Triangle Court, a mobile home park at the foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest in Brandon, VT, is under new ownership. With help from CDI, the park residents have united to purchase the park, and it is now a resident owned community. Under threat of an outside sale, the residents banded together in two short months, which is unusual for deals of this kind. The deal to form a resident owned community was closed on April 19th, 2016, with the help of Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), and the board took immediate action to stabilize rents at a lower price.
Residents first met with the State of Vermont and the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity in December of 2015 to learn their options as a community after being told the owner of the park, who had it for sale for several years, had an outside buyer. Those present decided they wanted to use their Right of First Refusal to purchase the park for themselves and collected signatures from everyone in the community to move forward. The residents then met with the CDI to move forward in February of this year.
Usually when CDI works on resident owned community projects in Vermont, after signing a petition, the Co-op has 120 days to enter into a Purchase and Sales Agreement. Since the park owners already had an interested party that was ready to buy, the Co-op had to sign an agreement almost right away and close by April 19th.
This was not the first time residents tried to purchase the park. According to Board President Mike Marceau and Vice President Jerry Calsetta, they had tried twice before to make a cooperative happen but were met with no success. Both have stressed the importance of owning the park themselves in order to have overall control and, perhaps most importantly, stabilize the rents, which had been rising arbitrarily since the park was established in the 1980s. At the time of closing, rent was at $383, an amount on the higher end of the scale in Vermont, particularly Rutland County. Through the board’s diligence they have been able to begin their time as a Resident-Owned Community with a $13 rent decrease, leaving them at $370 per month and is expected to go down again in the near future.
Mr. Calsetta and Mr. Marceau have wanted to see the residents take control for years and now he is thrilled to see it has happened.