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City of Olivia, mobile home park owners near resolution on storm shelters

The Olivia City Council has approved plans by the owners of the Meadowcest Manufactured Homes Park to erect two prefabricated storm shelters and bring the park into compliance with regulations. The county is keeping civil litigation against the park and its owners active until the park is in compliance.

Meadowcrest Estates manufactured home park in Olivia
Tom Cherveny / Tribune Renville County has suspended the license for the Meadowcrest Estates manufactured home park on the north side of the city of Olivia. It does not have a designated storm shelter approved by the city.

OLIVIA — A long-running dispute between the city of Olivia and Renville County and the owners of a manufactured home park in the county seat appears near resolution.

The Olivia City Council has approved plans by the owners of the Meadowcrest Manufactured Home Park LLC — Kevin Wittinger of Loretto, Minnesota, and Kenneth Wittinger of Fridley, Minnesota — to erect two prefabricated storm shelters. Olivia City Administrator Dan Coughlin said the approval last month was made with a number of stipulations aimed at assuring that things are done correctly.

The City Council had previously rejected proposals by the park owners to use the Olivia Armory and Olivia Rehabilitation and Health Care Center as designated shelters. They are located 0.5 mile and 0.3 mile from the park, respectively.

Council members had expressed concerns about the ability of park residents, especially those with disabilities, to reach either site in a timely manner. They also questioned whether there was adequate space in the Care Center to accommodate park residents.

The lack of a storm shelter in the park is the focus of a civil lawsuit filed against the park and its owners by Renville County. County Attorney David Torgelson told the County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Jan. 5 that the county will keep the litigation active until the shelters are in place.

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Previous stories:

  • Renville County pressing for compliance at two manufactured home parks The Renville County Board of Commissioners expressed frustration about manufactured home parks in Olivia and Buffalo Lake that have not complied with demands by the county to provide storm shelters.
  • Dispute over lack of shelter for Olivia mobile home park set for trial this fall Renville County has filed litigation against the Meadowcrest Manufactured Home Park in Olivia. The county suspended its license over a year ago due to the lack of a storm shelter or approved evacuation plan for its residents.
  • Renville County suspends Meadowcrest license OLIVIA -- Renville County has suspended the license for the Meadowcrest Estates manufactured home park in Olivia. The park does not have an approved storm shelter plan which is required for its licensure, Jill Bruns and Dave Distad, representing ...

The county attorney’s office is also working with Renville County Public Health on the park’s need to be re-licensed for operation. The park license was suspended in early 2019.
“At least there is a plan going forward there for a storm shelter. Hopefully that owner will follow through," said the county attorney.

He is less hopeful of seeing a resolution soon for the Brookfield Estates manufactured home park in Buffalo Lake. It also lacks a storm shelter.

Torgelson told the commissioners that the current owner has no plans in place to address compliance issues at the park. There has been no interest expressed by anyone to purchase the property and bring it into compliance, he said.

The attorney warned that at some point, it may be necessary to take steps to close the park if it cannot be brought into compliance. “It’s a conundrum,” he said.

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