The trailer court in Colorado City is unique in many respects. The homes occupying those lots are vastly different; there is nothing standard about the place, which brings unique challenges and opportunities. The United Effort Plan Trust, a charitable trust in control of many parcels of land, has the goal of transferring that land to private ownership. The trailer park has been particularly hard to transfer to private ownership, for various reasons. The UEP has partnered with a local investor and Pioneer Court, through a master lease, to accomplish that goal. Along with the goal of fostering home ownership, come the goals of beautifying the community and turning the unique aspects and challenges of the properties into a positive opportunity for new and low-income families.
The trailer park in Colorado City has never really been available to the general public, until recently, due to it being UEP trust property. After some changes in the management of the trust, the homes became available to the public. However, many people are hesitant to spend their time fixing up properties that they may not occupy long term. Due to legal limitations arising from nature of the parcel of land, there was no clear path to individual home ownership. Pioneer Court is hoping to change that dynamic by working with individuals on flexible paths to home ownership.
They began by securing several properties and offering them for rent to see what kind of market demand might be expected. “A month ago, we went through and secured five or six vacant properties that had been abandoned. We put the time into repairing some of them to make them livable and see what the market would bring for rentals,” said Leona Knudson with Pioneer Court. She continues, “We found that there was far more interest in buying than renting. The ratio was ten to one.” The plan is to work with individuals to bring the homes up to a standard of livability and beautification that involves discounted pricing on the homes depending on the level of sweat equity contributed. With the local talent in construction trades, this is a great opportunity. “People would rather put the time and sweat equity into it and that works for us too, so we’re going to focus on securing the homes, making sure they are reasonably livable, then we will offer them for sale for people to fix up at an extremely discounted price,” says Leona. Each lot has a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
“These are unique homes. Nothing about them is standard. We have single-wide and double-wide trailers, and numerous properties with additions to trailers.” Depending on the ability of the individual seeking to own the home, Pioneer Court will work out a custom financing option. After the terms of the deal are met, that individual comes away with ownership of the home and the only expenses from that point are rental on the parcel of land along with utilities. The rate for land rental will be around $225. They are willing to offer flexible rental plans including annual, six-month, and month-to-month rental contracts. Utilities would not be offered through Pioneer Court.
Comparatively speaking, the lots are very big, when you consider trailer parks in other areas. In some trailer park’s you only get 8-feet worth of yard around your trailer. This trailer park allows you to have a full-size yard with room to grow. The opportunities for customization are many, due to the diverse nature of existing homes, just so long as beauty and safety standards are met. There are 95 homes in total and all of them are for sale.
Looking to the future, Pioneer Court has a goal of creating a strong sense of community. They are discussing plans to build common areas that include mini recreation and playground areas, along with maintenance of the roads with gravel. They have discussed possible community celebrations and events. They have even discussed bringing in wood from Kaibab to offer to residents, at cost, to help them cut down on utility bills during the winter. If you are interested in a path to homeownership but don’t have the ability to build or buy, this may be the perfect option.