Trails End mobile home residents sense city's abandonment coming

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People who live in a north Fresno mobile home welcomed intervention and improvements from the city of Fresno last year, but a lot of them now say they feel like the city is about to abandon them.

The city took control of oversight here after one resident died in a series of fires last year.

But now, a new owner seems poised to take over and residents say they have a lot of reasons to be concerned.

Just about everyone agrees the Trails End mobile home park looks a lot better than it did a year ago.

Mayor Jerry Dyer says the city has tried to help, just as he and Councilmember Garry Bredefeld promised when the city took oversight responsibilities from the state.

"At no cost to anyone other than the city of Fresno, we ended up paving all the areas because there were potholes and water being stored in certain places," Mayor Dyer said. "We removed all the debris the trailers that had been set on fire and we also came in with our code enforcement and made sure anything that was a hazard was removed."

Dyer says the city also held the property owner accountable for letting the park get so dangerous.

The city got courts to intervene, take the park from the owner, and put into receivership.

But the receiver now controlling the property wants to sell it to Harmony Communities and residents are worried they won't be able to stay here and enjoy the improvements.

RELATED: Group of residents at Trails End Mobile Home Park hopes to purchase park through cooperative

"I believe Jerry Dyer is doing the best he can and I'm very proud of him," said Trails End resident Heidi Phipps. "A year ago today, things were not happening. But if Harmony comes in, I won't have any choice except to take my family out of here because they're going to raise the rent. They're going to do awful things here."

In fact, lawyers working with Trails End residents say Harmony has already sent out eviction warnings, citing violations of its rules - such as dogs outside without an adult holding a leash even if the dogs are fenced in.

"I have residents I'm working with that received these stating that they were in violation because, for example, here we have a bike outside," said attorney Mariah Thompson with California Rural Legal Assistance.

Wind chimes are also worthy of eviction, according to the notices.

So are a series of blue and clear bottles hanging from the tree in front of one of the homes. The owner says it's art and meant as a tribute to her mother who passed away.

After residents spoke their minds during Thursday's city council meeting, Dyer and Bredefeld held a meeting with residents Friday.

But they couldn't convince everyone that the city is doing what's best for them.

"The city's not here to help us," said Trails End resident Leslie Wright. "They kind of dropped the ball on us. That's the only thing I really learned today."

Residents say they'd like a couple of months to explore the possibility of buying the park themselves or finding a non-profit or government agency to buy it.

But a judge could allow the sale to Harmony during a hearing next week.
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