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A great redevelopment in Watsonville, CA

Adam R.'s picture

Posted December 18, 2007

In the process of sending out emails about my book, a few people that I met while out on the road have contacted me. One of those people was Suzanne Ise, from the City of Watsonville's Department of Community Development.

I first met Ms. Ise when I visited a dilapidated park within Watsonville, California. Watsonville is located in a large

agricultural region. Local farms need a lot of labor for picking strawberries and other seasonal fruit. Planners recognize that housing must exist for the local workforce. Manufactured housing fits that goal.

Riverside mobile home park, located next to a river and intersecting with a railroad track, had become a point of community concern. Since the park was next to the banks of a river, the earthen wall surrounding the park was also a barrier to the water. When residents began to dig into the berm, the surrounding community became involved.

I have some thumbnail pictures of what the park used to look like:

Before — Riverside MHPriversidemhp203.jpgriversidemhp204.jpg

The pictures hint at some of the problems. There is really no space for children to play, outside of the street. What space does exist is often utilized for parking. The homes are cobbled together from a lot of added on corrugated metal. Water collects in an above-ground ditch.

That was over a year ago. In the time since then, the South County Housing Corporation redeveloped Riverside MHP. They have managed to keep the number of units the same while revitalizing the neighborhood. The residents are now in new manufactured homes. The infrastructure problems that were a concern to the community have been mitigated. Here are some pictures, provided courtesy of South County Housing Corp., with help from Suzanne Ise.

riversideafter172.jpg

The details in the photograph witness to the transformation of this park. Sidewalks have been added. There is xeriscaping -- nee, landscaping!

Moreover, these homes are not the cookie cutter singlewides that often come out of factories. SCHC managed to get floor plans and exterior designs that fit into a community plan for a park. There are front porches on each of the homes. The front doors are on the end of the homes, and not on side the longer sides. The homes have pitched roofs.

This is well done. Congratulations to the City of Watsonville and South County Housing Corp.