Buena Vista supporters rally at City Hall

Amy Leung, Author

A woman and boy hold signs alongside about 50 others to protest the closure of Buena Vista Mobile Homes in front of Palo Alto City Hall. Photo by Amy Leung.
A woman and her son, residents of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, hold a sign Monday afternoon in front of Palo Alto City Hall protesting the closure of the park. About 50 people held signs among the crowd of 250. Photo by Amy Leung.

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.”

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, a large advocate to save Buena Vista Mobile Homes Park, thanks the attendees of the rally for showing their support before entering Palo Alto City Hall to listen to speakers. Photo by Amy Leung.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, a significant advocate for Buena Vista Mobile Home Park residents, thanks attendees of the rally for showing their support. Afterward, the attendees moved inside Palo Alto City Hall to listen to speakers talk about saving the park. “Hopefully by the sheer force of numbers, [we can] communicate that there are residents of every neighborhood in this community and beyond who share those two goals: prevent the eviction of 400 Palo Alto residents [and] save the site for affordable housing and inperpetuity,” Simitian said to the crowd. Photo by Amy Leung.
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.