Tri-Park hires firm to seek funds for urgent repairs

BRATTLEBORO — Tri-Park Cooperative Housing Corporation has hired M&S Development LLC of Brattleboro to address complex infrastructure projects at Vermont's largest privately-owned mobile home park.

M&S will also provide residents living in flood-prone areas with options for relocation for the cooperative's three mobile home parks: Mountain Home, Glen Park, and Black Mountain Park.

The firm is seeking funding to upgrade sewer systems at Glen Park and Black Mountain, relocate 42 homes out of the floodway, replace two bridges, and do floodplain restoration.

“Failure isn't an option,” Robert K. Stevens, principal with M&S Development, said in a news release. “Our community can't afford to lose 42 homes to potential flooding.”

The 1,000-member housing cooperative provides affordable housing to predominantly low- and moderate-income residents. The parks were established in 1965 as a private development and incorporated as a cooperative in 1989.

Due to normal wear on aging systems and the impacts of flooding, more than $6 million is needed for infrastructure projects critical to residents' health and safety.

Repairing damage from 2011's Tropical Storm Irene drained the finances of the cooperative, which also carries substantial debt related to rebuilding an outdated water and sewer system.

M&S will collaborate with local, state, federal, and private entities to tailor a mix of resources to complete projects in Tri-Park's Master Plan, which studied the current and future needs of the cooperative from all angles.

According to Board President Kay Curtis, despite the name, older mobile homes might not be moveable.

People who want to relocate out of the flood zone must buy new housing - not an easy choice for people living on low or fixed incomes, she said.

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