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Residents remaining: Hillside Mobile Home Park residents remain on premises after deadline

MESSENGER PHOTO/QUINTA GOINES Although residents were supposed to leave Hillside Mobile Home Park by June 30, some residents remained on Wednesday. Hillside Park is crucial in the development of bringing Publix to the city of Troy.

MESSENGER PHOTO/QUINTA GOINES
Although residents were supposed to leave Hillside Mobile Home Park by June 30, some residents remained on Wednesday. Hillside Park is crucial in the development of bringing Publix to the city of Troy.

Residents of Hillside Mobile Home Park were supposed to have cleared the premises by June 30, but a spattering of residents still remained on Wednesday.

Nicole Tameka Wallace said although she had closed on a new home for herself and her seven children Wednesday, she had not moved out of the mobile home park. “I have not moved yet,” Wallace said. “I’m not moving into Troy. I have to move out to the outskirts of the county because I didn’t find anything.”

Wallace was one of the most vocal members of the park who spoke out after learning that park owners had contracted to sell the land to a developer to make way for a new grocery store and retail development on the property adjacent to U.S. 231.

The owners were notified of the planned closing in April, after the city inked a deal with Harbert Realty that will bring a Publix grocery store to Troy and add two new connector roads to the city’s infrastructure. Hillside Park is a critical to the development, and park owner Tim Coleman had earlier offered financial incentives to help residents with the relocation process.

Renters in Hillside were offered $300 to help with moving costs and owners were offered $1,200 to assist with their fees. Wallace said Coleman had held true to his promise, but $300 was a drop of bucket compared to the fees associated with moving and finding a new home.

“The money will help with your light deposit for wherever you’re trying to move and a little bit to move, but that’s really it,” Wallace said. “The money that was offered isn’t going to do much. It’s small what he has done compared to what it’s actually costing people to move.”

Wallace said that while Hillside residents had been vocal about their disappointment with having to leave their homes, residents weren’t angry about economic development.

“My point to everyone was that it wasn’t that we were trying to stop Publix from coming,” Wallace said. “We are all for economic development and, some of us might wind up with jobs at Publix or the other stores they put out here. It was just the situation people were put in. Some people were able to find a place to live, but some haven’t. They’re going to run into financial problems with can they stay where they’re moving. At least while we were here, we knew what we could pay for. A lot of people can’t remain in the homes they’ve moved in to. People are going from $300 to $500 in rent to $700 or $800 or better depending on where they’re going.”

Wallace said Hillside residents were thankful for the outreach from those promising to help when provided, but she said she was especially thankful for the attention from the Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless.

“The ARCH program of Alabama has done a lot for the people of Hillside,” Wallace said. “I must say that. They stepped in when the City of Troy and all the people who promised help did not and did not step up to the plate when they said they would. … That program (has) done everything they can for the people of Hillside, they are the reason a lot of people have been able to get out of Hillside … it was a blessing.”

Since the April announcement of the grocery and retail development, the project has been on target for a 2017 opening.

At the most recent city council meeting, Troy councilmembers approved the city’s 772 notice as well as Ordinance 352, both which allowed the city to give Harbert Realty Services the property around the Publix development sight.

The city will borrow some $1.8 million dollars to purchase the land designated as outparcels for the grocery store development. The City of Troy will then sell that land to Harbert Realty Services and the company would be responsible for paying off all fees associated with the loan.

Calls to the mayor’s office were not immediately returned Wednesday, and District 3 Councilman Marcus Paramore said he had no comments at this time concerning Hillside Mobile Home Park or the Publix development. Calls to Dana Cole, a representative of Hillside Mobile Home Park, were also not returned.