August 11, 2017 10:54 AM
Residents at a mobile home park in Fridley rallied together and found a way to pay for a nearly half-million dollar storm shelter and community room.
A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation that aired Sunday revealed at least 60 mobile home parks are breaking state law, which requires parks to provide shelters or evacuation plans.
The investigation also found the state rarely penalizes parks for breaking the law.
A state official justified the lack of fines by citing the fact they are affordable housing communities, and that such penalties can cripple a park and force hundreds of families out of their homes.
But Park Plaza Cooperative in Fridley proves if there’s a will, there’s a way to build a shelter.
“Every time I go to residents to talk about anything, I hear ‘When is it getting built? When is it getting built?’ and because there are so many tornadoes this year it could happen again,” said Nancy Stock, the manager of the resident-owned park.
Right now if a storm hits the park, families are stuck.
The current underground storm shelter is old, too small and floods so easily it is considered permanently off-limits.
In May, the park got approved for a state grant that will pay for a large portion of the estimated $450,000 project.
“We’re trying to make it better for everyone that lives here,” Stock said.
Since Park Plaza Cooperative is resident-owned, it’s easier to accomplish projects residents feel are priorities.
They worked with Northcountry Cooperative Foundation to make the shelter happen.
“If your next-door neighbor is constantly harassing you about when a storm shelter is going to get built, there is a lot of motivation to get the storm shelter done,” said the foundation's Victoria Clark.
Residents planned to meet with the architect Thursday to go over plans for the shelter and community room.
They hope to have the facility built this fall - or by next spring at the latest.
Updated: August 11, 2017 10:54 AM
Created: August 10, 2017 04:39 PM
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