9/10/2021 11:43:00 AM Mobile home park relocation
an example of working as should
September 2021 seemed to be a far-off distant deadline when residents of the Elms Estates first heard two years ago that their Lindstrom mobile home neighborhood was being put on the market. By fall 2021 they’d have to be out of their homes.
This week the residents of 16 existing units are nearly completely re-located (one is finishing paperwork) thanks to a state program, collaboration with the county and city of Lindstrom, and Lakes & Pines Community Action Council. A dislocation/housing specialist for the CAC, Nicole Klosner, told the Press this was the first time the agency has worked on anything equivalent to this, and “It went really really well.”
The State of Minnesota maintains an account called the Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund. Owners of manufactured home parks are supposed to pay $15 annually. The law establishing the fund was enacted in 2007. Up to $8,000 per singlewide unit can be awarded to help mobile home park residents move and find a new place to live when facing relocation due to their dwelling classified for “redevelopment.” Klosner said naturally the park owner has to be current on fee payments, which Elms Estates owner Rosita Meehan is. There are conditions and documentation needed to qualify but the process functioned the way it was meant to and everything came together.
Klosner thanked Chisago county for working with the agency determining current valuations for the mobile homes and providing data for fund applications.
Klosner said there were hesitant residents at first, upset with the disruption introduced into their lives, but Klosner remarked that this is part of the agency’s job. She serves to walk people through tough times, facilitating an application process and in this case, getting relocation fund money to those who qualify. It can be rewarding to be the calming influence during what is a disturbing experience for some. “We are mission oriented and we help people to self-sufficiency,” she concluded.
After receiving their fund dispersement residents have 60 days to vacate so there will be activity on the grounds for a while yet.
Elms Estates has been in Lindstrom on Hwy 8 for some 50 years. It is not up to Lakes & Pines to handle any demolition or building sale/disposal so Klosner was unsure what to expect on site physically. One dwelling has been demolished in this two-plus year process of closure.
Lindstrom City Administrator John Olinger states that the city has no plans to buy the park, although officials supports future possible redevelopment of a business-housing mix. The city council did purchase a home from a willing seller, nearly next door to Elms Estates, to control the land. Olinger said this parcel could become part of a sale to a developer with an interest in the trailer park as well.
Lindstrom did not close Elms Estates, he stressed. The city was involved to ensure the state fund could be utilized by acting on designating Lakes & Pines CAC a “neutral third party, and city leaders wanted to make sure the residents’ rights were protected.