Wire reports

Posted: Monday, February 07, 2005

Trailer park residents getting squeezed

ANCHORAGE - Roxanna Strom has spent more than a year searching for a place to put her trailer, and she's starting to get scared.

She is not alone. Mobile home parks in the city are dwindling, leaving people who live in them struggling to find new space.

Trailer park landlords are replacing them with more profitable developments, such as high-rise office buildings. Hundreds of trailer sites have disappeared, and no one expects the trend to stop.

One report says there were about 8,500 mobile homes in Anchorage in 1985. Twenty years later, the city is home to about 4,700 trailer spaces, according to Anchorage Assessor Marty McGee.

Trailer spaces started getting squeezed in 2001 with the closure of the Alaskan Village Mobile Home Park at Muldoon and DeBarr roads. Those 535 spaces were razed to ready the site for a mixed-use town center development promoted by the city, school district and local developers.

Currently, the last remaining residents in the Plaza 36 trailer park in midtown are facing a June 30 deadline. About 70 families from the park need a new spot, but there are currently only 55 spaces available in the entire Anchorage Bowl, according to Catholic Social Services, a group assisting those who need to relocate.

Strom said part of the problem is that her doublewide is too big for many of the available spaces. Another problem is that the viable parks are picky about the quality of trailer they take. She said one park wouldn't accept her trailer because a lean-to with a sagging roof hangs off its side.

Ketchikan to take up cold storage again

KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan Borough Assembly on Monday will again consider transferring land at Ward Cove to the Ketchikan Cold Storage Association, but this time with new conditions attached.

The assembly in January voted against transferring 4.13 acres of Ward Cove land to the nonprofit association. The land is a significant part of the required local match for $7.35 million in state and federal grants, plus commercial loans.

The assembly vote came after a lengthy discussion that focused on competition with private businesses and the lack of an anchor tenant. The assembly also noted that the association would not be paying property or sales taxes.

The association hopes to build an 8-million-pound capacity cold storage facility to store salmon, herring and other seafood for value-added processing. The borough land would serve as a local match for grant funding.

Under a new version of the land transfer arrangement, the association will need an anchor tenant before executing a construction contract, and will have to provide a plan designed to minimize competition with existing facilities in Ketchikan.

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