Residents join forces to try to save mobile home park

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) In August, the landlord of the Country Sky Mobile Home Park in Plattsburgh faced a bit of a dilemma; the sewage system started to fail after 20 years of use.

The New York Department of Energy Conservation told the park they needed to get it fixed or shut down. That's when the eviction notices started coming

"When this all started last August it was very heartbreaking to see people falling apart, kids crying in the streets and everything," resident Marguerite Hart said.

Now, Country Sky Mobile Home Park has a new name. They're now calling it New Beginning Mobile Home Association. And with a little help, they're hoping it will be the first of its kind in the North Country.

"So they run it as a cooperative, which means they are charging themselves rent, they're making their community rules, making bylaws; they own it," said Sarah Martin of the Cooperative Development Institute.

New Beginnings already has a team in place. The budget and rules will be drawn up by residents and voted on once a year. A board of directors has been set to help maintain the rules. And rent is even said to go down because they are not looking for any profits.

The Cooperative Development Institute is helping New Beginnings bring its business plan to life.

"We help communities that either are going up for sale or facing foreclosure and we help the residents organize and purchase it," Martin said.

"It really looked hopeless and it was kind of like praying for a miracle and the miracle came-- that's what these people are. It's our miracle," Hart said.

The transition from renters to owners has been eye-opening

"It's tough because you need to be thinking about what everyone wants, not just yourself," Hart said.

But the Cooperative Development Institute insists it's a recipe for success.

"None have ever failed, there has never been a failure, none have been in default," Martin said.

New Beginnings has until May 31 to raise the money it needs to purchase the park. They can buy the park from the current landlord for $250,000 but they also need to fix the sewage system. In total, the Cooperative Development Institute estimates it will cost about $1.4 million. They are working with the state, county leaders and other nonprofits to obtain the funding.