Tuesday, August 12, 2003

$55M mall would oust 130 families


Mobile home park's residents upset

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

CRESCENT SPRINGS - More than 50 residents of a mobile home park packed the municipal building Monday night to express their concern over a proposed development that would close down the park.

Cincinnati developer Bear Creek Capital has an option to purchase the Crest Mobile Home Park off Anderson Road from Ray Erpenbeck, owner and landlord of the park for 20 years.

The developer's plans include building a $55 million, 350,000-square-foot outdoor mall on 50 acres with stores, an office building and restaurants.

"Bear Creek Capital has the right to buy it if they get all the approvals and the building permit," said Erpenbeck.

The approvals will have to come from the Kenton County and Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission. The plan would then go to Crescent Springs City Council for final approval. Bear Creek plans to apply in the next two months.

The 39-year-old park is home to 130 families, many of them living on disability or Social Security. They pay $250 a month to live there - inexpensive, many of them said, compared with other mobile home parks - and are concerned about where they will go if forced to leave.

"A lot of lives will be ruined because of this," said Mark Perry, who has lived there with his family for 15 years. "People will be homeless."

Residents said the trailers, which they own, won't be welcomed in other mobile home parks if they are more than 8 years old. One resident estimated 60 percent of the trailers fall in that category.

Because the land is already zoned for the proposed development, there is little City Council can do about the sale.

But council members said they will do what they can to help the residents.

"I don't know that we can address all their needs, but we can certainly try to help the people," said Councilwoman Christie Arlinghaus-Clem.

"Our hands are tied to some extent, but I think it's in our interest to represent these people," said Councilman Jim Collett. "And the developer has assured us he will have a relocation plan in place."

David Rose, 62, has lived there for eight years and is on a fixed income. He pleaded with council to "take care of its people."

"I'm not mad because they want to sell the land. They have every right.

"But these people here made Crescent Springs by supporting all of the small businesses all these years," said Rose.

Erpenbeck said Bear Creek still has "a lot of hoops to go through" before it can exercise the option on the land.

"We'll certainly do what we can to help them," Erpenbeck said of residents.




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