Unadilla homeowners purchase Meadow Valley manufactured home park

Oneonta, NY  (October 29, 2010) - At noon today, Meadow Valley Park, Inc. purchased the Meadow Valley Manufactured Home Park in Unadilla, New York-creating the first ever resident-owned manufactured home park in the Southern Tier.

Front row (l to r); Jim Barnhart, vice president, Meadow Valley Park, Inc; Ruth Bush, president.  Back row; Terri Aker, treasurer; John Wiltse, PathStone; David DeClue, attorney.

Front row (l to r); Jim Barnhart, vice president, Meadow Valley Park, Inc; Ruth Bush, president. Back row; Terri Aker, treasurer; John Wiltse, PathStone; David DeClue, attorney.

The $755,000 purchase was financed by ROC USATM Capital, the finance arm of a non-profit social enterprise that supports resident ownership of manufactured home communities across the country. 

With the purchase, Meadow Valley residents will have an opportunity to buy a membership in Meadow Valley Park, Inc. and become part owners in their community. The homes in the community will continue to be individually owned by the homeowners but the land, roads, water and sewer systems and other infrastructure will be cooperatively-owned by homeowners and operated on a non-profit basis.  The ownership structure contributes to continued affordability, adequate reserves for capital improvements and long-term security for homeowners.

The park was purchased at a foreclosure auction held on September 29.  Since June 2009 the community had been managed by its lender, which foreclosed on the previous owner, Pittsford Capital Mobile Home, LP.  

The residents received technical assistance from PathStone Corporation, a community development organization based in Rochester that runs a Manufactured Home Cooperative Program.

Meadow Valley Park is the seventeenth resident-owned manufactured home community in New York and the first to have been purchased out of a foreclosure auction.

So far, 45 of the 52 households in the community have joined the resident corporation, which is governed by a five-member elected Board of Directors. 

“We’ve made the choice to become a resident-owned community to help secure our future and for all the families who will flourish in this community for years to come,” said Ruth Bush, President of Meadow Valley Park, Inc.

“Our long-term objective is to provide tools for lower income families to build assets and gain economic stability,” said Stuart Mitchell, President and CEO of PathStone.  “Resident ownership of manufactured home communities is one way to do that while protecting the dwindling supply of affordable housing in this area.”

“Resident board members have volunteered countless hours over the past month to gain control of their community,” said Andrea Schuck, Program Manager for PathStone.  “Their hard work and dedication to resident ownership have made this purchase possible.”

“Foreclosure auctions are nail biters but worth every nail, especially when it result in the homeowners gaining ownership of the community at a below market price!  The speed and execution that auctions require also represents the best of ROC USA has to offer - both the expert assistance by our local affiliate PathStone and timely financing by ROC USA Capital ,” noted Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA. 

Meadow Valley Park is a 54 site community located on Route 7 just west of the village of Unadilla in Otsego County.

Pre-development and purchase financing was provided by ROC USA Capital.  Permanent capital has also been committed by ROC USA Capital, and application will be made to the NYS Housing Finance Agency for below-market rate financing only available to resident-owed manufactured home communities.

PathStone will provide ongoing technical assistance and training to Meadow Valley Park, Inc. for at least the next 10 years.  PathStone is a regional non-profit community development and human services organization that provides technical assistance and training to manufactured home community residents interested in resident ownership.  PathStone is a ROC USA Certified Technical Assistance Provider and a chartered member of the national NeighborWorks® Network.  PathStone received start-up funding for the manufactured home co-op program from the CFED I’M HOME program.

PathStone is currently working toward resident ownership of several other manufactured home communities across New York and also plans to expand the program into Pennsylvania and Ohio in the coming year.  Resident ownership is a growing trend nationally as more homeowners seek protection against park closure and the inherent instability of owning their homes but not the land beneath them.  A recent study in New Hampshire found that manufactured homes in co-op communities sold for 12% more than comparable homes in investor-owned communities.

CONTACT:   John Wiltse, jwiltse@pathstone.org, 585.340.3346

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