Archive for Thursday, January 19, 2006

Residents say plans leave them in dark

January 19, 2006

Since 1971, Mary Kreutzer has rented a pad in the Zoch Trailer Park at DeSoto and Eisenhower roads in Lansing.

Earlier this week, though, a crew came in to move Kreutzer's trailer to Woodmoor Mobile Home Park, about 2 miles north in Leavenworth.

Kreutzer, a widow who turns 79 later this month, said she didn't want to move. She didn't want the $4,000 in expenses associated with moving her trailer and belongings. Nor does she want to pay the higher pad rental fee at Woodmoor than she's been paying at Zoch.

But Kreutzer said she felt she had no other choice: About eight weeks ago, residents of Zoch Trailer Park received a letter telling them the park and surrounding land had been sold. The new ownership group, Leavenworth-Lansing Community Physicians Inc., has since filed plans with the Lansing Planning Commission to build a multiple-phase retail-office complex on the 32 acres at the southeast corner of the intersection of DeSoto and Eisenhower.

The letter, Kreutzer said, told residents they'd need to move because of the upcoming "Eisenhower Crossings" development. But, she said, it didn't tell residents how long they'd have before they would be forced out.

"It said something about breaking ground in the spring," she said. "That was it."

Rather than wait for the specific date, Kreutzer decided to bail out on her longtime home.

"There are limited places to move a double-wide," she said.

"Psychologically, I'm ready to move now," Kreutzer said. But getting to that reality hasn't been easy after living 35 years in Zoch Trailer Park. "This move," she said, "is really a hardship on me."

Kristi Stuedle, a representative with CB Richard Ellis, a real estate firm marketing the development for Leavenworth-Lansing Community Physicians, said the park's residents need not panic. The preliminary development plans were to be taken up for the first time this week by the Planning commission. If they win approval there, they'll still need to be approved by the Lansing City Council.

Plus, Stuedle said, "The mobile home park is not part of the first phase. The residents will be given plenty of notice for when they have to move."

Stuedle's comments notwithstanding, there still is plenty of apprehension among other residents.

"We all are worried about when or if or what," said Lula Dillon, who moved into the park in 1974. "They won't tell us anything."

Dillon already has gone through hardship regarding her living arrangements. Three days before Thanksgiving in 1988, her trailer burned to the ground. The next month, her husband died. Yet, Dillon decided her home was at Zoch Trailer Park, and she got a new trailer in which to live.

"I was planning on being here 'til they put me in the ground," said Dillon, 68.

That's probably going to change, but Dillon said she didn't know when.

"We could be here three months, six months, a year. I don't know. At least that's the way I'm understanding it," she said.

Dr. Richard Whitlow, a Leavenworth internist, is listed as the spokesman for Leavenworth-Lansing Community Physicians, and Dillon said she is one of his patients. On a recent trip to Whitlow's office, Dillon said she asked if he was one of those who would be responsible for making her move.

"He said to me, 'Yeah, I guess, but that's progress,'" Dillon said.

Whitlow has not returned phone calls to his office or home for comment.

Dillon, who said she would wait to move until she had more information, said she held no grudge against Whitlow or his partners.

"They bought the land legally. What can I say?" she said.

More from Retail/office complex slated for De Soto Road


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