And to dive more into the mobile home city idea, read Krakhmalnikov’s, The Trailer Park that Became a City.
Some regions are already taking steps to protect mobile homes and their parks. For instance, check out Colorado’s 2017 attempt to help the mobile home situation. Or take a look at the step Portland, Oregon took to put a check in the redevelopment process.
More than a house on a chassis
Now that we have you thinking about the place of mobile homes in society, you may be thinking about the place of your park in the community and in the lives of residents. So, keep your wheels turning in this direction. Take a moment to read 9 Ways For Your Mobile Home Park To Partner With Your Local Community. And don’t forget 7 Helpful Tips To Organize A Community Fundraiser For Charity.