The story of Park Plaza Cooperative’s success as a cooperatively owned mobile home community has found its way into national and state media in the last year. Here are two great stories that show the promise of what cooperatives can deliver in terms of community and sustainability.
Stay tuned for a CoMingle at the Park Plaza in September.
Here is National Public Radio’s story by the renown Daniel Zwerdling from December 2016:
If you had strolled one Saturday afternoon through the Park Plaza neighborhood in Fridley, Minn., you might have thought you were at just another block party. The residents were milling around a picnic buffet on folding tables on the street in front of their houses and the American flag. Kids were tossing beanbags and shouting. Neighbors were delivering Jell-O and marshmallow salad, and a pot of pork, cilantro and beans.
But this was not an ordinary picnic. Residents were celebrating the fifth anniversary of a major achievement that could inspire similar communities across the country: The day they began to take more control of their lives.
Park Plaza is a mobile home park, or what industry calls a manufactured housing community. Five years ago, the residents banded together, formed a nonprofit co-op and bought their entire neighborhood from the company that owned it. Today, these residents exert democratic control over almost 9 acres of prime suburbs, with 80 manufactured houses sited on them.
In the end, nothing saved St. Anthony’s only mobile home park from closing.
Not an eleventh-hour attempt by a nonprofit. Not a lawsuit. Not manifold pleas at City Hall.
Instead, neighbors watched as Lowry Grove became another bygone community in a county that has lost half its mobile home parks since 1991.
Mobile home communities are disappearing in pockets across the metro — and at a much higher rate in Hennepin County, where only six parks remain.
On a recent evening, Natividad Seefeld stood among mourners at a vigil in Lowry Grove, where neighbors grieved the breakup of their community as well as the loss of a neighbor who took his own life days before the June 30 eviction deadline.
Seefeld thought about Park Plaza Cooperative, her own mobile home community in Fridley that once shared an owner with Lowry Grove. Why was one rescued and not the other?