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2008-01-30 / News

Out with the old

Trailer park to become shops, offices, homes
By Greg Pearson
STAFF WRITER

Americana Mobile Home Park residents have until the end of the year to move from the property. The site will be used for a mixed-use development of residential and commercial space. Americana Mobile Home Park residents have until the end of the year to move from the property. The site will be used for a mixed-use development of residential and commercial space. The last days of the Americana Mobile Home Park on Jefferson Davis Highway became official last Wednesday when the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to rezone the property for a mixed-use development. Almost no one opposed the 191-acre rezoning except the low-income residents who live there. For a development of its size, the case sped through the zoning process.

Broad Street Partners plans to tear down the trailer park to make way for the development fronting on the highway with 550,000 square feet of big box retail on 68 acres, 57 acres for 500,000 square feet of industrial/office warehouse space, and 66 acres for 385 high-end apartments. Up to 60 of those will be set aside to meet affordable housing standards.

Earlier this month, the planning commission also endorsed the project even though the planning department withheld its recommendation because the developer insisted on not paying full cash proffers until the 313th apartment is built. The company said instead it was paying $2.4 million in offsite road improvements. That is less than one-half the cash proffers that would have been collected.

Americana was reported to be paying $135,000 annually in property taxes, but the mixed-use project at build-out is estimated to generate $1.9 million. Both the Jefferson Davis Association (JDA) and the Chesterfield County Chamber of Commerce recommended the rezoning.

Americana's remaining 243 residents have already received notice the mobile home park is closing at the year's end, and a huge sign posted inside the park is a daily reminder of their tenuous future. Many of Americana's residents are elderly, disabled or ill, and they have limited options for low-income housing.

"This is my baptism by fire," said Bermuda Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle, "…but the trailer park is closing regardless."

Americana's landlord has offered to pay residents up to $4,000 each for moving expenses if they stay until September, but the only resident who spoke at the public hearing doubted that would be enough. A coalition of social service groups including churches, nonprofits, the JDA and the county are trying to aid in the relocation effort.

Americana resident Albert Vaughn said there are only 82 known lots in the county for trailers, but Robert Siff, who owns El Rancho Trailer Court at 7748 Midlothian Tnpk., said his trailer park has space.

Persons who want to donate money for the residents' relocation are asked to send checks to Jenny Stevens at CCHASM, 4317 School Ct., Chester, VA 23831. Checks should be made payable to CCHASM.

Historical site

The board also unanimously designated the George Perdue House as an historical site at the intersection of Beach and Spring Run roads. Built around 1893, the house and about 8.5 acres that includes a former post office, railroad depot and general store are currently registered as landmarks in Virginia and in the national register.

The owners plan to make the property into a special events business.

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