ROCK FALLS — Riverside Mobile Estates, a mobile home park that the Illinois Department of Public Health is considering closing for years of unresolved abuse, was bought last week by the Colorado Corporation for $1.23 million.
Tovia Propco of Colorado Springs, a division of Tovia Capital LLC, now owns the site at 901 Regan Road that has been owned by Franklin DeHaan, 83, or other family members for six decades.
Tovia, owned by Quan Rees, bought Greenacres Mobile Home Park in Dixon in November. She now owns eight mobile home parks in Illinois.
Longtime resident Cynthia Mamoser is the new site manager for Riverside, now simply called Riverside MHP.
Jake Mast, COO of Tovia Capital, said Tovia immediately began the process of hiring contractors to modernize the water and wastewater systems.
“We wanted… to go in and save the park,” Mast said.
On Tuesday, Porter Brothers Asphalt and Paving in Rock Falls began repairing potholed roads, which will be finished with asphalt, a task that will take about two weeks.
Poor roads, frequent boiling requests and other water system problems were the main complaints of 60 or so residents, many of whom were elderly or disabled.
These problems, as well as many empty homes that fell into disrepair, vehicles, appliances and other debris, were the causes of the multiple violations.
Mast said the company will renovate and remodel the salable homes, tow and replace the rest, and a Greenacres gardener will come in to weed and mow and do some general cleaning.
Tuvia, who negotiated with DeHaan for several months before finally striking a deal, was not told of IDPH’s intent to ask the court to close the park for non-compliance, he said.
“We were not aware of all the issues, however, we already have a licensed drinking water operator under contract, and we sign paperwork with the licensed wastewater operator, so we took care of our water issues,” Mast said.
“We’re working with the city, and we’ve had conversations with the Environmental Protection Agency.”
In December 2012, DeHaan requested that the park be included in Rock Falls due to high nitrate levels in its drinking water. Since the annexation, Riverside’s water supply has been connected from the city, but the aging distribution system belongs to the park responsible for its upkeep.
If Tovia corrects the violations, IDPH will likely abandon closure efforts, which, if successful, will cause residents to search for new homes.
“The goal has always been to address abuses,” said Mike Clavey, spokesman for the International Institute of Public Health in a previous article.
Neither DeHaan nor his son Darin could be reached for comment for this story.
Darren, who helped his father negotiate with Tovia but had nothing to do with Riverside’s day-to-day operations and had no financial interest in the park, said he didn’t realize how bad the state of the park was until recently.
He said that many of his problems stem from his father’s age and deteriorating health.
DeHaan said the pandemic — and the two-year rent moratorium that accompanied it — also contributed to his father’s delay in dealing with the abuse.
With all the improvements underway, will the costs be passed on to residents?
“Honestly, these guys have been through enough,” Mast said. There are no talks of a rent increase.
In fact, our goal will be to sell homes to residents. We want them to be proud homeowners.”