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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007 07:17 pm

Sam again

Alderman proposes shelters for new, expanding trailer parks

Untitled Document Ward 5 Ald. Sam Cahnman is at it again. Just two weeks after the City Council approved his ordinance calling for City Water, Light & Power bills to be rounded up to help the homeless, Cahnman introduced a measure last week to help another Springfield sector — residents of mobile-home parks. Cahnman’s new ordinance, approved by the council, requires storm shelters to be built in newly constructed mobile home parks in the city and in existing parks when at least 50 new plots are constructed. In the past Mayor Tim Davlin has questioned the effectiveness of Cahnman’s ordinances, and this one is no different. Ernie Slottag, city communications director, says the mayor doesn’t think the ordinance will have much effect, given the makeup of the city and its available land. “It is unlikely any new mobile-home parks of 50 units or more would be built or there is any space to add that many units to existing parks,” Slottag says. Carol Farley, manager of Ridge Valley Mobile Home Park for the past 11 years, refers to the ordinance as “totally ridiculous” and says most of Springfield’s mobile-home parks will never have to comply with the ordinance. “We have no land to expand on,” Farley says. “That’s the case for a lot of parks in Springfield.”
Farley, who has lived in Ridge Valley for 35 years, says Ridge Valley does comply with a state rule that requires mobile homes to be tied down and that the park has so far only experienced occasional tree damage. She and other residents of mobile-home parks have weathered many storms, Farley says, and many might not even use a storm shelter if one were available. Cahnman, who was serving on the Sangamon County Board when tornadoes swept through the Springfield area in March 2006, says it was then that he became interested in passing a storm-shelter ordinance. In the future, Cahnman says, he plans to seek out Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to help build storm shelters throughout the city. “This is the beginning of my efforts to help mobile-home-park residents,” he says.  

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.
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