Colchester mobile home park up for sale

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Dom Amato Chittenden County's largest mobile home park -- the second largest in the state -- is now up for sale. Westbury Park in Colchester is the latest mobile home park up for sale, and that has left some residents confused, nervous, and unsure of what lies ahead.

Deserae Morin has lived in Westbury Park for almost three years. "You feel a little worried, like who's going to buy it, what's going to happen, what can happen?" Morin said. "We love this neighborhood."

Morin says she and her daughters feel safe here and neighbors are helpful and kind.

"It's really one of the top few kind of premiere manufactured housing parks in the state," said Arthur Hamlin, the mobile home park housing coordinator for the state.

His office and residents of Westbury Park were notified in late July that the park will be put up for sale.

"They've all reached retirement age, and it's become apparent it needs to be managed by someone else," said real estate broker Thomas Weaver, who represents the trust that owns the park.

Hundreds of residents who live on the 250 lots here now have to decide if they want to buy the park as a cooperative. "That's where they're at right now. They have 45 days to review the notice," Hamlin said, "and then decide if they want to act on the fact that the park is for sale."

Morin says many residents support the co-op ownership, and although she's afraid of change, this could be a good thing for the neighborhood. "When we realized that it could become community- owned, it's actually exciting because I think that would be really great in this community," she said.

The 186-acre property is on the market for $11.5 million dollars. Weaver says if residents meet the necessary requirements and come up with the money it could be a done deal.

"I don't know if people would want the stress involved, say if they have to get together continuously," said Thomas Bernier, who has lived in Westbury Park for five years. Although he's looking to move eventually, he's not sure how well a co-op owned park would work, but he hopes whoever buys it doesn't change a thing. That's what I really hope, is that it's going to stay like this, and just become just a trailer park, because it's not a trailer park, it's a community."

If the co-op doesn't happen, a nonprofit housing developer might buy it. Of the 240 mobile home parks in Vermont, 13 are cooperatives and 47 are owned by nonprofit home developers.