August 14, 2018 09:12 AM
A mobile home park in Fridley is about to become safer for the people who live there, as construction crews prepare to break ground on a storm shelter.
It was one year ago when a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation revealed a lack of storm shelters and evacuation plans in Minnesota’s mobile home parks.
“It's the first of its kind. It's above ground and it's concrete,” said Natividad Seefeld, President at Park Plaza Cooperative, a resident-owned mobile home park.
Seefeld fought long and hard to find the funds to build the shelter.
“We don't have a place to go, our homes are above ground. There's no basement. If you had to go somewhere, try to think of it as a fire – you have minutes basically to get out and find a way to get out,” she said.
Last year, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reviewed thousands of pages of inspection reports.
Found in them were at least 60 mobile home parks in violation of state law by not having a storm shelter or an approved evacuation plan.
Admittedly, Park Plaza Cooperative was one of them.
“I knew we would be on the list,” Seefeld said. “Just getting the funding in general and getting that in place is the hard part and we were able to do that.”
Construction crews will break ground later this week on the more than $600,000 shelter that doubles as a community center.
The park was able to secure grant money for the project, and will also dip into more funds saved up.
It will be finished this fall.
“These are the hand prints of some of the children who live here,” said Seefeld, pointing to a painting covered in kids’ prints.
“These are the people we have to keep safe, so it’s a reminder that these kids are our future and these are the kids that need to be kept safe. So we are so thankful that we are getting this storm shelter,” she said.
Updated: August 14, 2018 09:12 AM
Created: August 13, 2018 08:52 PM
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