MOREHEAD, Ky. (LEX 18) — At a Rally outside Morehead City Hall Monday, some North Fork Mobile Home Park residents called for more time and assistance as the deadline to move out of the park nears.
A mixed-use commercial development planned for the property will bring 290 jobs and generate $970 million in economic impact for the city, according to Morehead Mayor Laura White-Brown. The city council and Rowan County Fiscal Court approved a Tax Increment Finance ordinance for the development in December.
Residents were notified on March 5 they would need to move out of the park by April 30, according to Penny Gozzard, who's lived at the park for a year.
"Forty-five days is just not enough time," she said.
Gozzard said her trailer can't be moved because of its condition. She walks to work from her home and doesn't have a car, so she said she needs to find a place to live on the bus line/
"That's really the main thing we're asking. Give us time to be able to find somewhere to go," she said.
Mayor White-brown said in a statement that it's been a priority for the city and county to help the families who need to move out of the park.
"The city and county worked with the property owner to set up a fund for people to apply for financial aid of $1,000 to go toward relocation costs. They also worked with Frontier Housing to raise and allocate grant funds to people in the area. Over $30,000 has been donated to-date for these efforts and are available by application with an unlimited cap based on need to residents," the statement reads.
But Gozzard said she doesn't qualify for the $1,000 in aid because her trailer can't be moved.
"My home isn't going anywhere. It's too old," she said.
Patrick Madden is the developer of the property. He said he has no role in removing tenants. That's up to the seller, Fraley Commercial Properties. But Madden said he was surprised to hear about the rally.
"We went through a long process where I know we had at least two public hearings which were both published in the newspaper and were televised on livestream and at no point did I hear anybody saying this was bad or complaining," he said.
"I got all positive reviews from the people in Morehead that this would be a nice addition to Morehead."
Eric Bailey recently moved from North Fork into an apartment in the building where he works. He said he understands why the city wants to bring in developments like this, even though he had to leave behind his trailer because it couldn't be moved.
But he's worried about the people who haven't found a place to go yet.
"If they have nowhere to go, I mean they're going to end up at the homeless shelter," he said.
In her statement, Mayor White-Brown encouraged residents to reach out to her office to be connected with resources.