Residents of Brookside Village Mobile Home Park were notified Monday the park will close effective June 30, which will displace around 120 families.
Bruce Keathley of Diamond Investment Co., which owns the property where the mobile home park is located, told the Log Cabin Democrat on Tuesday said that closing was the only option. Lot fees include water and sewage, which Keathley said he can no longer afford.
“I’ve done the best I could. The last thing I wanted to do was displace families,” he said. “The reason I gave them to the end of June was so it would be after children get out of school for the year.”
In a letter to Brookside Village residents, Keathley said: “It is with regret that I must inform you that due to Conway Corporation’s increasing water and sewer rates, Brookside Village are ceasing operations effective June 30, 2019.”
Conway Corporation Chief Marketing Officer Crystal Kemp told the Log Cabin water and sewer charges are “directly related to customer consumption.”
“He is billed for what is used,” Kemp said. “In cases with faulty plumbing and leaks, we take a look at those bills if repairs are made. Our rates are competitive and, in many cases, lower than other communities.”
She noted that Conway Corporation hasn’t had a wastewater increase since January 2014. It increased its water fees in January 2018.
However, she said Conway Corp is committed to “helping those [displaced] customers as they move forward and making sure their transition is easy.”
Residents were told they must vacate by June 30 and continue to pay rent until then.
“You also have to move your mobile home when you vacate,” the notice reads in part. “Any mobile homes or other property left on the premises will be considered abandoned when you vacate or stop paying rent, and we will dispose of it. We will be glad to try to assist you in finding you a new place to live or provide you with the name of a mobile home mover. If you’re purchasing your mobile home from us, please contact us.”
Brookside Village was one of three City of Hope Outreach (CoHO) communities. CoHO Director Phil Fletcher has been meeting with local officials to see what can be done to help the families.
“We have three major objectives: identifying locations for people who their [mobile homes] to place them; find an apartment or other place to rent for people who are renting their [mobile homes]; and transferring Conway Corp utilities for these families.”
He said First Security Bank opened an account called the Brookside Family Fund for anyone who wants to contribute financially to the displaced families.
“Those funds will be used to help alleviate moving expenses and to help get these families settled,” Fletcher said. “Anyone who wants to donate can do so at any First Security Bank in Arkansas.”
The CoHO director also reached out to people via social media asking for volunteers to help move the families or anyone who can provide trucks and moving equipment.
Fletcher said CoHO has developed a close relationship with the 120 families over the past seven years and they would still be included in events with the other two CoHO communities.
“These relationships are not going to stop,” he said. “They’re not relegated to a specific geographic location.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact CoHO at 501-205-1614 or visit http://www.coho58.org.