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Seventeen Park Closings in Minnesota

Adam R.'s picture

Posted July 25, 2007

The St. Paul Pioneer-Press notes that 17 mobile home parks closed in the last year in Minnesota.  That amounts to about 2 percent of the state's manufactured housing parks.

North Carolina, by contrast, had 4,046 parks the last time the state's

Manufactured Housing Institute conducted its own census.

The article goes on to say that there is an unusual tension to the closings.  The parks are closing to make way for other uses.  Yet, affordable housing groups are suddenly discovering these communities.

The parks have become the site for new models of expanding the state's affordable housing stock.  That is principally because the cost of buying a manufactured home remains low.  A used singlewide costs just $30,000 in Minnesota, and the average lot rent in the state is $367 per month.  A new singlewide averages about $60,000.

That means that people can own a two-bedroom home and pay lot rent for less than the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment.

Nonprofits like the All Parks Alliance for Change, an advocacy group, and the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation , a nonprofit housing developer, have gotten behind the use of mobile home parks.  The efforts have been noticed by government officials, too, according to a planning official with the Lake Elmo Planning Commission.

The state legislature has been favorable to their efforts.  Fiscal planners say that on a per-family basis, it costs far more to house a displaced family in state-subsidized housing than it does to pay the cost of preserving land-lease park spaces.