Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, June 7, 1999

Mobile home park owners miss meeting again

By Andrea Vargo

In a last-minute call to City Administrator Christina Frankenfield, Paul Phillips of Long Lake stated he would not be able to attend the meeting with the Howard Lake City Council and residents of his mobile home park Tuesday.

The meeting, which had been planned for weeks, was attended by more than 30 tenants and neighbors of the park. Owners of the park had agreed to attend a meeting last month, but didn't show up for that one either.

Mayor Gerry Smith said he had hoped to help the residents and the owners come to some agreements over the residents' complaints, but that was now impossible with the absence of Phillips.

Frankenfield brought information for the tenants from the All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC) about how they could form an organization to negotiate with the park owners from a base of strength and numbers.

APAC will come out and do workshops to help the organization get started, but the residents must call if they want help, she said.

Park resident Wanda Braselton will take the responsibility to gather interested tenants of the park to form an organization.

Frankenfield will help them make the right contacts for advice and other help they might need.

Smith opened the meeting to the comments of the tenants and their neighbors. The city can do little to help the tenants, because the park is considered private property, he said.

Police Chief Mike Simmons told the gathering that he could take care of criminal complaints, but could not enforce a speed limit.

"You need to be a self-policing organization," said Frankenfield.

Residents did not complain against the city, but were vocal about the lack of help from the owners.

The owners don't return calls, don't show up for meetings, and don't address concerns by the residents. These were just a few of the comments from the tenants.

Some of the concerns of the neighbors were questions on the boundary lines of the park for the new expansion construction that is taking place, and trespass incidents by young people from the park on to neighbors' property.

The boundary line problem is something that will require the services of a lawyer, said Smith.

The trespass problems might be solved to a degree if the neighbors put up a privacy fence, and it could be higher than six feet, if they apply for a variance, said Smith.

One neighbor said a nine or 10-year-old girl came into their house and opened the refrigerator when she thought they weren't home.

"She smokes and swears. The deputy told us we are never going to get through to these people. It is going to take something serious, and that will be sad," he said.

City Attorney Charles Paschke suggested the man call social services and take legal action against the parents of children who trespass or vandalize property.

Neighbors were concerned their properties would not be salable in the future, because of the damage done by children from the park.

The old, condemned building in the mobile home park is scheduled for demolition by the owners, said Frankenfield.

They have filled out the application, but haven't come in to pay for it and pick it up, said City Clerk Gene Gilbert.

Paschke was instructed to contact the owners and set a date for that demolition, so children from the park are not injured while playing in the building.

Historic inventory

Gary Dobbs of Hay-Dobbs brought the results of the work he has done the past couple of weeks on the historic restoration plans for the city hall building before the council.

Dobbs, whose historic restoration firm has been hired by the city, noted the city hall building is almost all that is left of the visible history of the city.

He said the building was built in 1904, and the second floor served as a gymnasium and basketball court.

It was considered the best facility in the county at the time.

The founding of the city's library took place in this building, said Dobbs.

In addition to starting the research on the history of the building, Dobbs said measurements were taken and work was done to determine the dimensions and location of joists.

The as-built floor plans are complete, and he presented options for a handicap ramp for the east entrance of the building.

The interior has problems with the narrowest part of the traffic pattern a mere 26 inches wide.

This is quite a ways from the state-required 42 inches and will mean some interior changes, he said.

Concerns about parking and access for delivery trucks will be addressed when a study is done for striping the parking lot at a later date.

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