MU Students Present Aspen Heights Petition to Chancellor Deaton

5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago November 18, 2011 Nov 18, 2011 Friday, November 18 2011 Friday, November 18, 2011 2:08:00 PM CST in News
By: Joe Chiodo

COLUMBIA - MU students marched and chanted across campus Friday morning to present a petition against Aspen Heights student housing to Chancellor Brady Deaton.

Students involved in GRO-Mizzou and GRO-Grass Roots Organizing marched into Deaton's office to deliver a petition with more than 1,000 signatures that calls for him to speak out against Aspen Heights Student Housing purchasing the Regency Mobile Home Park.

The students started gathering the signatures Tuesday from MU faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The petition also calls on Mayor Bob McDavid and the city council to strike down the park rezoning request to be voted on November 21.

Curtis Edwards, an MU graduate student and movement leader, said, "Instead of sacrificing the needs of some residents for the supposed benefit of others, we should work to ensure the well-being of all citizens living in our great city."

Edwards also added that Aspen Heights housing is not affordable for the average college student, so it would not be a reasonable substitute.

KOMU 8 talked to residents of the mobile park on Friday and found that the majority of residents actually have a different perspective on the situation.

This comes after residents attended a park meeting Tuesday night with Charlie Vatterott, vice president of development for Aspen Heights, to discuss options to help out residents after the park closes.

A resident of the park, Will McGill, said that three weeks ago, he was angry at Aspen Heights, but is not anymore.  During this time, residents received a notice from the current owner of the park. The notice said that they must be out by March 1 because they were under contract to be bought by Aspen Heights.  This meant that no matter if Aspen gets to build or not, residents would be evicted and forced to move from the park at some point next year.

But residents told KOMU 8 that after Tuesday's meeting, they hope the rezoning request passes and Aspen Heights does build on the property.  If residents signed a document Tuesday stating they approve the rezoning, Aspen Heights agreed to give residents $500, plus a $1,800 moving allowance and the right to stay on the land until April 30, rather than March 1.  Owners of double-wide mobile homes would get $3,000. Families with school-aged children could stay until May 31.

Residents said that they estimate 99 percent of park members accepted the deal.  They did add that they appreciate the support of the community and Mizzou students.

Students involved in the petition said they are still confident in their cause due to the amount of support they have received.  They said they will continue to fight for the park if the zoning request is not approved.

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