The closure of Jackson Mobile Home Park on May 1 means that people have been scrambling to find alternative spots for their homes or businesses, other housing arrangements, or are even considering moving out-of-state. This week we share the experiences of several displaced home and business owners of Jackson Mobile Home Park.
Rick Nugent, a special ed paraprofessional with the Kodiak Island Borough School District, has lived in Kodiak for nearly 30 years – the last decade on the bluff in Jackson’s Mobile Home Park. He remembers when he first learned about the closure roughly a year ago.
“An employee of the park knocked on the door and handed my daughter a pink eviction slip. They heard of it or they knew about it. I know don’t know if they actually read it, but my youngest – a good friend of hers – was evicted along with everybody and she cried, she liked living near her friends.”
The 60-year-old Nugent recalls good friends and good experiences in the small, and for his children close-knit, community.
“My daughters found friends in the neighborhood. There was lots of kids. My daughters learned how to ride bicycles there, and their friends would come by with their bikes in need of repairs and I helped my daughters’ friends repair their bicycles.”
And those memories make it hard to leave, as do the personal and financial investments. After learning about the closure, Nugent says he started thinking about moving his trailer, and was concerned about having to pay that cost. Although he’s heard rumors that Jackson’s new owners will dispose of trailers if residents sign the property over to them. He says he’s run up against some of the same issues other residents have and, right now, his 60-foot trailer isn’t worth much.
“Because there’s gonna be quite a few trailers on the market and no place to put the trailers. That’s the hard part. If there were places to put it, it would be easier to sell the trailers, but there’s no place … I don’t even know of a place to store the trailer until it sells.”
His next residence if 45 feet in length. It’s a sailboat, currently docked in Washington State. And he says while it has a kitchen, bathroom, and state rooms, it does not have a shower or laundry room, which is the hard part about living on a boat. Nugent says, before the closure, a sailboat was on the horizon anyway.
“Well, it was kind of my plan for down the road a few years to go to a sailboat and this kind of pushed my schedule up. I was hoping to see my girls graduate from school before I made this move, but it kind of forced the issue.”
He says he’ll work on moving the boat to Kodiak this summer, and he imagines taking his daughters around the archipelago and other coastal locations around Alaska someday. And while he’s able to move onto the boat, he says he would’ve liked to have left Jackson’s on his own terms, rather than having it forced upon him.