Residents displaced again

A Pinellas mobile home park will uproot people who moved from other parks sold to developers of upscale homes.

Published January 10, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - This is what it's come to in St. Petersburg: Mobile home residents kicked out of one park are being forced out of their new homes.

"I'm about upset and mad as I've ever been in my life," said Philip Almeida, 70. The retired municipal employee moved to Al-Da-Ky Trailer Haven last year after the Royal Palm mobile home park was sold out from under him.

Al-Da-Ky, 5222 Fourth St. N, is the latest domino to fall in Pinellas County's rapidly changing mobile home market. As property values continue to rise, many mobile home compounds are being sold for upscale houses and condominiums.

"I'm sick," said Barbara Trepanier, 68, a retired drill press operator who also moved to Al-Da-Ky from a mobile home community that was sold. "Last night I thought I was going to die."

Almeida said he got notices Friday and Saturday telling him he will have to move out of Al-Da-Ky by July 17. The actual sale had been announced earlier, but no one had been asked to leave until this weekend.

He worries that many residents might not find a new place to stay.

"I don't want to buy a condominium next door for $280,000," Almeida said. "If I could, I wouldn't anyway."

Dan Hanko, property manager for Al-Da-Ky, said several people have stopped by the office to ask questions since receiving notices in the mail Friday and Saturday. He said people have asked a lot of questions, but no one got overly upset.

Hanko said he was unsure what will replace the mobile home park. He gave a reporter a phone number for a representative of the new owners, but no one could be reached.

Residents are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss their future.

Al-Da-Ky has about 184 mobile homes, of which 168 are owner-occupied, Hanko said.

The mobile home park was sold to new owners in the summer, which surprised residents who had just bought in. Once that sale was announced, residents suspected they might soon be kicked out.

"We knew it was coming down," said Roger Nantel, 62, a retired bus driver from Canada. But he wasn't happy to get the official news that he would have to leave his home by summer.

"I put $8,000 into it," he said. "I'm going to get $2,750." He based his reimbursement figure on the papers he received in the mail.

Trepanier said she had asked a former owner of Al-Da-Ky if the park was going to be sold, and she says she was told no. If she had known a sale was imminent, she said she would not have sunk $13,000, including $3,000 for a carport, into her double-wide home.

Trepanier said she is planning to move into another mobile home with a friend, all she can afford on her $715-per month Social Security. She says she hopes that park won't be sold next.