The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

 
 

By LEE REVIS
Editor 

Aleutian Village residents asked to complete a survey

City hires contractor to gather information to aid in eviction relief effort

 

Valdez Star photo

Aleutian Village residents and trailer owners at the interim city manager's town meeting with Sarah Bronstein of Sheinberg Associates.

Aleutian Village residents are being asked to complete a survey that city officials say is needed to help the tenants of the mobile home park move forward after ties are severed with its current owner, the Aleut Corp.

Interim city manager Robert Jean hosted a town meeting with the park's residents Friday to give a briefing on the meeting he attended with other city officials with the management of the Aleut Corp.

Jean said he is confident the park can remain open - and he hopes that the mass eviction notices sent to all owners of trailers in the park will have their eviction notices rescinded by Christmas.

However, the city and the park's residents need to prepare now for the park's future once the Aleut Corp. is out of the picture.

That is where the economic-data survey comes in.

"We need to know a little more about your real-world situation," Jean said when stressing the need for the survey. "There's a lot information we need before we can take more steps down the road."

The city's department of economic development is hoping to receive a block grant to fund a homeowners association made up of the park's residents.

The economic data will aid the city in obtaining a block grant to aid the process.

"We will help broker the paperwork," Jean said - and stated that the city itself had no intention of entering the mobile home park management business.

The proposal, which he said the city's law firm is drafting, will require approval by the city council. If passed by council, the proposal will go to the park's residents.

"Who's going to operate the park?" Jean said, while introducing the home owners association. "That would be my preferred option - that you take control of your own future."

Sarah Bronstein, a community planner with Sheinberg Associates, addressed the residents in attendance at the meeting, and said the firm's goal was to obtain a 100 percent return.

Lisa Von Bargen, the city's director of economic development, stressed that the city's contract with Sheinberg clearly states that city hall will only receive aggregate data from the survey and that no personal information from the survey will be turned over to the city.

"We will have absolutely no access to personal information," Von Bargen said - and stressed that the survey needed 100 percent participation in order to receive the grant.

"The top number one way to take the survey is on the internet," Bronstein said, but that trailer owners were sent paper copies in the mail, along with a self addressed, stamped envelope.

Those who rent trailers are being asked to take the survey online or contact Bronstein directly to take it telephonically, if need be because the city only has addresses for the owners of trailers on file, not those who rent.

Bronstein's number is 907-586-3141.

The survey goes offline after Oct. 30 and all paper surveys must be postmarked by that date.

The survey could also aid in forming a rotating fund to help owners upgrade their housing in the future.

Jean said that at some point in the future, it will be necessary to address housing options for trailer-dwellers whose homes need to be replaced.

Von Bargen said her department is working to update the city's building code to allow other types of modular housing throughout the city.

Other issues with the park are still unknown.

Jean said the city's ballpark estimate to finish the upgrades to the park that were started by the Aleut Corp. but never completed is around $450,000. However, that number could rise if the city imposes fines as part of its efforts to bring the park up to code.

Ten years ago, the Aleut Corp. signed an agreement with the city that it would hook up the park's trailers to city water and sewer, pave the road and bring the electric system up to code. The roads were paved and much of the infrastructure was built but never completed.

 

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