A Lawrence real estate company plans to redevelop and clean up a deteriorating trailer park on East 23rd Street, but the project has created questions among residents and neighbors.
Larry Midyett, owner of Century 21 Miller & Midyett Real Estate, has filed plans to redevelop the trailer park at 1045 E. 23rd St. with the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department.
Midyett plans to build an office building that would house his real estate company on the 4-acre property, which is east of the Sonic Drive-In restaurant and between 23rd and 24th streets. The building would be located along 23rd Street, while the trailers would be relocated on the property and moved closer to 24th Street.
"Basically I'm planning on moving the people who will be dislocated (by the building) to the back part of the property and see how it goes from there," Midyett said.
Lawrence-based A-Z Enterprises currently owns the trailer park, which has been the subject of several housing code violations during the past two years. JoAnn Qandil, an owner of A-Z Enterprises, said the company decided to sell the park because of the hassle it had caused the company.
She said there were 35 lots on the property but not all the trailers were currently rented. She, nor Midyett, had an estimate of how many people lived at the park. Qandil said she thought the project probably would require some residents to leave.
"I think everybody who deserves to stay will be able to stay," Qandil said. "But there are some people who need to go. I'm going to give (Midyett) a list of ideal tenants, and then it will be up to him."
Midyett wasn't making any promises Tuesday but said he hoped everybody who wanted to stay in the park would have a place to do so.
"I'm hoping with the number of spaces that are vacant it will still be able to accommodate the people who are out there," Midyett said.
The park's residents aren't sure what to think about the project.
James Simpson said he would like to see the park cleaned up, but his trailer is located on a portion of property that would be taken by the office building. He hasn't been told whether he will be allowed to stay in the park.
"I have a feeling that someday the whole park will be gone," Simpson said. "I think that is what the city would really like. But I can tell you that it would put me in a bind if I have to move before the end of the year."
Dale Mayhew also lives in a portion of the park that will house the office building. He has begun cleaning out a trailer farther south on the property that he will move into next month.
"I think everybody who has paid their rent and wants to stay will be able to stay," said Mayhew, who said he had been informed of the development by Qandil.
Neighbors who live just south of the trailer park along 24th Street said they would like to meet with Midyett to learn more about the project.
Kevin Stewart, who lives along Home Circle, said he would like to see the property redeveloped. But he said he was concerned about how the remaining trailers would affect his neighborhood.
"I'm sure it is going to look better from 23rd Street, but it sounds like they are going to move a lot of trailers by us," Stewart said. "I'm afraid it might end up getting worse before it gets better."
|Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioners are scheduled to discuss plans to redevelop the trailer court at 1045 E. 23rd St. during their meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.|
He said he also thought there should be some sort of plan for the trailer park residents who would lose their homes.
"I don't want something to happen that will just leave people without homes," Stewart said. "There are some kids who live over there, and I know it probably is not a very good place for them to live, but it is better than living on the street."
Stewart and his wife, Jennifer, are organizing a petition to ask planning commissioners to delay any decision on the project for two months.
Midyett said that could put the redevelopment in jeopardy. Midyett, who has not yet finalized the purchase of the property, said he would look elsewhere to locate his office building if he couldn't start construction by early 2005.