CHESHIRE -- The Pine Valley Mobile Home Park Tenants Association reported at Tuesday night's Selectmen's meeting that park owner Morgan Management is seeking to unload the 95-unit community.
The park, plagued with septic issues, would cost tenants $2.1 million if they chose to exercise their right of first refusal and purchase the park themselves, according to Tenants Association President Diane Goodrich.
Whether Morgan Management has a buyer lined up is unclear, as a sole individual unaffiliated with Morgan Management -- Jeremiah Ward of the Cooperative Development Institute out of Shelburne Falls -- has thus far communicated the message to tenants.
Goodrich and Selectman Paul Astorino thought the tenants purchasing the park is unlikely.
"I don't think the tenants can afford to buy it," Astorino said. "There's 95 trailers down there and each year I'd say roughly 20 to 25 percent are threatened with eviction."
If they chose to purchase, tenants would also likely need to hire a management company for upkeep of the park.
"It's crazy," Goodrich said. "We'd be worse off than we are now."
Goodrich said Ward tried to hastily arrange a tenant vote on whether they would purchase the park, but that she and the other Tenants Association members opted to "back off" and wait for official notice from Morgan, which they were supposed to have received two weeks ago, according to what Ward told her.
The park has required septic infrastructure work for over a decade, a project mandated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Litigation filed by an abutter of the property that had held up the work since 2010 -- during which period flooding, septic failures and other issues occurred -- was resolved in October.
The septic system for 33 of the park's units is due to be fixed by Morgan Management by September, and the entire system must be replaced by 2020, according to DEP.
"Whoever is buying [the park] should not pay even a penny until that project is done," Astorino said.
Since 2002, park tenants have paid $18.25 extra on their monthly rent toward an escrow account Morgan said would be used to pay for these repairs. However, Morgan representatives said in late 2011 that all this money had been spent on "extraordinary pumping costs."
Rent at the park was then raised $65 per month in early 2012 to roughly $255.
"I speak for myself but there's no way in hell I'd want to own the park with the septic the way it is," Goodrich said.
Goodrich added the Tenants Association won't act until word from Morgan is received.
"As far as we're concerned, the park's not up for sale until we have registered letters in our hands," Goodrich said.
To reach Phil Demers, email