Urbana to help residents of mobile home park

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.

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787 wrote on July 16, 2014 at 7:07 am

If the City has such a tight budget, then why did they pay over market value, and not insist that the amount paid over market value go to helping relocate the people?

That's really a stupid move, and now they're shelling out an extra $50,000 out of a tight budget.   Is that budget tight because of all of the otherwise unnecessary legal fees of late? 

And Laurel doesn't want to make people's lives miserable?  Too late Laurel, much too late.  Maybe if you resigned... that would be a good start.

Just another typical Urbana screw-up under this mayor.... one after another after another after another...  



Ken Rishel wrote on July 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association I have been watching this situation closely and have attended a public meeting with the residents where their options were discussed.

Here are some facts:

First, manufactured housing land lease communities rarely close or change use. In the rare cases that do exist, the purchaser has a legal responsibility to the residents being displaced. The last major event of this type took place a number of years ago in Decatur when the land was sold for higher use to ADM. ADM, as the purchaser, took responsibility for relocating the residents. This is both typical and normal.

Second, by any manufactured housing industry standard, the City of Urbana paid far less than the market value of the community. The community was sold to the city without industry advertisement of availability. I certainly would have jumped at the chance to buy it at the purchase price, and I have no correspondent investments in either Champaign or Urbana. I know of at least two other individuals who would have likely paid far more than I would have for the property because they already have other operations in the area. The City of Urbana managed a bargain when they bought the land lease community in question.

I have no knowledge of your local politicians or politics, but I can tell you there is no reason to critise what the City has done in this matter.

Local Yocal wrote on July 16, 2014 at 11:07 am
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Dear Elected Public Servants,

Quick reminder for the Urbana Mayor: "the city's money" is "THE TAXPAYER'S MONEY." Not yours. Ours. Get it? Got it? Good.

So,.... if it's the taxpayers' will that we would like these people taken care of because of your aggressive land-acquistion policies, then SPARE NO EXPENSE and do it.

Thank You, Your Bosses, the Taxpayers. 

p.s. why does the land need to be cleared in the first place? What is to be done with this land once the little miserable people are shewed away?

welive wrote on July 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm

can you buy my land that i rent then give me money to move please.

Thank you city of urbana for yet wasting more of my tax dollars.

I love the statue in front of the city building.Just wondering how much that cost me as it blinds me everytime i drive by.


Sid Saltfork wrote on July 16, 2014 at 2:07 pm

The amounts will be "based on need"?  Why would the nine families be living there in old trailers if they were not in need?  The largess of Urbana to the nine families is paltry compared to the cost of the statues in Urbana.  Some how this must be Carle's fault........