Vermont Business Magazine The Tri-Park Cooperative Housing Corporation in Brattleboro has hired M&S Development LLC to address complex infrastructure projects at Vermont's largest privately-owned mobile home park. M&S will also provide residents living in flood-prone areas with options for relocation.
The housing cooperative provides affordable housing to predominantly low and moderate-income residents. The parks were established in 1965 as a private development and later incorporated as a cooperative in 1989.
Tri-Park has grown to serve more than 1,000 resident members. Due to normal wear on aging systems and the impacts of flooding in the parks, the cooperative faces early estimates of more than $6 million in infrastructure projects critical to residents’ health and safety.
Repairing damage from 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene drained the cooperative’s finances. The cooperative also carries substantial debt related to rebuilding an outdated water and sewer system. Taking on additional financial burdens could threaten the park’s ability to operate.
Brattleboro–based M&S specializes in acquiring funding for complex housing and economic development projects that appear financially unfeasible but support healthy, safe, and affordable communities.
On behalf of Tri-Park, M&S will collaborate with local, state, federal, and private entities to tailor a unique mix of resources needed to complete projects identified in Tri-Park’s Master Plan.
“Failure isn’t an option,” said Robert K. Stevens, principal with M&S Development. “Our community can't afford to lose 42 homes to potential flooding.”
“Tri-Park’s goal is to move people out of harm’s way,” said Board Member Mary Houghton. “There are still people living in danger of being flooded out sooner or later."
The Master Plan studied the current and future needs of the cooperative from all angles, Houghton said. “But Tri-Park does not have the capacity to bring the plan to fruition.”
Released last year, the Master Plan was created using grant funding from the Vermont Community Development Program, the town of Brattleboro, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Engineering consulting firm DuBois & King, Inc. produced the plan in collaboration with Chris Sargent, the firm’s planning manager, and Isaac Wagner of Wagner Development Partners.
Houghton said the board hired M&S because of the company's holistic approach to the project.
According to Board President Kay Curtis, despite the name, older mobile homes may not be moveable. People who want to relocate out of the flood zone must buy new housing. Not an easy choice for people living on low or fixed incomes, she said.
“It’s a huge puzzle we’re solving to ensure financial viability for 1,000 people,” Curtis said.
Curtis said M&S is a team of skilled professionals focused on the next stage of Tri-Park’s planning process and completing its infrastructure projects.
“We don’t need a hero; we need a team of people,” Curtis said.
Stevens said, “We felt we were well suited to help Tri-Park because they needed outside-the-box solutions.”
Tri-Park consists of three mobile home parks. Mountain Home is the largest park located along the banks of the Whetstone Brook in West Brattleboro. On the other side of the Whetstone sits Glen Park. Black Mountain Park is located across town between Black Mountain Road and Interstate 91.
M&S is seeking funding for the following projects:
- Upgrade sewer systems at Glen Park and Black Mountain
- Relocate a total of 42 homes out of the floodway
- Replace two bridges
- Floodplain restoration
Tri-Park Housing Cooperative in Brattleboro is one of the largest privately owned, unsubsidized providers of affordable housing in Vermont. Incorporated in 1989, it is the oldest mobile home park cooperative in the state. Tri-Park includes three mobile home parks: Mountain Home Park, Glen Park, and Black Mountain Park.
M&S Development supports New England’s rural downtowns. Since 2014, M&S has helped communities find local solutions to advance complex, multi-faceted projects with profound social and economic impacts.
Source: BRATTLEBORO, VT, September 10, 2021 – Stevens & Associates, P.C.