Buena Vista Mobile Home Park residents and supporters looking to prevent the closure of the community congregated Monday at Palo Alto City Hall to garner more assistance.
Roughly 50 attendees who faced Hamilton Street held signs that urged for the saving of the park, while another roughly 200 joined them to display their support through the strength of numbers. Many bore bright yellow stickers which read, “Keep B.V. Residents in P.A.” to indicate their involvement in the cause.
According to longtime Buena Vista resident Melodie Dawn Cheney, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian is leading the effort of raising between $30 million and $40 million through charitable support from the county, city and foundations. According to Palo Alto Online, Simitian proposed using $8 million set aside by a Stanford University fund to produce and maintain affordable housing within a six-mile radius of the university to help secure the homes of the current Buena Vista residents.
“We’re trying to find a way for us to buy the park so we can own it, or even another non-profit can own it,” Cheney said. “We’re just trying to see who else we can get on board.”About two-and-a-half years ago, the owner of Buena Vista wanted to sell the property, but the buyers ended up backing out, according to Cheney. Now, the park hangs in a state of limbo as residents and supporters work to preserve the affordable housing units.
Jennifer Munoz-Theo, an eighth grader at Terman Middle School and a Buena Vista resident, described how the closure of the mobile home park would impact her.
“I’ve made all my friends here, all my memories here, and it’s just going to tear my friendships apart,” Munoz-Theo said. “It’s going to hurt me a lot and affect us all.”
When commenting on the significance the mobile home park and its residents play in her life, Cheney began tearing up.
“It [the park] is my second family,” she said.