SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Up the hill from the new apartments, new spa, new brewery and new restaurant in Galloway is the 152-home Colony Cove Mobile Home Park.
It’s been there a long time, since the 1960s, says Steve Johnson, who since the 1980s has been one of the park’s owners.
No, Johnson tells me, as development has swept along South Lone Pine Avenue — some might argue it has come in a deluge — not much has changed Colony Cove or its future.
“Not unless there is something going on that I am not aware of,” Johnson tells me.
“The mobile home park is no more desired now,” he says. “I do not think there is a developer who wants to build where we’re at.”
City Council is considering whether to give a part of Galloway where the most development has been the authority to create a special taxing district to fund things like additional parking, signs, lighting, sidewalks and landscaping.
On a recent Saturday night, I dined at The Rock, a new restaurant and bar, and I can attest that additional parking is needed now and will be needed even more in the future as what is now empty space becomes occupied by more new businesses.
In addition to the possibility of a taxing district, the council is considering whether to approve a neighborhood plan for the broader Galloway area.
Sure, Johnson says, all the nearby development and growth has not hurt the value of his 30 acres.
“But I have not heard of anybody who wants to expand in our direction,” he says.
“Would not be the end of the world”
Part of life for some in Colony Cove, I learned, is speculating on if and when the owner will cash in and sell the property.
I discovered this by talking to several residents during a recent visit.
The park is well maintained, with many mature trees.
Residents either own their homes or rent. But even those who own their mobile homes pay a monthly lot rental of about $260.
Many of the houses have wooden decks. Some have car ports.
City Utilities provides the water, sewer and electric.
Because of a tree line, park residents cannot see all the development down the slope.
But they certainly have heard it during construction.
“They made a lot of noise,” says Don Watson, 70, a retiree from Paul Mueller Company, who has lived in the park about four years.
Don Watson, 70, has lived in the Colony Cove Mobile Home Park for about four years. “It’s peaceful here. Nobody ever bothers anything.”
He has his own metal garage in his driveway, as well as a screened-in deck.
“It is peaceful here,” he tells me. “Nobody ever bothers anything. The only excitement is for a medical emergency. You never see police. They are pretty picky about who they rent to.”
I ask: Are you concerned that the owner will sell to a developer and you’ll have to move?
“I don’t really worry about it,” he says.
Across the street, Tina Williamson, 42, says she worries — but that’s nothing new.
“We’re always worried that he is going to end up selling,” she says.
She grew up in the mobile home where she now lives. It was owned by her parents. She moved away and eight years ago moved back.
“Nobody likes that the apartments have gone up,” she says. “The noise for months has been horrible.”
Keith, 85, and Lana Brackenbrough, 75, rent their mobile home. They have lived in the park two years.
Lana is unfazed by the nearby development.
“I don’t really care one way or the other,” she said. “I think the owner of this place is going to hold out for a while. If somebody wants to buy this and he can sell it they will put apartments in here. I don’t know when it will happen but I can see it coming.”
Belle Pursley, 76, has lived in the park three different times. She owns her home.
I asked if she was worried the park’s owner might sell in the near future.
“It would not be the end of the world,” she says.
These are the views of News-Leader columnist Steve Pokin, who has been at the paper seven years, and over his career has covered everything from courts and cops to features and fitness. He can be reached at 836-1253, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @stevepokinNL or by mail at 651 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65806.