With a Mayor’s Town Hall Sept. 25 centering around the recent change in ownership of Auble’s Mobile Home Park, Johanna Anderson, executive director of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS), said she is looking forward to talking more with village residents and those who currently live in the mobile home community about her organization’s acquisition of the property.
The mobile home park is now being referred to as Compass.
“This is actually just a chance for both village residents and the [Compass] community residents to come out and have a chance to ask me questions, questions of the mayor, and find out what we hope to see for the future of this little portion of land in the village,” Anderson said. Trumansburg Village Mayor Rordan Hart will be in attendance, along with Anderson, and the event will begin at 10 a.m. at the Trumansburg Fire Hall, 74 West Main Street.
INHS announced the purchase earlier this month. INHS bought the mobile home community from Phil Auble, owner of Auble’s Mobile Home Park, LLC, for $3.4 million, according to Anderson.
The purchase also includes over 100 acres of additional land that could be redeveloped for future rental housing. Keynote Realty will manage the property’s day-to-day operations.
Anderson anticipates the upcoming gathering will be relatively informal. It is a chance for the public to find out more about the project, even though is still in the early stages. Some of the plans INHS is very certain about, but other things—like the potential development of the vacant land that surrounds the property—remain uncertain at this time.
“We would really just like to hear from the community what they’re thinking, give them a chance to hear what our initial plans are, and see if they are in alignment,” Anderson said.
INHS is currently working to secure additional funding from New York State that will assist the organization in its plans to rehabilitate residences in the park and put new housing units in. This will require the installation of new pads and an upgrade of the electrical lines, among other things.
INHS has met with the community before, during the Trumansburg Farmer’s Market.
“Shortly after the purchase we met with someone from Keynote and our maintanece/operations technician, and the three of us met with residents of Compass at one of the farmer’s markets,” Anderson said. “It really was just a meet and greet with 15, maybe 20 of us at one point and Mayor Hart in attendance as well. It was just a chance to get to know each other, and we enjoyed listening to the residents and finding out where their interests were, and we answered questions about what rules and regulations will be in place and how the leases work, those sorts of things.”
This endeavor of purchasing the old trailer park has taken INHS into unfamiliar territory, she said, adding that she is grateful to have Keynote as a partner.
“They have a wonderful reputation managing parks throughout Upstate New York,” she said. “They have been very helpful as we’ve taken this on.”
Compass has 138 pads for mobile homes. Thirty-one are vacant lots, 86 are privately owned, and 21 are owned and rented by INHS. Of those 21, INHS has determined that eight will be replaced and 13 will have improvements done to them that will bring them up to INHS standards.
The purchase was made with the assistance of a $775,000 Enterprise Community Partners grant.
The decision to buy the property was spurred by INHS’s knowledge of a problematic Upstate New York trend. “In areas where the housing market is very competitive and there are communities like this—called naturally occurring affordable housing—oftentimes people come in and purchase these entities, which are oftentimes owned by a single person ready to retire…but then whoever is buying it will evict everyone and sit on the land and sell it to another developer,” Anderson explained.
She said that INHS, with its 45 years of being committed to its mission of helping people to obtain and maintain affordable, quality housing, seized on the opportunity to make a difference for one such community by preventing that likely scenario.
“Although it’s a new line of business for us, it’s in perfect line with our vision,” Anderson said.