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Shelley Osterloh ReportingFor two years residents of a Murray Mobile Home Park have lived with the fear that they were about to be displaced because the property owner had plans to build condos. Today they are celebrating; their homes and neighborhood have been saved from the wrecking ball.
The residents of the Park Hill Mobile Home Park got notice to move out nearly two years ago, when a developer bought the land planning to build condos. It was a hard blow to residents--most of whom are low-income, elderly or disabled--especially since most of their old style trailers couldn't hold up to be moved.
Ron Nelson, Resident: "It's sleepless nights worrying about everybody and wondering what I'm going to do."
That was last year. Today residents in this tight knit, well kept community are relieved -- they don't have to move. Some hard negotiating convinced the developer to abandon his plans to build condos and sell the land to the county.
Minnie Yardley, Resident: "Now that it's ours, its like a dream come true. I know I don't have to move again . Everybody in the park feels fantastic now that its been settled."
Wanda Mae Smith, Resident: "Well there's about nine-thousand pounds off my shoulders."
It's been a two year battle to save park hill with the help of government and community resources, but perhaps what really saved it are the people here and their sense of community and neighborhood.
Virginia Marrufo Martinez, Community Action Program: "And the more they kept saying it can't be done, the harder we would work. And they said it would a miracle if this happened. Well it's a miracle and we are here."
Community action worker Virginia Martinez organized residents and gathered support from the county, state, and community. A negotiator worked with the developer, the County Housing Authority, put together county, state, and federal funds to buy the land for 1.2 million dollars.
Kip Paul, Negotiating Agent: "We just tried to appeal to his sense of fair play to the residents, and that it was their community, and he was very cooperative and accommodating."
Kerry Bate, Salt Lake County Housing Authority: "Well, there was a tremendous political will to do something about this."
And together they all managed to preserve this little community where neighbors are more like family.
LaVerle Robbins: "Well, it's wonderful to have it over with, so now we can smile and live again."
This evening, residents of the Park Hill Mobile Home Park held a barbecue to celebrate and thank those who helped them keep their homes.