Mobile home residents upset, confused over forced move

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COLUMBIA - A new hospital is coming to Columbia, but not without a cost. Residents at Sunset and Ed’s Mobile Home Parks have until October 1 to be off the premises. 

“They're separating everybody. So I won't see my family because I have to go move somewhere else,” said Billy Britt, a resident at Sunset Mobile Homes. 

Whirlwind Properties LLC, the company that owns the land, is selling it to Fulton Medical Center LLC, a health care company formed last fall by University of Missouri Health Care and Nueterra, a private healthcare firm based in Kansas. 

The company plans on building a new 10-bed, $40 million hospital on the site. Sunset and Ed’s Mobile Home Parks are located at 4130 and 4150 Lenoir Street on the south side of Columbia. Currently, there are five hospitals within four miles of the two mobile home parks:

  • University Hospital (3.4 miles)
  • Truman Memorial Hospital (3.4 miles)
  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital (3.5 miles)
  • Boone Hospital Center (3.5 miles)
  • Landmark Hospital (4 miles)

The company submitted a certificate of need application to the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee on April 28. The service area provided in the application excludes the majority of Columbia, including the area where the five hospitals listed above are located. There are nearly 1,100 hospital beds available within a four-mile radius of the site.

Page 12 of the application stated the community to be served by the new hospital as “substantially the same community currently served by Fulton Medical Center."

Edith Guillen lives in Sunset Mobile Homes Park. She said she doesn’t think Columbia needs another hospital. 

"I just thought, really, another hospital? We already have enough hospitals,” Guillen said.  

Nueterra Vice President of Global Marketing Amy Leiker said she believes the new hospital is necessary. 

"Someone in southern Boone or Callaway County needing emergency services will likely stop at this new hospital instead of driving further into Columbia," Leiker said. 

The new hospital would be 21 miles away from the Fulton Medical Center, Fulton’s only hospital. The application also said there would be “no impact” for hospitals closest to the proposed hospital’s service area.

The proposed project budget (page six, memorandum) lists the land acquisition costs at over $4 million. Leiker said the sale will be completed once residents move out on October 1. Page 11 of the certificate of need application stated construction of the new hospital would be completed by January 2017.

Leiker also said residents are not being charged rent or utilities during the moving period.

The certificate of need proposal is on the agenda for the committee’s Monday, July 13 meeting.

KOMU 8 called multiple media relations officials with University of Missouri Health Care but did not immediately have its calls returned.  

The application said the new hospital would provide a multitude of surgical services, including general and orthopedic surgeries. It would also be less than half a mile south of Lenoir Woods Senior Living facility.

Ron Netemeyer is the co-owner of Whirlwind Properties LLC, the company that owns both Sunset and Ed’s Mobile Home Parks. He manages the parks, as well. Britt said Netemeyer told residents back in 2011 he wouldn’t sell the land. This spring, residents received a letter that said they had to move by October 1. 

KOMU 8 reached out to Netemeyer over multiple platforms, but he did not respond to requests for an interview.

Nick Perkins also lives in Sunset Mobile Park. He said Netemeyer is treating his residents like second-class citizens.

"They definitely handled it the way they did because of it being a low-income trailer park. People here don't have much money, so they don't really care,” Perkins said. 

Guillen is a mother of three. She’s disappointed because she has to uproot her family. 

“You get used to your home, so having to leave again is hard. Going to a new place, meeting new people, you don't know if you can trust the neighborhood. We were pretty settled in here,” Guillen said. 

Guillen also said the letter she received seemed cold, and when she contacted management for more details, they simply told her the decision was already made. She estimates half of the two parks’ 89 occupied units are either gone or in the process of moving out currently.

Britt had one word to describe the feeling he had when he found out he would have to leave his home behind.

“Heartbreaking,” Britt said. 

The committees Monday, July 13 meeting will be held in house hearing room six of the Capitol Building in Jefferson City. It will be open to the public at 9 a.m.

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