Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gaslight Village community forced to find new homes

Toni Martin, a former resident of Gaslight Village in south Lawrence, reflects on her time spent in the mobile home community. Martin and her family had to move from the Gaslight Village when the management sold the land to a developer.

Toni Martin, a former resident of Gaslight Village in south Lawrence, reflects on her time spent in the mobile home community. Martin and her family had to move from the Gaslight Village when the management sold the land to a developer.

May 16, 2012


When Toni Martin and her three children moved to Gaslight Village in September 2010, they formed a bond with the other families in the small neighborhood. Martin said her children quickly made friends.

In March, Martin stood on her porch as six middle school-aged children filed past her, collecting forks. She said she frequently watched and fed neighborhood kids. A month later, as she stood in her empty singlewide trailer, her voice cracked when she spoke of leaving the community.

“We loved everybody in the park,” she said. “We’ve never had a community this close.”

Martin, who is originally from Lawrence, said her ex-husband was a Marine, so the family was used to moving to wherever he was stationed. When Martin returned to Lawrence, she thought the constant moving would be over.

“The kids need a place they can settle down at,” she said.

Gaslight Mobile Home Village on 31st Street, a few blocks east of Iowa Street, once was a full community of about 150 trailers, but now with construction of a student apartment complex looming, residents are emptying the park.

Park residents were told in November that Mid-America Manufactured Housing Communities, the company that owns Gaslight Village, was planning to sell Gaslight to an Austin, Texas-based developer. The company, Aspen Heights, plans to replace the park with townhomes for about 1,000 students.

Forced to move

Martin chose to relocate to Edgewood Apartments on Haskell Avenue. Martin said the owners told her the park can’t buy out her trailer until June, so she’s paying $285 a month in rent at the park in addition to the $434 per month at Edgewood. Martin, who works in the kitchen at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, said the additional rent is a significant burden.

Martin’s Gaslight neighbor Frances Wales said she doesn’t blame Kansas University students for being forced to move from her home of 20 years.

“If it wasn’t for KU, students I wouldn’t have had a job,” Wales said.

She worked security at KU’s Robinson Gymnasium for 37 years. Wales said that during her time at the university she became attached to students and faculty, especially the basketball players. She said many players used the gym during the offseason.

“Milt Newton was my favorite,” Wales said. “I read his life story, and it really makes you appreciate what these kids have to go through to make it.”

Wales, 78, retired in 2004, and though it was tough leaving the students behind, she was glad she could focus on her family. She said she would have started to move already, but much of her time is spent caring for two older sisters. She does cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping for a 95-year-old sister in North Lawrence. Her other sister, in Topeka, uses a walker, so Wales frequently visits her to help out.

“I think I’ve taken her to the eye doctor five times in the last month,” she said.

Wales also has nine grown children, 17 grandkids and 25 great-grandkids. Unlike many of the homes in the park, Wales’ singlewide is carefully landscaped with railroad ties, various flowers and shrubs. Two of her sons who live with her do most of the yard work.


Wales said she plans to have Gaslight’s owners move her trailer to Brookwood Mobile Home Park on East 19th Street where a majority of residents will relocate. Along with the trailer, Wales said, the manager agreed to move her porch, fence and a small shed.

Wales said she thought the lot in Brookwood is smaller than where she lives now, so she might have to leave much of that landscaping.

When she saw other people moving out of the park, she decided to talk to the park manager about what her options for moving were.

“We’ll just have to see what will work,” she said.

Wales said she expected to move within a month but wasn’t sure exactly when. She said had she not gone to the park office to talk to the manager, she probably wouldn’t have known anything anyway.

“I wish they (park officials) would do a better job communicating,” Wales said.

Tom Horner III, an executive with Edwardsville-based Mid-America Manufactured Housing Communities and Horner and Associates, the trailer park’s owners, said there is no set deadline for residents to be out of the park because the deal with the developers remains in negotiation.

Horner said he understands the park residents’ frustration over the vagueness of the park’s lifespan.

“We’d like to tell our residents what’s going on,” Horner said. “We want to give them peace of mind.”

He said the company sends updates about the deal in the park’s monthly newsletter, but there has been little new information since the fall.

Horner said his company would pay residents’ moving costs if they want to relocate their trailer to another park in Lawrence. The company had paid for only two of the about 130 trailers so far, but other residents had begun relocating on their own. In all, no more than 10 residents had relocated. He said he wasn’t sure what the cost to the company for moving residents would be because costs vary based on whether the trailer is a single- or doublewide and on what condition it’s in.

Horner said residents are allowed to stay in the park until the end of the school year so families with children won’t have to relocate until summer.


Loretta James 6 years ago

when are they going to build some low income apts for all the residents of mobile home parks that are being shut down or bought out for student housing

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years ago

It would be a foolish business decision to build an apartment targeted toward low income people. The building materials would need to be very low budget in order to see any hope of a return in an investment, not to mention the increased money spent in upkeep from vandalism and crime.

Tongie_soccer 6 years ago

are you implying that low income families are all vandals and criminals, because it sure sounds that way - dumbest statement I've seen made in days (excluding posts to the tax debate stories). Lord knows those sweet little college kids would never tear anything up or steal anything...

Sparko 6 years ago

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Cody Ochs 6 years ago

They should require a percentage of low income housing built for each development project, either through direct build or some other way - perhaps contributions of time and materials to Habitat for Humanity.

deec 6 years ago

No that is backwards. The public handouts go TO the developers, not the other way around.

Steve Jacob 6 years ago

Low income housing involves tax breaks and government grants, and those are drying up.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

Where are the 1000 students going to come from? It's not my money going into this development, but Lawrence seems incredibly overbuilt with apartments. KU enrollment and the Lawrence population are stagnant yet new apartments keep pooping up. How do the economics work on that?

JackMcKee 6 years ago

I'd also like it if Lawrence could do a better job putting students in one part of town. They don't really have much in common with the other residents.

gatekeeper 6 years ago

Students were one of the reasons I bought in N. Lawrence. Before the city bus service, there was no KU bus service to N. Lawrence, so the students didn't live there. Also not a lot of rentals. Prior to that, I lived in an area of mostly rentals and tons of students. The non-stop partying got a little old after a while.

milehighhawk 6 years ago

Solution: Move to a nicer neighborhood.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

They're pretty much spread all over town. I'd guess it makes it pretty hard for grocery stores, restaurants, retail etc to cater to everyone. Students pretty much live one kind of lifestyle and the rest of the residents live an entirely different lifestyle. The two just don't mesh. It's logical to put people with similar wants and desires in the same area.

Bursting 6 years ago

Jack, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Maybe you just don't like "young people" your broad generalizations about students makes you look entirely too close minded and socially worthless.

Jayhawk_4_Life 6 years ago

absolutely, all KU Students aren't binge-drinkers with no consideration for their neighbors, cause that's pretty much what you're implying.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

No, that's actually not what I'm implying.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

Actually, I think I do. I've lived in Lawrence 23 years. 9 as a student, 14 as a professional. I've lived in the same house for 10 years and watched apartments spring up all over the neighborhood and the quality and selection of restaurants, retail and groceries decline. I tend to believe the two are correlated. It's something that has angered many of my neighbors to point of forming coalitions to prevent additional apartment developments from being built in the area.

Hooligan_016 6 years ago

Lawrence is indeed overbuilt on apartments. I really like the new look of these townhomes (PORCHES instead of garages, thank you) but specifically targeting students (especially being directly across from the Xchange or whatever it is) is crazy.

redneckgirl1 6 years ago

We are not FORCED to find new homes! This move is not costing the home owners a dime. Gaslight is paying for the move. It is labor to pack the house but we are not forced out of our homes! just to move them. Quit complaining about it because it is not helping. The person in this article did not have to move from her house before June, She could have stayed and not had double rents..Or sign her mobile home over to the park if it is not moveable and have no lot rent.. Yes it sucks that we have to move but it is a done deal and just enjoy the new surrounding that you will have!

the_realest_mccoy 6 years ago

"Wales said she thought the lot in Brookwood is smaller than where she lives now, so she might have to leave much of that landscaping."

Really? Not taking her landscaping? That's so sad.

pace 6 years ago

I took many of my bulbs and flowers when I moved. They cost a lot and also have sentimental value. Some of my lilacs and roses came from friends and family now gone. Some of my irises I have had for 40 years. Yes I moved with some of my landscape

Tomato 6 years ago

I would consider moving some of my landscaping. I'm a gardener. People like low-maintenance. I might simplify the landscape for potential buyers - especially if the place I was moving to had little/no established garden.

But I don't discount the fact that I might be a weirdo.

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

I used to live in a nice little ranch style starter home development. My neighbor was a real sourpuss who was always making silly demands to the builder. When he moved, he dug up about a dozen small shrubs & trees & took them with him. Crazy.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

Paying rent, or in this case, lot rent, is like betting on another mans game. Something our parents shared with us early in life.

Winners control only the things they can control.

me_them 6 years ago

The view now in brookwood looks like cr_p because all of the broken down trailers that the Horners are getting for free or foreclosing on when people are moving out. And how many laws are they breaking because the trailers are too close to each other. If a fire breaks out with one , well you know what the resualts will be. There are old campers sitting in yards trash in yards broken down cars,trucks and boats. And then you have tow trucks parked where ever they want. And you have a manager that if she likes you, you can do as you please if she does not like you or you call the Horners (which do nothing) she will make life hell for you. ALSO THEY CUT THE WATER OFF FOR HOURS AT A TIME WITH OUT WARNING. How would you like to be in the shower , washing cloths are doing dishes with no water.

redneckgirl1 6 years ago

If you take a look around they are removing a lot of old trailer from brookwood to make room for the gaslight ones. If they are getting free and forclosings it is because the trailers are to old to move and so that means they are not going to brookwood. They get torn down. If you have issues with the Management, what did you do? Management does not just go around and harrass tenants. Once Gaslight is gone then she can focus all of her time at brookwood and work on removing the broke down trash around the park. If it is really bad for you, you can always relocate to another area of town....

MarcoPogo 6 years ago

And then Brookwood can return to the dazzling way it looked back in the glory days! Excellent point, redneckgirl1.

me_them 6 years ago

I never said that I lived there. But you sound like the office goffer girl. I also notice that you did not hit on any of the issues that I had posted. Only defending your boss.

redneckgirl1 6 years ago

Not my boss. I live in gaslight and am moving to brookwood. As far as your issues... why have them if you dont live there!! There is trash in every block in this town. Brookwood is no worse than any other trailer park in lawrence. As far as the trash...(campers, cars, trucks) i did remark on it. Management can start cleaning it up when she is over there full time. Tow trucks... so at least we know that people that live there work hard for a living!! they park the trucks where they can because they have to have them for their job. again if you dont live there what are you complaining about!! If you dont drive through there then you dont have to look at them. Cant comment on the water because i am not over there yet. Is that a good enough hit on your issues!!!!!

Gary Anderson 6 years ago

The water issue is true, I'm afraid. Not that big of a deal for me...sure pisses off my wife though! lol When are you moving over? There are a couple spots open near us!

redneckgirl1 6 years ago

i heard that the utility people hit a line a broke it in like 3 places, that is why the water was out the other day. I figure once all the moves are over things will smooth out and run just fine. People just need to remember that it is the home owners that either keep their lots clean and groomed or trashed. Management should not have to babysit adults!

me_them 6 years ago

Lady you have no idea what the H_ll you are talking about the warter problem has been going on for years. You also have your head so far up Lorie butt you can tell us what she had for lunch. The reason I know that just look at what you say and defend her and Brookwood. How much do the Horners pay you for your post?

redneckgirl1 6 years ago

Again, If you dont live there then keep your pie hole shut!! I know LORI (correct spelling) yes, we are friends but I dont have to defend her because she is doing the best that she can while trying to run two trailer parks and move people out of one. And boy do I wish the Horners paid me. The extra money would be nice but again no they do not. So keep your pie hole shut if you dont live there. Like you said....

me_them 6 years ago

You don't live in Brookwood either. You made a good point she is doing the best that she can. Now my point if that is her best then I would fir her because with her mouth and her actions with the people that live there. She is not a manager she is not even there a 1/4 of the time and when she is there she sit on her butt in the office. A manager needs to get off there butts and see what needs to be done on the property not from a window in her office. I have friends there so I do know what is going on. I can't wait to see what you post after being a year and you see for your self what a cr_p hole of a place that it really is and the BS that goes on. But you sound like some hillbilly so you will fit in. The Horners are taking out there TRASH and now it relocates to Brookwood.

the_realest_mccoy 6 years ago

It's sad to say, but a good sweeping by an EF-1 or 2 is just what most of the trailer parks in this town need, starting with the managers offices.

garyr 6 years ago

I can totally see why Toni doesn't want to leave. Just look at her kitchen, it's beautiful. Especially the peeled backed trailer wall and non-covered socket. I mean, who'd want to leave that? Not me without a fight.

the_realest_mccoy 6 years ago

I wish there was a 360 degree, full 3-D virtual tour we could take of that place. I'd love to see the hardwood floors, or the skylights in the updated bathroom.

Gary Anderson 6 years ago

I have red oak hardwood floors in mine...and 2x6 you have 2x4...I also have a M.S. wife is a KU instructor...we live in the park because we like our you?

garyr 6 years ago

Skyking62....I can not tell you for sure, for the following reasons: 1. I do not know where you live. 2. I have never met your neighbors.

pace 6 years ago

My thought is his neighbors don't like him. What poor manners.

the_realest_mccoy 6 years ago

I don't like most people, that's why I choose to live in the country and raise bees with my dog and my Ph.D. But enjoy the trailer park, buddy. And all 200 of your classy neighbors. And I hope those big ol' 2X6s are anchored to something when the next tornado comes through town.

pace 6 years ago

My gosh, you have a PhD. my my. That and dog doesn't explain your lack of confidence and lack of manners.

garyr 6 years ago

But it does explain why he doesn't live in a trailer.

the_realest_mccoy 6 years ago

Speaking of trailer envy, I wouldn't be caught dead in a single-wide. Seriously, if you're going to live in one of those freakin' things, have some class, go for the double-wide.

me_them 6 years ago

It's all about city officials and owners of these parks. Trailer parks are nothing more than a money tree. The more trailers the owners can cram in a small space the better for them and the city. Because the owners pay property tax and then you have all of the trailers that pay personal property tax for a very small space. Thats a lot of money for very small area of the city. Clean them all up and the Lawrence will be a better place to live.

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

Traditional homes appreciate in value over the long term, the previous few years being an exception to the general rule. Trailers tend to depreciate in time. Basically, they're a bad investment. The bad investment is exacerbated when one factors in things like lot rent and the cost of moving, if moving is even an option. In fact, renting would be a much better investment. If this was not obvious to the residents of Gaslight Village previously, it should be obvious now. Hopefully, in the future, they will choose a better investment strategy.

Cassie Powell 6 years ago

I was relocated to Brookwood 3.5 weeks ago.

The Mobile homes that can be moved are being done on Mondays & Wednesdays. Once your home has been inspected and deemed movable you have a couple days to pack all your stuff into a box truck provided to you by budget rentals, which you pay for upfront submit the reciepts to Lori/Amanda and get reimbursed for or provide your own place to store/tote your things once your home is moved. While your home is being set up with tornado straps brand new siding and getting electric, water and sewer hooked up you will be staying in a hotel paid for by the Horners. Only bad thing to the hotel is that if you bring your pets you pay the pet fee. Typically it takes 3 days before you can get back in your home and start unpacking and whatever else little things like phone & cable hooked up. Depending on your homes age you may be given a time frame to paint and fix things that need fixing on the outside of your home. Mine in particular needed painting.

The water was indeed off for around 4 hours day before yesterday. I was told that it was due to a home being moved in and damage done to water pipes... I was also told that there was water at the office if I brought jugs.

NO ONE is being forced to find other housing. The lady in this article should have stayed in her home until June or signed her home over to the office so that she isn't paying double rents. Had I not wanted to relocate I was told I could sign my home over and be paid in June if I found something I had to sign a lease for right now, and could not stay until June.

Mobile Homes are not any more trashy than the rest of this town. Only difference is that the city doesn't clean up after mobile home parks like they do over a bunch of drunk college kids on Mass street. The Mobile homes OWNER needs to make their home look good, same as with any home, saying Lori/Horners should make our places look good, is like saying the city should make every house in town look good, It is up to the person that owns whatever building to make it look good!

I choose to buy a mobile home for the fact that section 8 landlords are worse slum lords than what the college kids have to deal with! Also they are real easy to tear down make a couple hundred off the aluminum,copper and brass and move on if your neighbors are a-holes!

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

"Statistically low income people cause much more crime than those who are more affluent. "

  1. ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance.

  2. ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern.

3.ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money?

  1. Nixon’s Watergate

  2. Reagan/Bush Iran Contra

Jayhawk1958 6 years ago

If you people don't like mobile homes or who lives there, then why don't you step up to the plate and provide housing they can afford. Don't blame the renters, blame the companies that make these things. People can only live where they can afford it. Pay a living wage and we might not be having this conversation. Oh wait, that would be "socialism", right?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

Screw the living wage...Employees who actually work are rewarded...those that dont show up, show up drunk or hungover, cheat on their time, take 30 minute bathroom breaks and steal get paid more than they are worth.

All the living wage has done has taken entry level jobs away from kids and now our kids have no work ethic or entry level skills to be more productive in jobs acquired later in life.

deec 6 years ago

My father was a 20 year enlistee in the Air force.After he retired from the air force he worked full time for another 25 years as a mechanic, park ranger and security guard. I grew up in a trailer. I'm glad he's no longer alive to hear the likes of this delusional nonsense, which is sadly all too common these days.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Is there any story that merrill won't try to connect with his obsession over President Bush? Doesn't seem so... (from a source)

slvrntrt 6 years ago

I feel really bad for the people who don't have cars and can't easily get to a grocery store after moving to Brookwood.

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