Residents at Silverthorne mobile home parks say they are saddened and fearful about relocating come June 2
The land was sold to a developer who plans to turn the sites into a high-density residential development
Ernesto Valderrama, his mother, Lourdes Saavedra, and five other family members live together in a mobile home at the D&D Mobile Home Park at 780 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne. After nearly 17 years of living at their home, which they own, the family is being forced to relocate come June 2 after a developer bought the land in September.
With plans to turn both the D&D and Cottonwood Court, 772 Blue River Parkway, mobile home parks into high-density housing, residents have been left with few options for relocating elsewhere in Summit County. In total, about 68 individuals — roughly 15 families — are in jeopardy of losing their homes.
Though John Niemi, founder and CEO of developer The Aidan Group, said he is planning to provide residents with some sort of financial compensation, no details have emerged, and residents are fearful of what’s to come.
Through her son, who interpreted, Saavedra said that up until this point, communication with Niemi and his team has felt “abrupt” and “sudden.” Her son, Valderrama, said Niemi seems to have shown more interest in communicating and helping the residents as of late but that he’s unsure whether anything will actually be done to help families like his.
“Recently, I definitely feel like he’s willing to hear us out, since we’ve unionized with (the Family & Intercultural Resource Center) and Mountain Dreamers,” Valderrama said. “I definitely feel like he has been present and considerate. … He was willing to hear us out, everything we said, and it seems like he’s willing to do something — but who knows.”
Saavedra said it saddened her to have to move and that she felt unsure whether she and her family would be able to find somewhere else to live. Valderrama noted that many rental prices are outside the family’s budget, and many of them have a limit on how many individuals can live in a single unit.
Veronica Arguelles is in the same position. She and her brother just finished paying off their trailer in the D&D Mobile Home Park, and now they’ll have to leave it behind come June. Arguelles said she lives with her brother, sister-in-law and her 6-year-old son. She has looked at a variety of places to live in the county, but for many places, she doesn’t meet the criteria needed to be approved. Money has also been a barrier in finding somewhere to relocate.
“We’ve been asking for time, another year or two years, so that we can find a home, and that’s all we really want,” Arguelles said through an interpreter. “We don’t want to move around, but that’s all we want: hope and more time.”
Maria Elena lives in the same park as the other two families, and she said she was sad and angry by what is happening to the property, so much so that she’s having trouble sleeping. Elena lives in her home with her two daughters. She works seven days a week, which makes it difficult to scout around the county to find another place to live.
“I wake up at 3 a.m., and my head is just (running) trying to think, and I’m so worried,” Elena said through an interpreter.
All the residents said that some sort of financial compensation would help them find a new place to live, especially if it was enough for first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit. And even then, it doesn’t guarantee them a new property in Summit County.
Elena said she’d like to see the developers help residents identify new places to live and provide enough money to “start up again.” Valderrama said he’d like to see his family receive financial compensation that speaks to the investment they made in the home they own. Arguelles said she wanted the developer to stop its plans outright.
“My savings for five years went into that trailer, and I was doing a second job to make the money, and it was just to give my boy a future,” Arguelles said. “I see that all that effort is going down the drain.”
Not only are they frustrated with the developer’s plans, but a couple of residents also expressed feeling hurt about the town’s actions, too.
“The housing situation definitely needs to be worked on, because even though wages might be high, it’s not enough to really cover an apartment,” Saavedra said. “I would hope that they listen to us with aiding us financially or aiding us with the relocation.”
“I just think it’s unfair that they haven’t taken us into consideration, that they haven’t thought about us,” she said. “I’m not asking for millions; I’m just asking to be considered and to not push us aside.”
Earlier this week, Niemi said his goal is to have some sort of financial compensation identified in the next two weeks. In the meantime, the families at these mobile home parks are bracing for change within the coming months.
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