Sign forJackson’s Mobile Home Park. Kayla Desroches/KMXT
One concern for residents as the Jackson’s Mobile Home Park closure approaches is what to do with their trailers. According to one resident who works in construction and does remodeling, people can’t just pick up and leave. Robert Mee says age has taken a toll on many of the structures.
“I think that they have too much additions, too much rust underneath, the skirtings – most of them – are rotten and the skirting is holding up the walls,” says Mee. “They try to jack these things up, the walls are gonna fall ‘cause the skirting’s gonna be gone, there’s no support any longer.”
He says his own home is fifty years old, and says moving trailers like his would be extremely expensive.
“These trailers are only worth 10 to 15,000 dollars. It’s gonna cost 10 to 15 to 20,000 dollars to get hook-ups and moving and tearing things apart and replumbing and, try to move them, things are going to crack," says Mee. "You got sheet rock and stuff inside of them. I don’t think they’re really moveable.”
Laurie Taylor is Mee’s neighbor and says she’s been at Jackson’s for seven years. She says she paid off her trailer two years ago and now she has concerns about moving it if she chooses to stay in Kodiak.
“I’m kinda scared that my place, like he said, the walls will fold in when I take the siding off. I mean, in the inside I’ve got it looking pretty good, but that wall’s falling off. It’s not attached all the way around the corner,” says Taylor. “And this green one over here was actually seen moved in here not so long ago – he tried to move, he was all jacked up ready to go. And apparently his place started to fold.”
Owners who can’t move their homes need take precautions if they choose to dispose of their trailers. One of the new requirements for the landfill’s acceptance of mobile homes is testing that the debris is clear of asbestos.
At last week’s regular meeting, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly discussed the rule. Engineering and Facilities Director, Robert Tucker, says the actual testing is not that expensive.
“Last I did it, it was 25 or 30 dollars for a bulk sample to have it tested under – they have to do it under a certain microscope to check for asbestos. It’s not super expensive to have that test done to find out whether it is or isn’t,” says Tucker. “The problem is if it comes back positive – removing it, then you have to hire someone who’s certified to remove it and that can get expensive.”
In response to concern over the extra expense for Jackson’s Park residents who already feel the strain of the closure, Assemblywoman Carol Austerman pointed out that the testing falls within any homeowner’s responsibility. And she says she hopes no one will burn their trailers to get rid of them.
“It is an obligation that you take on when you purchase a home and whether you’re purchasing a mobile home or whether you’re purchasing a brick and mortar home, you still take on that obligation, and it’s a responsibility to make sure you’re not endangering other people,” says Austerman.
Tucker pointed out that the only person who can legally burn a trailer is the property owner, and he believes residents will not go that far. The assembly agreed to move on from the topic and to return to it at a later meeting.