• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

La Cygne trailer park developer gives progress report to council

Updated: Oct 6

Some of the mobile homes located at the trailer park on North Broadway in La Cygne show deterioration, torn up skirting and other issues. An Iowa-based company owns the park now and plans to renovate and upgrade the housing there. (Photo: Roger Sims, Linn County Journal)

LA CYGNE – Over the past couple of months, the La Cygne City Council has held two work sessions aimed at revising the city’s manufactured homes regulations. However, the city’s trailer parks are currently being renovated by a company based in Iowa.

In a report to the council on July 20, the “mobile home communities,” as Doug Hensley prefers to call them, will see several mobile homes removed or demolished, some renovated and six newer mobile homes moved in before work is complete. The communities are located on Broadway and Vine streets.

Hensley, who works out of Osawatomie, is overseeing the renovation for Suncrest Capital. He said the company buys mobile home communities that have fallen into disrepair, demolishes or sells off homes that cannot be renovated, and brings in new mobile homes.

“The company takes pigs and turns them into princesses,” he said.

Once the community has undergone renovation, the company’s plan is to sell the mobile homes to the residents and rent the lots to them, Hensley said.

According to the company’s website https://www.suncrestcap.com, the company recruits investors to renovate communities mostly in Missouri and Iowa. “Mobile home parks allow us to deliver strong returns to our investors while uplifting the country's most vulnerable by providing a safe, clean, and affordable place to live,” according to the company’s pitch on the website.

Hensley emphasized that given the cost of homes now, the mobile home communities offer an affordable alternative for housing.

In another housing related issue, Gale Grizzle, owner of a modular home at 528 N. Sixth Street, told the council that he likely would not be able to move or remove the structure within the 30 days given him by the council.

When it was set up, the structure was placed partially in the city’s right-of-way and extends 13 feet into the alley. When the problem was discovered, the city and the homeowners signed a contract that allowed the home to remain where it was until the couple who owned it no longer lived there.

The original owners have since died, and the council last month voted to ask the heirs to remove the structure from the right-of-way.

City Attorney Burton Harding told Grizzle that he could request a 60-day extension of the deadline. He also told him that if he wanted to move the structure so it was out of the right-of-way but on the lot Grizzle owned, he would need to apply for a building permit.

The council also voted to approve two actions that will close out the duplex owned by Jackie Pribble that is mostly in the city’s alley and right-of-way. The city informed Pribble in November last year that she had to tear down the decades-old structure.

The council voted to approve Mayor Debra Wilson signing an agreement with Pribble that the city would pay for the demolition of the structure at 109 N. Second St. The council also voted to go out for bids for demolition of the structure.

In other business, the council:

  • Learned that no bid had been received to remove trees at 1002 Market St. and 714 N. Fourth St. by the July 20 deadline. The council voted to extend the deadline to Aug. 1. If no bids are received the city will contact up to three tree removal companies to get quotes.

  • Learned from Councilman David Brenneman that the cemetery board was still considering options for a sign at Oak Lawn Cemetery. He estimates the cost of the sign to be about $2,500.

  • Learned from Wade that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had issued new flood area maps for the La Cygne area for use in determining areas where flood insurance would be necessary. She suggested council members review the map and give their input. Public input will be sought soon. The map can be found at this link: https://gis2.kda.ks.gov/gis/linn/

  • Authorized spending up to $500 for the mayor, council members and city staff to attend a virtual training session on Kansas Open Meetings Act and Kansas Open Records Act.

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