The former lease holder and the former manager of the Riverview Mobile Home & RV Park have reached out to the Pioneer following criticism from residents of the park. Lease holder Steve Durand and manager John Thomas both said they wanted to tell their side of the story.
Among other things, they said they were as unhappy about the situation as anyone else.
“I’m upset they’re upset at me,” Durand said. “I got booted out, too.”
The park is on the Colorado River Indian Reservation, and Durand held the lease on the park. The lease expired Aug. 31. The Colorado River Indian Tribes took control of the park and sent a letter to all park residents. They said they had concluded it is not economically feasible to operate the park, and the park will be closed as of 5 p.m. February 29, 2020.
Park residents have since stated in published reports that the park was poorly maintained over the years, and the park was not being kept up. Durand and Thomas dispute this. They claim the real problem was the age of the park and poorly maintained mobile homes in the park.
“We had the cheapest rents on the river,” Durand said. “The park was old. When things went wrong, we fixed them. I invested a lot of money in the park.”
Durand, 78, said he’d owned the lease since 1972. He said he asked the Tribes for a three to five year extension, and the extension would’ve included upgrades to the park and a revenue increase for the Tribes. He said his requests were ignored.
“I wanted to keep it,” Durand said of the park.
In a letter to the Pioneer, Thomas said the management always responded to problems that were brought to their attention. He noted many of the mobile units in the park were more than 60 years old, and they had not been maintained by the tenants. He said he responded to electrical and water problems that were caused by a poorly maintained mobile home and not by the park’s systems.
Thomas also stated he had advised potential tenants that the lease would be expiring at the end of August 2019, and that he didn’t know or have any control over what would happen then.
Durand and Thomas both said tribal officials never spoke with them about closing the park. Thomas said closing the park was a “business decision” on the part of the Tribes.
“We had nothing to do with it,” Durand said of the closure. “There was nothing we could do.”
“We are sincerely sorry that so many people are affected by the park’s closure, as we were friends of many of the tenants,” Thomas said in his letter. “I hope everyone will be able to find suitable and affordable housing.”