SHIRLEY -- Wayside Community Association Inc. has purchased Wayside Estates on Clark Road. The sale was finalized March 5.
The association was established when residents of the 64-lot trailer park decided to purchase the land their homes were on, according to a recent press release.
There are 62 occupied units in the age-designated "over-55" community.
With membership outreach in progress, the appointed board of directors would later become a member-elected body.
The park purchase and sale -- in the works for some time -- was facilitated by Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), a Massachusetts arm of New Hampshire-based Resident Owned Communities (ROC.) Both are nonprofit organizations that assist resident mobile home owners in cooperatively purchasing their parks.
Now a national organization supported by grants, donations and fees for its services, ROC USA also includes a funding arm, ROC USA Capital, according to George Maskiell, a manufactured housing community coop consultant whose history with ROC dates back to its formation in the 1980s.
Tracing the then-groundbreaking movement, Maskiell said the CDI model was used to form 104 mobile home coops in his home state of New Hampshire; Wayside was the 14th in Massachusetts, he said.
Maskiell is providing technical assistance during the transition period. He was at the table for an association meeting last week when the board signed legal documents formalizing the cooperative.
The agenda covered several items, including communications. A letter from the Shirley Water District led to discussion about water shut-off locations and maintenance of the on-site sewer system pumping station.
A letter from the Energy Committee offered information about low-income energy programs for which members of the coop might be eligible and gave a roster of streetlights. This latter sparked discussion about who's responsible for removing disconnected poles at the back of the park. National Grid, the board concluded, resolving to put the matter on the to-do list.
Board members also wanted to know if a house that was once part of the park but has been sold is still hooked up to park utilities. If so, the error must be fixed, they said.
Most matters with questions attached were turned over to the new park manager, Julie Geren, of Greenleaf Property Management.
Noting priority items on her list, Geren said the board should retain an attorney with coop experience to deal with legal issues. Collecting back rent, for example. Although every mobile home at Wayside is privately owned, residents pay rent for occupying their lots, which are now leased from the coop. The rent includes a small monthly fee to the town and a fair share of park upkeep.
The first step when residents fall behind in their rent is to work out a payment plan, Geren said. But when someone must be evicted, it would be best to have an attorney handle it, she said, avoiding legal slip-ups and neighborhood angst.
The board also heard reports from volunteer sub-groups. Membership Committee Chairwoman Donna Celona said she and other volunteers canvassed the park the previous weekend, to share news about the sale and sign up new members.
Maintenance Committee Chairman Bob Gouin sketched a recent walk-through to see where things are in the park and identify work that needs doing. Gouin said he's now the one to call if there's a problem or when the red light at the pumping station is on.
Among other topics, the board discussed forming a committee to plan social events and whether to attend a joint meeting of mobile home coop boards coming up in Plymouth. Maskiell said it is a must for the Wayside Association board to go.
Another item of new business called for getting contractor bids for work in the park, including tree removal and roof repairs on a building that houses laundry facilities.
Asked about pink ribbons on numerous trees in the park, board members explained those trees are marked for removal because they are dead, dying or too close to trailers. The next step is to get detailed proposals from three tree companies for the job, Geren said.
The same comparative scenario applies to roof repairs. Although some felt it was key to decide what the space will be used for before spending money on it, they eventually agreed that roof leaks must be patched now to protect the building, which otherwise seems in good shape. Besides, an amount for repairs is covered in the budget.
All things considered, everything is moving forward smoothly, the board and others in attendance agreed. It will take time to iron out wrinkles and tie off loose ends as the fledgling coop gets off the ground, they said, but it's worth the effort.
Association members now cooperatively own the park as a self-governing group with a new sense of community, Maskiell said. Those who don't sign on will pay rent, as before, he said, but when it comes to park upgrades and operations, they don't get a vote.