SYCAMORE – Sycamore resident Jose Hernandez saw more Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park residents than ever before during Wednesday evening’s DeKalb County Board meeting.
The residents of the mobile home park at 955 E. State St. near Sycamore were there to gather details on the $1.47 million offer to purchase the property from Evergreen Village owner Frank Santoro.
The County Board approved the purchase Wednesday.
The county is scheduled to buy the park May 30. Residents will move as early as late June. Those who want to keep their homes will be helped with moving expenses.
“It’s a major shock for everyone,” said Hernandez, who translated county officials’ words into Spanish for Evergreen Village residents in attendance, many of whom were Hispanic. “They’re going to be displaced. I hope they do what’s best for the people in the area, especially the kids and families.”
Letters will be sent to Evergreen Village residents in the next two weeks, and then officials will meet with them individually in May to discuss mobile home values and moving assistance, said Paul Miller, county planning director.
Values of the homes will be determined based upon figures listed in both the Kelley Blue Book and Marshall & Swift handbook. Based on the age of some of the homes and the fact they’ve been damaged by floods, values are estimated as low as $2,000 and as high as $30,000, Miller said.
Residents will not be compensated for any repairs or renovations they made after the 2008 flood, Miller said. Evergreen Village sits on a Kishwaukee River flood plain.
“They should have known during the flood that it wasn’t a good place to put your money,” Miller said.
Residents have the right to disagree with the offer, but the decision of home values will ultimately be up to the state of Illinois, Miller said.
Jeffery Metzger, County Board chairman, applauded the county’s swift efforts to get everything finalized before the Wednesday deadline. Santoro had previously rejected offers to buy the property, which includes 33 acres of farmland and about 6 acres of railroad right-of-way nearby, but changed his mind just before the deadline because he felt he had no other choice.
“They gave me an ultimatum, so then I stopped to think what my options are,” Santoro told the Daily Chronicle on Tuesday. “I decided to take the money even though I don’t think it’s the right amount.”
Metzger said the focus now will be on doing what is best for Evergreen Village residents.
“We’ve got to take care of these folks,” he said. “We’ve got to take care of the residents.”
The most eager residents will relocate in June, then more will relocate in July, August and September. The goal is to relocate families with school-age children before the next school year, Miller said.
Spanish translators will be available for those who need translation assistance, Miller said.