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City Buys Trailer Park for $200,000, Will Close It

The Covington Mobile Home Park in Austinburg is now owned by the city and residents will have to move elsewhere. An agreement that settles three lawsuits between the city and the owner of the Covington Mobile Home Park and the Rosedale Mobile Home Park was approved by the Covington City Commission Tuesday night. Part of the settlement closes the Austinburg park but allows the Rosedale park, which is larger, to remain open. The mobile home parks no longer conformed to the city's zoning code after updates were made in 2006, prompting the lawsuits.

"It does involve the movement of families at the Covington Mobile Home Park and we're sensitive to that," said assistant city manager and city solicitor Frank Warnock. "The city will offer whatever assistance they can." The park has about twenty-five mobile homes of which fourteen are occupied. Owner Gailen Bridges, a Covington attorney, will give them sixty days notice to move.

The price tag on the mobile home park purchase was $200,000, Warnock said. The ultimate place where we are going is the city will own the land where the park is located and it will be up to the mayor, commission, and city administrators to plan what to do with it. 

The presence of the Covington Mobile Home Park has long been a point of contention in the Austinburg neighborhood, as reported at The River City News Tuesday morning, but the vote to purchase the property did not receive unanimous support. "The city has more important things to spend its money on and we don't need a trailer park. I vote no," said Commissioner Mildred Rains in casting the lone dissenting vote.

"These people have been here a while and this is going to be a hard move, so I hope we keep our word to help them," said Commissioner Michelle Williams.

"Some residents (of the mobile home park) may not feel like it, but it will be a positive for everyone," said Mayor Sherry Carran. "This has been a long time coming."

Bridges' lawsuits against the city involved his efforts to replace damaged trailers that were not permitted because they did not conform to the code. Though Bridges sued the city, Warnock offered pleasant words about the negotiations to close down the mobile home park. "The owner has been very helpful and accomodating, so we owe him a debt of gratitude," Warnock said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Covington Mobile Home Park/RCN