By Jacki Nelson
Bob Tonge, co-owner of Country Village Mobile Home Park, owned by Presswick Investments LLC, addressed the City Council for the first time during his tenure as a park owner on July 8.
Tonge gave a brief history of his involvement with the park, as well as the state of the mobile home market.
“We bought the park in 1997 and we’ve seen the market change considerably over time. You’ve seen where the park developed and where it is today. We’ve seen things over the years. What we’ve seen in the industry in Kansas, manufactured houses delivered to Kansas from 1997 to now, it is a downward spiral.
“There were 4,000 homes delivered in Kansas the year we purchased the park. This year less than 400 were delivered. When you look and pout the nation as a whole you see the same thing, and the occupancy of the park it will follow closely. That is the economy we are dealing with in the industry.
“I read an article, I know John after the last council meeting said I should introduce myself, having never been to a council meeting,” said Tonge.
Tonge said he has had a working relationship with City Administrator John Carder to address issues within the park.
“I’ve had a good relationship with John and I can’t remember one thing we haven’t done that we were asked to do. We do things like, two years ago, John mentioned you were having trouble collecting sewer bills. I don’t know if I volunteered or John volunteered collecting from the tenants. And I shouldn’t have to collect the money, it’s something he asked and I did. I think we have that relationship.
“On the south end of the park we had trouble with roads and we got some concrete in there. Whenever issues are brought up… The six units that were abandon were owned by people that were there. They were there too long. John told us there were four of five homes without skirting. There was talk of storm shelters, there was an inspection by the fire marshal. His report was we needed lighting. Those lights bought and installed.
“This isn’t just because I’m there. It’s how our relationship worked the last 15 years. I’m very approachable. You can pick up the phone and call,” he said.
Tonge said money is being invested in the park, not being taken out or being allocated toward other venues.
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