Thursday, February 24, 2005

Circle S Meeting

Last night’s meeting at the Civic Center in Maple Hall, regarding the acquisition of Circle S Mobile Home Park, was indeed very interesting and informative. It was fairly well attended, although many residents of the Park did not show up. These will be the people who will complain the loudest that they are never informed of the proceedings. A notice was delivered to all mobile homes in the Park in the form of a questionnaire to be filled out and handed in last week so the people from the Redevelopment Agency would have an idea as to the concerns of the residents.

I have attended all meetings that have any bearing on the future of this Park, and still there were a few items that I had questions about. These were answered last night either by the presentation, given by a young man and woman, Kelsey and Sonia, from the Redevelopment Agency or through replies to questions from the audience. I even asked a couple of questions myself, just for clarification, and came away satisfied with the answers. One was a simple question about planned affordable housing locations, and the other was a time-frame question in response to a statement made by Kelsey, who said that no benefits would be paid to residents until after acquisition. I asked if acquisition starts from the date the City Council votes, and he replied that it starts from the time the money is spent (to buy the property). The City has the bond money now to purchase the property and relocate the residents, and the pending Casino project is not a source of funding for the mobile home park purchases.

Relocation settlements will be substantial, and should hopefully take some of the sting out of losing a home. We were given no indication of the time period in which this will all take place, as there are many variables in the process of acquiring the property, interviewing the tenants as to their housing needs, and all other details involved in real estate transactions.

Today, I went to City Hall to request copies of the slide presentation last night. The slides had all of the information available at this time, and the presenters added embellishments where necessary. Sonia made the copies for me, and we had a lengthy discussion of the meeting after she asked me what I thought of the presentation. We went into further detail regarding the apartment complexes, qualifications to rent, and problems with the Mobile Home Park.

She is a very personable young woman, and shows great concern for the welfare of the residents. Of course, her stance is that the City will be removing us from deplorable living conditions. She is right, in a way, but none of us really want to leave, even though a lot of us hate certain things about living here. I hate this mobile home, because it is aging, in disrepair, doesn’t have enough room or storage even though it is a double-wide, and the mobile homes are too close together.

However, the location itself is perfect if you want to live in San Pablo. All conveniences are within walking distance – it is very centrally located. I walked to the meeting last night, for example. City Hall is a half block away. This point is one of the major arguments that people have used against being relocated. They feel that they will no longer be within reach of the facilities that they need for continuing in their lifestyle. The hospital is around the corner, and there are many other medical facilities in the same area. There is all kinds of shopping, several banks, restaurants, fire and police departments, the Senior Center, and the post office is only a few blocks away. All of these places are a big reason for my own desire to stay right here, but it will not happen. I just don’t know how soon the City will take over this place.


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