Saturday, August 08, 2015

Remaining 80 Homeowners In Shuttering 240-Lot Mobile Home Park Get The Boot, Scramble For New Living Arrangements As Land Use Change Is Expected With Pending Sale Of Premises To New Landowner

In Davenport, Iowa, the Quad City Times reports:
  • Phil DeToye helped neighbors move out of the Lake Canyada Mobile Home Park in Scott County on a rainy Tuesday afternoon before fixing his eyes on his own, light blue 1973 trailer.

    He said he will be homeless by the weekend. “I have nowhere to go,” DeToye said, leaning against the hood of a neighbor’s truck as storm clouds rumbled overhead.

    Tuesday was moving day for the Cole family, DeToye’s neighbors of eight years. And DeToye, a 53-year-old former casino cage cashier who’s on disability from a leg injury, was eager to help in any way he could even as his own prospects looked bleak.

    “Things are getting worse instead of better,” he said.

    DeToye and all other residents were given eviction notices by Lake Canyada’s management company, Atlanta, Ga.-based CFLane, stating they have to move out by 11:59 p.m. Friday.

    “I still got three days left,” resident Linda Hicks, who also has not found another home, said. “Miracles happen.”

    Lake Canyada’s previous owner, I&R Properties, went bankrupt, and the property, which contains 240 lots, went into foreclosure in 2012.

    After years of rumors, about 80 residents were told at a meeting in April the park would close July 1. The date was later pushed back to July 31, when Scott County officials say they are shutting off sewer access.

    Victor Roth, who represents Lake Canyada for CFLane, has declined repeated requests for an interview.

    Whatever is in store for the 56 acres off U.S. 61, a mobile home park is not part of future plans, Scott County Administrator Dee Bruemmer said.

    The park's owner Lake Canyada LLC is planning to sell the property to First City LLC, Bruemmer said, though she is not sure at this point what the prospective buyer has in store. First City has hired Verbeke-Meyer Consulting Engineers PC of Davenport to determine "the highest and best use," she said.

    Several residents was still living there Tuesday.

    Josh Cole called the place a “ghost town” as he pointed out empty trailer after empty trailer, each with a story of its own.

    “That guy didn’t know what he was going to do, and now he’s out,” Cole, 36, said of one of the vacated trailers. “He found a place. Many were having trouble and now almost everyone’s out of here. “It’s really dead around here.”

    The Coles got out just in time. Those threatening storm clouds let loose a deluge just as they were pulling out in two pickup trucks hauling their belongings.

    Josh Cole said his family is staying with relatives until he can get the frame of his double-wide fixed to move it to the nearby Rustic Ridge Mobile Home Park, Davenport.

    For some residents, searching for a new home was touch and go down to the last minute. Meghan Dipple signed the paperwork on a “fixer-upper” mobile home in Coal Valley on Thursday.

    “We were totally panicking,” the stay-at-home mother of two said on Tuesday as they were preparing to move. “We hadn’t found anywhere we could afford, knowing we were getting closer to homelessness.”

    The new mobile home will need a lot of fixing up, Dipple said, but it’s larger than the old one she has called home for three years.

    “It beats sleeping in a van,” Dipple said.

    And there's another advantage, Dipple’s 11-year-old daughter, Lily, said. “The playground is right across from this stream thing,” Lily said of her new Coal Valley home.

    Angi Benham, a convenience store clerk who lived across the street from Dipple at Lake Canyada, also has found a home elsewhere in the Quad-Cities. “We got a house and we’re all moved in,” Benham said. “We’re still trying to get situated.”

    Benham said she knew of five residents who still had not found another place, adding that she’s worried about them.

    Shortly after the meeting in April, Hicks said she had been praying that all her neighbors find another place to live. Her charitable demeanor was still the same Tuesday — she even asked about DeToye, who lives a few doors down.

    The 25-year resident of Lake Canyada, who lives with her husband and two dogs, said she now needs some of those prayers to come her way. “I’ve just been praying the Lord opens a door,” Hicks said. “We’ve been looking and searching and just haven’t found something yet.”

    She’s working with a real estate agent, but every house and apartment for rent is too expensive or too far from family and her church, she said. “Prices are high,” she said.

    Hicks said her sister has offered to let her and her husband stay with her as needed.

    For months, DeToye said he called around to other mobile home parks, and no one is willing to relocate his old trailer, which he bought for $2,500. After he’s evicted, he’ll have to sign the title over to Lake Canyada’s managers, he said.

    “My trailer is too old, that’s what most people told me,” DeToye said. “But I can’t give up.”

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