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Management cites improvements appreciated by tenants of Willmar mobile home parks

Many dilapidated mobile homes have been removed from the Regency mobile home parks in Willmar, grounds have been cleaned up and utilities shut off so that unused lots are not attractive to squatters, according to parks management. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

WILLMAR — Eviction of bad tenants and removal of dilapidated homes are among improvements made by management in recent years at Regency East and West mobile home parks in Willmar.

“We’ve gotten rid of a lot of the people that the former manager let in. They’ve been evicted,’’ says Kim Fedders of Cambridge, who has been the Willmar parks manager during the last three years with Regency of Minnesota.

She spoke during a recent meeting of the Willmar City Council’s Community Development Committee.

The Willmar parks are owned by Churchill Group of Carbondale, Colo. The company also owns a mobile home park in Mora that Fedders also manages. Fedders says the company provides the funds and authorization to do what is needed.

Homes that are no longer habitable are taken apart and hauled away. Other improvements include tree removal, landscape changes, and infrastructure improvements.

Bruce Peterson, city planning and development director, said live electric meters and pedestals that were no longer needed have been cleaned up. He said the state electrical inspector came in and worked with management to get everything fixed from an electrical standpoint to meet code issues.

Fedders said there is no electricity available to those lots and those are no longer attractive to squatters.

“We disconnected any meters where there were no homes on the lots,’’ said Fedders. “We disconnected the power to those lots so no one could take an abandoned meter from a home. It just can’t be done anymore.’’

Fedders also said city staff works well with park management and Fedders said City Building Official Randy Kardell “is great with us.’’

Kardell in the past has received City Council approval to declare abandoned mobile homes unsafe in violation of city exterior storage and exterior maintenance ordinances.

“If I have an issue with a tenant, with their lot and the way they are maintaining that, if I call Randy, he’s on it,’’ Fedders said.

Another big improvement, said Fedders, is that tenants became responsible for the garbage outside their house. Tenants could be fined by the city if garbage became an issue.

“It’s the tenant issue and one they get a citation. They don’t want to go to court. They don’t want to pay an extra fee, so they’ll clean up the garbage. That helps a lot,’’ said Fedders.

Although both parks have been listed for sale for quite a while and the company has had two offers in the last three years, neither park has been sold, according to Fedders.

The east park has 122 lots and has about 40 occupied homes. The west park has 113 lots and 80 of those are occupied.

“The tenants that I have now are tenants that have been there long before I came. They’re very helpful. They want to keep their community nice,’’ she said.

Fedders says she’s proud of the tenants. The longest tenant has been there 15 to 20 years.

“Sometimes they think that they are the forgotten community,’’ she continued. “I get a little sensitive about it because there were a lot of people in the park that shouldn’t have been in the park. Corporate really would never allow some of the people. So it was (a former) manager who was using his own discretion.

“But now that we’re following procedure, everybody that comes in gets credit checked. Everybody that comes in gets a criminal check. If you don’t pass it, you don’t pass it. I don’t bend the rules and the tenants have responded. They’re so grateful. They want their community to look just as nice as I want their community to look. They’re open with us. They’re fair with us. We’re fair with them.’’

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150