By Owen Woods | email@example.com
“IT’S hard to know, ’cause everything’s clear as mud.” That’s the voice of one Century Mobile Home Park resident who’s been attending meetings at the old Boyd School in Alamosa to hear about the sale of the mobile home park and the options owners and renters have.
The old school has served as a place for those living at the mobile home park at 1700 State Ave. to speak openly, to learn about their rights, and to create a plan for their futures.
Abraham Arrigotti, who owns Living Well Communities, has made a $6.8 million cash offer to buy the mobile home park. Arrigotti, of San Clemente, CA, has been on a mobile home park buying spree in the San Luis Valley, purchasing Country Mobile Homes in Monte Vista earlier this year and Town and Country Mobile Home Park in Alamosa in 2021.
If he gets Century Mobile, the largest park in the San Luis Valley with 184 spaces, expect rents to go up. It’s what Arrigotti did when he purchased Town and Country, and what he has told San Luis Valley Housing Coalition Executive Director Dawn Melgares he plans to do if he closes on Century Mobile.
This is why Melgares has been meeting with the Century Mobile tenants at Boyd School to walk them through their options. She has given them two other paths to pursue: organize as a Resident Owned Community and figure out how to buy Century Mobile and run it themselves; or work with the non-profit SLV Housing Coalition to purchase the park and then hire a property manager to run it.
Through the non-profit model the residents would have more say in how the mobile home park is managed, and it’s the non-profit model that appears to be the preferred option if the mobile home park doesn’t end up with Arrigotti.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Boyd School. It’s then that Melgares has told the residents of Century Mobile that they need to make a decision.
“If we can maintain it low-cost for everybody to still be able to afford, I would rather go with the non-profit,” one resident spoke up when the tenants met this past Wednesday.
Century Mobile is home to a diverse group of people. Many of them are young and in need of affordable housing, others are older and have lived there for some time. They all share a piece of land and they all share the same fears about their future.
Since it is a mobile home park, residents also have the option to move their homes, but that comes with a catch. Most of the homes in Century Mobile pre-date 1976, meaning most of them may be unsafe to move. Single-wide homes that are 15 years or newer can be moved to individual plots of land. If the single-wides are moving to another park, they just need to be safe enough to transport. If double-wide homes are from 1976 or newer, they can only move to another park. Otherwise, most of the homes will have to stay. Homeowners who wish to move will have to have their homes inspected, and the price to move varies from $5,000 to $10,000.
Melgares told the audience of mobile home owners that most of the money has been secured for the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition to purchase the park. She also said the need for a $2 million upgrade to Century Mobile’s sewer system would be funded through grants and other sources of money that are available to her organization.
The residents of Century Mobile are unsure of their futures. The feelings of being on edge are hard to ignore. Arrigotti has told Melgares that he intends to run Century Mobile as a mobile home park, meaning he’ll make the necessary improvements, bring his management team to run it, and raise the rents.
One couple who spoke with Alamosa Citizen have owned their home for close to seven years and are thinking of moving on, but remained concerned for those who would remain at Century Mobile.
“Honestly it’s just kind of a pain, you know. Mounting a lot more stuff on us. We’ve started to look for houses now, and we’re in this weird limbo where we have to sell or, I don’t want to take opportunities away from other people and the way they’re gonna vote. But at the same time I have to take care of my family.
“After a while with so many different owners and so many different rent hikes you can only take so much.”