Securing the purchase of Parklane Mobile Home Park residents for the community

Members of the newly formed Vecinos Unidos have gathered to represent their community at Parklane Mobile Home Park in Fort Collins. They are shown here with Realtors to purchase their park. Photo submitted by Nicole Armstrong of United Neighbors / Vecinos Unidos and CEO of The Matthews House.

Johnson Conn | North Forty News

The residents of Parklane Mobile Home Park in Fort Collins recently celebrated a very exciting feat that we haven’t seen often, they’ve upgraded from residents to owners.

The occupants of the Colorado mobile home park came together to form a non-profit organization they called United Neighbors/Vecinos Unidos (UN/VU). It can act as a representation in buying their garden, and in doing so, they have maintained affordable housing and ensured that residents can run their community from now on.

“When we talk about this project, it’s not about the individual or the person benefiting for himself, but about the community,” said resident Reidesel Mendoza.

Parklane residents began discussing the possibilities of buying the park after the owner informed them that it would go on sale in December of last year. Knowing that they wanted to stay in their community and that the sale would likely result in an increase in rent, or replace the park altogether, they quickly jumped into action as they all shared the feeling that the community was worth fighting for.

“I’ve lived in this community for 15 years,” said a Barklin resident of Evilia Rosas. “I love this place because it is central. It is close to schools, stores and gas stations and it is a safe and quiet place. I love my community very much and am ready to make positive changes along with my neighbours. For us, it is a dream come true.”

In a press release from UN/VU, they worked closely with two not-for-profit organizations in particular, The Genesis Project and The Matthews House, to assist in the bidding process and to secure funds to do so. It became apparent that they would need to form a non-profit organization to proceed with a bid, and from that point United Neighbors/Vecinos Unidos (UN/VU) was born. Residents, the United Nations/University of Victoria and several community organizations were instrumental in supporting the property purchase objective. When all was said and done, UN/VU was successfully able to purchase the park for $6.8 million. The funding was split into a $1 million revocable loan from Larimer County, a $2.8 million loan from the Bohemian Foundation, and a $3 million loan from Impact Development.

“We hope that residents’ ownership and resident management will become less scarce, and this sale will inspire other park residents,” said Adri Santiago, United Nations/University of Victoria Board Member. “Colorado legislators and our community nonprofits recognize that maintaining affordable housing is one of the biggest and most important challenges we must confront.”

According to the press release, Parklane is one of only six mobile home parks in Colorado that have moved into resident management/ownership since the Colorado Mobile Home Park law was updated to provide residents with more opportunities to buy into their communities in June 2020. Since the amendment came into effect, 69 have been sold Mobile home garden throughout Colorado. Although the legislation makes it easier for residents to purchase, only about nine percent of these parks are sold to residents.

In the same press release, it was reported that in Larimer County from January 2020 through July 2022, 30% (approximately 2,000 motorhomes) of all mobile home park units (about 5,700 motorhomes) were in parks that had been sold to new owners. None were sold to residents or resident representatives.

According to residents and owners of Parklane now, they are ready and excited to begin moving toward autonomy, which is said to include setting rent levels, utility services and maintenance. From now on, residents will have the option to move to resident ownership rather than non-profit ownership, and this purchase will give them a sense of stability while they explore other models.

“Barclan is home to the incredibly valuable community members of Fort Collins who deserve to stay in residence and enjoy the autonomy and authority. UN/Victoria University Board Member Sarah Boldock said, “I am grateful for the community level efforts to support this project and I am honored to be part of it.”

Parklane resident Evelia Rosas at the entrance to the parks. Photo submitted by Nicole Armstrong.
Parklin residents gather to celebrate the signing of legislation supporting mobile home park residents. Photo submitted by Nicole Armstrong.

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