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Mobile Home Park Residents Fighting To Stay After Sale Of Property

ST. ANTHONY, Minn. (WCCO) -- People who live in a Twin Cities area mobile home park are fighting to stay. Lowry Grove in St. Anthony was sold to a commercial development company. And the nearly 100 families that live there were told they must move within nine months. On this Independence Day, residents said they seek the freedom to stay.

"We no stop, in my mind it is not done," resident Antonia Alvarez said.

People who have called Lowry Grove home for a few years, some for a few decades, united to save their homes.

"They told us that the park is sold, that we have to move and that they'll reimburse us for the move, only for the mobile home," Tyrone Story said.

Since that June announcement, residents have researched what they can do.

A nonprofit tried to buy the property so people could stay, but Alvarez said the owner refused the offer.

"They don't care about the futures for the community. We no have other place, this is where we make decision to live, we pay rent, we take responsibilities and they need to respect the voices," Alvarez said.

She worries about the kids who would have to move schools and neighborhoods.

"I feel safe here. I have a lot of friends here and we play together," 13-year-old Yessica Villanueva said.

And Alvarez said Lowry Grove is affordable. Moving isn't an option for her financially.

"How we can pay the other, the rest and for childrens and we have pets," Alvarez said.

"This is our day to celebrate our freedom and I believe that people that live in low income housing are taken advantage of a lot when developers come in and they just wipe away 100 or 200 people at a time," Story said.

Traci Tomas, president of Continental Property Group told WCCO:

"Continental Property Group was a party to a fully signed and legally binding purchase agreement for Lowry Grove. The purchase agreement contractually obligated both the buyer and the seller to close on the sale of the Property with the single exception being the event that a party exercised the statutory right of first refusal. That did not happen. For example, AEON did not have authorization from 51% of the owners of manufactured homes as plainly required by the statute. No one met the statutory requirements, therefore the buyer and seller closed on the purchase as they were contractually obligated to do. Because a lawsuit has been filed, our lawyers have requested that I not comment any further."

The city of St. Anthony has scheduled a public hearing on Aug. 18, as required by Minnesota State Statute.

Residents have filed a lawsuit to block the sale.

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