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

By LEE REVIS
Editor, Valdez Star 

Bad and good news comes to light at town meeting

Aleutian Village stakeholders looking at new proposal to thwart eviction

 

Valdez Star photo

The town meeting held to give an update on the city's Aleutian Village anti-eviction efforts had both good and bad news.

There is a mix of good and bad news for the tenants and stakeholders facing eviction from Aleutian Trailer Park.

Robert Jean, interim city manager, and Lisa Von Bargen, executive director of the city's economic development department, hosted a town meeting last Wednesday to update the public on its findings and progress made in its quest to avert displacing the 60 or so households in the park.

The city's findings concluded that, under the current business model, the park probably breaks even financially when all space rent is paid on time, but probably hemorrhages money when tenants fall behind in the $250 monthly lease.

This does not include cash to pay for the mandated upgrades to the park's infrastructure.

Jean told the town meeting attendees that the city currently believes the best course of action would be for the to try to negotiate a purchase of the land from its current owner, the Alaska Dept. of Transportation, with an eye towards turning what is now a trailer park into a mix-use subdivision.

Ideally, tenants would purchase the land they currently rent with loan payments close to the current cost of leasing the land. The city would also work with mobile homeowners with a yet-to-be-developed mobile home replacement program, with or without foundations.

The vision for the theoretical subdivision also includes land for multi family housing units and some commercial/ residential uses.

Jean had originally envisioned the formation of a homeowners association that would be run by tenants.

The new plan is far from firm according to Jean, who will be leaving Valdez permanently this January and passing the baton to the new city manager, Dennis Ragsdale.

Source: City of Valdez

Aggregated results of the city sponsored survey of Aleutian Village residents show that 91 percent of the leaseholders own their mobile home.

The new management plan has not yet been vetted by the Valdez City Council, which is just the first hurtle the plan will need to jump before it can proceed.

I if given approval by council, city administration would still have to convince the Aleut Corporation to hold off on its planned eviction of all trailers for two additional years to give the city time to negotiate the land purchase from DOT, deal with zoning issues, and implement this city-based rotating loan program, among other issues.

The city missed the December deadline to apply for a federal urban block grant to help fund future development of the park.

Jean warned tenants that the August 31, 2016 eviction notice sent to all lease holders in the park is still in effect in could very well happen.

 

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