WHAT’S THE STORY? The owner of a Buckner trailer park died, and the executors of his estate gave residents a notice to vacate.
WHY DOES IT MATTER? The 30-day notice might not be enough time for some residents to find a new location.
Residents of a Buckner mobile home park recently learned not only that their longtime landlord had died, but also that they apparently will have to move.
Jack Christian of Independence, who owned the land for Cooper's Trailer Court on the eastern edge of Buckner, died June 5. Ten days later, residents of the mobile home park, which has about 10 lots, received word of Christian's death in a letter from two people listed as Christian's estate executors – his daughters Julie Stallings and Nancy Dhone. The Examiner was not able to contact either individual.
The letter went on to say the property would be going into probate and the executors' attorney had advised them to give mobile home park residents a 30-day notice to vacate.
From the date on the letter, 30 days is next week. Trash and water service apparently will be discontinued soon after.
Michael James, a resident there for 2 1/2 years who is on disability after suffering multiple strokes, wonders what will happen to him and some of his neighbors. He's hoping to get some grace period to find a place to move his mobile home.
“I need time, and I need running water,” James said.
In the letter, the executors apologized for the trouble after giving the notice to vacate.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Trash services and water utilities will be terminated as of 7/17/17,” the letter goes on to say. “Again, we apologize for any inconvenience. Unfortunately, this is something that cannot be avoided.”
James said he rented from Christian before, as have numerous Buckner residents – “Probably this whole town has,” he said – and with the help of the Community Services League had obtained and fixed up the mobile home where he lives.
“I knew him well,” James said of Christian. “That's one reason why I bought this. Between me and the Buckner community, we brought it back to life.”
Buckner City Administrator Rick Childers said the mobile home park has a single meter for water service, which the owner has paid.
“Typically the only person that can ask to turn off water is person that paid for it,” he said. “That's pretty typical of trailer parks. If they were individual meters (such as apartment buildings), it would be different.”
As of Friday afternoon, the city said it had not received a request from Christian's estate or anybody to turn off water service.
James said other residents were “devastated” to learn of Christian's death. Two people who had small trailers have moved since that notice, he said, leaving five occupied lots including his own. Whereas James has a scooter for transportation and is tight on money, some of his neighbors have a better chance to move out if they can find a location.
“They say for them it's not the money, it's the inconvenience,” James said.
The Missouri Housing Trust Fund has grants for people in imminent danger of becoming homeless, Jeanne Young of Community Services League said, but a case such as James' likely requires more immediacy.
“He has to be in Jackson County (after moving), and it has to take time to get the grant,” Young said. “The problem is time.”
And that's all James said he hopes to get. He said he understands if Christian's daughters want to unburden themselves of their father's property; he just doesn't know what his next move will be.
“This isn't my land, and I respect that,” he said. “Definitely more time; it's going to take time.”