Neodesha, Kansas residents being forced to move out of trailer park
NEODESHA, Kan. – Neodesha resident Bryan Wilson is between a rock and a hard place with no clear direction.
“I’ve been so mad. I’ve been holding it all in,” says Bryan Wilson.
He and his wife are both on disability and only make around two-thousand dollars a month. They also have regular medical bills because his wife had MS, and they take care of their 14-year-old grandson.
“Thought we were gonna live here until he put us into the ground,” says Wilson regarding their trailer home.
But they, and the other half a dozen people who live at Northgate Mobile Estates, are being told by the city to vacate their lots by February 1st, 2021.
“We’re on the brink of turning around that problem of our shrinking population,” says City Administrator Ed Truelove.
City Administrator Ed Truelove says the Neodesha Promise Scholarship, which pays for the college tuition of any qualifying Neodesha graduate, has brought about a big demand for housing.
But they don’t have much available, so they’re starting on a few different housing developments. One of which will be at the trailer park.
“This is a mobile home park with maybe 45 or 50 mobile home spots within this park, and there are maybe seven tenants that remain out there,” says Truelove.
Truelove says the city did discuss with the tenants that the move was a possibility before the city acquired the trailer park around a year ago, and that they have been transparent with tenants about the city’s timeline.
He also says they have given tenants some options, such as renting a property from the city land bank and moving their trailer onto the land, or the city would help them sell their trailer so they could move into the housing authority, which is income based.
But Wilson says the housing authority won’t fit all of the stuff he and his wife have acquired over the years, would be small for three people, and that they don’t have the money that it would take to move their trailer, as well as set up a different lot.
“There’s no place here available in town. We’ve checked all the availability in town. We really don’t wanna move to Independence, we thought about maybe Fredonia or even Altoona. If they could come up with a comparable compensation for moving us and let us move into the city… we want to stay,” Wilson says.
“We will continue to explore all of our options. But, at some point in time you just have to be responsible for your own destiny,” says Truelove. “But, we don’t want people to leave town. You hope that you’re not harming these folks by requiring them to move. But at the same time hoping to make the improvements in your community.”
Truelove also adds that the stipulations of the Neodesha Promise Scholarship require the city to push for economic and housing development.
They plan to have 18 median income houses built on the property after the lots are all clear.