New Year Brings New Hope to Regency Residents on the Move

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COLUMBIA - Neighbors at Regency Mobile Home Park continue to empty out with the Aspen Heights development looming. Trailer owners have only a few months left until student housing construction will take over. For one couple, the new year will not only bring a new home not in Regency, but new hope as well.

Patty Perkins and William McNeill have lived in their 1995 trailer at Regency, located just off Highway 63 and Old Nifong, for the past five years. On Tuesday, the trailer will roll out of the park like many others heading for a different one.

"Everything's packed up, everything's off the walls and out of the cabinets and everything," McNeill said. "Once we got the skirting down, we'll be ready to rock and roll."

It's a long awaited move for the couple, who've seen their neighborhood in the headlines several times this fall. Here's a time line of events in 2011:

- Sept. 23: Planning and Zoning Commission denies rezoning request from Regency of Missouri and Aspen Heights based in Austin.
- Oct. 16: City Council tabled the rezoning issue by request of the developer.
- Nov. 21: City Council approves rezoning request with a 5-2 vote. McDavid, Schimdt, Thornhill, Kespohl and Dudley voted for, while Anthony and Hoppe voted against.

Aspen Heights promised residents $500 plus a $1,800 moving allowance and owners of double-wide mobile homes get $3,000.

"If we wouldn't have rezoned we wouldn't have anyway of getting out," McNeill said. "It's been a lifesaver, we wouldn't of had the money to move this. It is expensive to move one of these things. As soon as we got the contract with one of the haulers to move it, we had the money [from Aspen Heights]."

Even though neighbors have until April 30th to move out and families with school children have until May 31st, much of the park already looks bare. Empty slabs, leftover front-door steps and graffiti covered, abandoned trailers make up most of what's leftover at the park.

Like many others, Perkins and McNeill are just glad it's almost over for them too.

"It's changed quite a bit since we've moved in," McNeill said. "We'll just have to make new friends."

"[We hope] that we can stay put and not have to move again, live out our life," Perkins said.