Wardtown Mobile Home Cooperative

Freeport, ME, May 13, 2015 — The residents of Wardtown Mobile Home Park in Freeport recently secured funding support from the Genesis Community Loan Fund in Damariscotta, and Maine State Housing Authority (Maine Housing) in Augusta, to become the 6th Resident Owned Community in Maine.  Aided in their purchase acquisition by assistance from the Cooperative Development Institute (www.cdi.coop) under the NEROC (New England Resident Owned Communities) program, the residents have engaged in extensive training and organizational development.  Andy Danforth, Director of the NEROC Program, said, “For nine long months, the residents of this community worked toward resident ownership and it is so great to see them finally in control of their community.  We are proud to assist in the process and in operating their community going forward. Wardtown Mobile Home Cooperative is now among over 170 proud ROC USA cooperatives throughout the country.” According to Jim Hatch, Executive Director of Freeport Housing Trust, which was the prior owner of Wardtown, “When the Housing Trust purchased Wardtown Park in 1997 it was our hope that one day we could help the residents become the owners of the land under their homes.  It took the expertise and support of CDI working with the residents to finally make this a reality.”

The Wardtown Mobile Home Cooperative is home to 60 resident-owners who are excited about major infrastructure upgrades which will begin very soon.  Resident and Wardtown board president, Dale Whitmore, said, “This is the best outcome for all the residents of Wardtown.  We have a lot to do, but it will be worth it.”  Board member Patricia Eastman is particularly interested in maintaining safety and security with her neighbors.  “I want our neighbors to know they can count on us [the board] for answers.”   Beyond infrastructure repairs, the resident-ownership model has deeper meaning to some residents.  For board member Bill Hodgkins, “I want to see us begin to build a community where we take pride in our homes and in our relationships with each other.”

Wardtown joins four other Maine communities under the technical assistance of CDI: Brunswick Bay Mobile Home Cooperative in Brunswick, Medomak Mobile Home Cooperative in Waldoboro, Deer Ridge Mobile Home Cooperative in Augusta, and the Pemaquid Villas Mobile Home Cooperative in Bristol.  One other resident owned community in Maine is Greystone in Veazie.  The Genesis Community Loan Fund has provided financing in all six projects.  Bill Floyd, Director at Genesis said “We feel a true partnership with the Cooperative Development Institute in the conversion of these communities to resident-ownership.  It is always very exciting to be involved in assisting people in gaining ownership of the land their homes sit on and preserving affordability into the future, and now the folks of Wardtown get to enjoy it too.”   Maine Housing is celebrating the Wardtown conversion as their first project of its kind.  Said Jane Sturk, Portfolio Loan Originator at Maine Housing, “We really love the idea of manufactured housing communities becoming cooperatively owned and preserving affordable housing.  We hope this is just the first of many projects we are able to participate in.”

Jessica Pooley, NEROC’s technical assistant for the community, shared, “The Wardtown community had a long journey to purchasing their park.  True bonds of trust and democracy have been formed through that process and I am confident of their success.  This is empowering and life-changing stuff.  With their conversion to a cooperative, they are also now the newest members of RONA (Resident Owned Neighborhoods Association) of Maine.  As members, they will be part of an organization focused on their growth and development during networking events with the other resident-owned communities in Maine.”


Wardtown Mobile Home Cooperative becomes the 6th Resident Owned Community in Maine
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