Developer speaks on protest against trailer park closure

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ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The people who live at North Fork Trailer Park in Rowan County say they received a letter on March 6 from the owner of the property, telling them they needed to move out by April 30.

Randy Harper has lived in the park for the past 20 years. She says there were rumors going around for more than a year about the potential sale of the property but claims the owner didn’t say anything about it until last month.

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“We couldn’t get any more respect or honesty than what we got. They want us out in 45 days but if they had told us a year and a half ago when this first started instead of lying to us we could have been prepared.” said Harper.

The park is home to around 65-70 families. They say they were told $1,000 would be given to them to help with moving costs. But according to Eric Bailey who has lived in the park for 11 years, that’s not what’s happening.

“I’m not asking for a handout whatsoever. I’m not against them selling the land, I’m not against someone buying the land, I’m not against the city for facilitating the sale, but I’m against how we were lied to, how the thousand dollars does not go to any residents. It only goes to the moving company if you are able to move your trailer,” said Bailey.

So they are protesting. They stood outside Morehead City Hall Monday with posters and chants in hopes City Council members would hear their cries for help.

They chanted phrases like “North Fork Strong,” and “Low-Income Lives Matter.”

Property owner Joanne Fraley of Fraley Commercial Properties declined to comment. when reached by WTVQ ABC 36 News.

The protestors also expressed their anger towards Patrick Madden, the Lexington-based developer who is buying the land.

But, he says there were multiple public City Council meetings discussing the potential purchase that were advertised in newspapers and live-streamed on Facebook in the fall. He says the deal has actually been in talks for nearly two years.

“This isn’t something that’s come out of the blue so to speak,” said Madden.

He says he is just a third party and that the issue could be lack of communication between the property owner and tenants, but that he is not responsible for the evictions.

He says the property has not actually been sold yet, that he has a contract to purchase the property but only once tenants have moved out.

“I specifically came into this process not being from the community and making the deal I was making it contingent on the trailers being moved so I haven’t had any contact with anybody there,” Madden said.

He says once he does buy the property, it will be turned into dining, retail, gas stations, restaurants and more.

Madden’s family developed much f the Hamburg area of Lexington.