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Fate of mobile home park to be decided next week

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June 4, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONKTON — June 13 will be an important day for residents of the Vaughan Mobile Home Park in Monkton. That’s the date on which state officials will determine whether to commit $225,000 toward septic system repairs that would allow the mobile home park on Hollow Road to remain open.

The town of Monkton and the Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) are jointly seeking the $225,000 through the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP). Plans call for the ACCT to borrow an additional $125,000, for a total $350,000 project that would involve replacing the current failing Vaughan septic system with a new one that would be located on land on the other side of Hollow Road.

That septic system land would be purchased for around $100,000 from a park neighbor, according to ACCT Executive Director Terry McKnight. If the project — which has already been permitted — gets a financial green light, ACCT would then purchase the Vaughan Mobile Home Park from owner Jennifer Barsalou for $69,500, according to McKnight.

It’s a transaction that would perpetually preserve nine units of affordable housing in Addison County, McKnight noted.

“Saving mobile home parks in Vermont has been a critical priority,” McKnight said. “We have successfully demonstrated that these parks can be managed and run efficiently.”

The ACCT is the second-largest owner of mobile home parks in the state of Vermont. The organization currently owns eight parks in Addison County that host a combined total of 331 mobile home lots.

Affordable housing stock is important in Monkton, McKnight said, when one considers the average cost of a home in the town was $281,862 in 2005. That’s about $60,000 above the statewide average and around $58,000 above the Addison County average, according to McKnight.

By contrast, the average price of a mobile home (including land) in Addison County in 2005 was $94,435. The average price in Monkton was $173,000.

“To save nine (affordable) homes is important,” McKnight said. “If we had to go out and build nine affordable homes, we would be talking north of $1 million. We see this as an investment in existing affordable housing.”

McKnight credited Monkton officials for sponsoring the VCDP grant.

“They have helped us every step of the way,” McKnight said of town selectmen.

He also gave kudos to Brian Carlson and Sarah Lincoln, the neighbors who have agreed to sell the new septic system site across the road from the Vaughan Mobile Home Park.

“Without their agreeing to sell the land, the (mobile home park) would probably have disappeared,” McKnight said.

The new communal septic system will include new pipes from each trailer to a 3,000-gallon holding tank. New conduit will be put in under Hollow Road, leading to the new mound system.

McKnight is optimistic the VCDP funding will come through. If all goes well, work could begin on the project this July.

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