Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Mall project alarms mobile home residents

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CRESCENT SPRINGS - For an upscale mall to move into Crescent Springs, the Crest Mobile Home Park community has to move out.

That concerns Tom Trimnell, 42, who has lived in the park - a tree-lined neighborhood of about a half-dozen streets nearly hidden off of Beechwood Road - for 12 years.

"I don't want to move," Trimnell said Tuesday as he cleaned out his late mother's car. "My mom died. I've never been out on my own. I like it here. This has been home for a long time. I guess what they want to do is progress.

"But I still don't think it's fair."

Bear Creek Capital wants to build a $55 million outdoor lifestyle mall on 50 acres that includes the mobile home park - home to 130 families.

Bear Creek has agreements to buy the land needed for the 350,000-square-foot mall, including the mobile home park, but no final deals have been reached.

Park owner Ray Erpenbeck, an engineer and developer based in Elsmere, said he would put together a plan to move the residents if he sells the property to Bear Creek Capital.

"We haven't really addressed the issue, and we won't until we see if we sell," said Erpenbeck, who has owned the park for about 20 years.

Erpenbeck said he does not own another piece of land, so moving the park to a new location is unlikely.

Instead, Erpenbeck said, residents would be moved to mobile home parks elsewhere in the region.

"But those are the things we would have to work out if the property sells," Erpenbeck said.

Many residents own their mobile homes but rent space from Erpenbeck.

Crescent Springs Mayor Claire Mariconi said she received two calls from residents Tuesday morning, asking what will happen to them if the park is sold. She referred the calls to Erpenbeck.

Residents of the park are expected to attend council's Aug. 11 meeting, where they can ask questions.

Among them will be Carol Riley, 55. She and her husband, John, 65, have lived in the park for 22 years.

"I'm going to go to that meeting and tell the mayor and City Council that I don't want to move," Riley said. "This has been home for a long time. It's convenient. It's quiet. It's a nice place to live.

"Besides, where are we going to go?"

The Riley's mobile home is one of the tidiest residences in the park.

Located literally on Easy Street, the mobile home's tiny front yard is filled with lawn ornaments, outdoor furniture and a row of corn.

John Riley likes living in the park but admits he wouldn't mind moving into the country.

Still, he vowed to fight the development.

His wife said many of the families are not wealthy: "The woman next door lives on Social Security. The guy across the street is raising a small child by himself. ... We live on disability," Riley said. "What are people supposed to do? You're talking about disrupting a lot of peoples' lives."

The project is slated for a tract bordered roughly by Beechwood Road, Anderson Road, a strip retail center fronting Buttermilk Pike and a set of railroad tracks.

The developers say they could have a final development plan to county planners within two months.

City Council would then have to approve the plan.


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