Urbana to help residents of mobile home park
URBANA — City officials have made $50,000 available to nine families in the Barnes Mobile Home Park who will be forced out after the city bought the land last year.
Those residents were notified in April that they had a year to get out. That's when the stress began for those residents, who told city officials that moving will be a hardship on their limited incomes.
The $50,000 will come out of the city's $195,000 budget for social-service funding. That money typically goes to a broad spectrum of social-service agencies throughout the community.
The thin strip of land that constitutes the mobile-home park sits immediately north of the city's public-works garage on Glover Avenue. The owners were looking to sell the land, and the city was interested.
With city council approval, officials agreed in December to buy the land for $113,000. But the deal is contingent on it being a cleared site — the city won't close on the sale until all the homes are removed. The city paid a bit more than market value in the sale to have the site cleared, but the sale contract did not require that the owners use any of that extra money to help residents move.
Now city council members and Mayor Laurel Prussing have chosen to pick up the slack, and they plan to assist residents with what they need when they move out.
"We didn't want to make people's lives miserable," Prussing said.
It's still not clear how exactly that money will be used. One resident asked the city council this week to just split it evenly among each family, but Prussing does not necessarily see that happening.
She wants the contributions to be "based on need" because the city has a tight budget itself, she said.
City officials will remain in contact with the families living at the mobile-home park to work out each individual case, Prussing said. With there being only nine families, she thinks it should be more manageable than larger-scale relocations the city has coordinated in the past.