This July, the local Habitat for Humanity will submit to the city an application to rezone the Sunrise Trailer Court. Located off Carlton Avenue, the site is presently home to 17 trailers and a freestanding house, but if Habitat has its way it will begin construction in 2011 on a planned redevelopment of the mobile home park that would transform it into a mixed-income neighborhood and dramatically increase its density.
Instead of fewer than 20 residences, the new Sunrise would have between 40 and 50, including a quadriplex, a structure that would combine four residences (a duplex doubled), as well as basement walk-out apartments underneath.
“Two of those would be enough to house all the Sunrise residents,” says Dan Rosensweig, the local Habitat’s new executive director. Under its operating philosophy, Habitat will do its best not to displace any current residents of the trailer park, and more than half have signed up to remain once the new incarnation is built.
According to Rosensweig, many of the future residences will likely be built as duplexes. “We’ve shown that we can build duplexes and build them well,” he says, referring to a mixed-income development of more than 30 units off of Cherry Avenue that Habitat initiated earlier this decade. While some of those structures are single family residences, others are in fact duplexes, including a row of three on Valley Road Extended that are already occupied, and four more on Paton Street (where only one is completed so far).
“We waited a long time for this house,” says Duarte Mireya, a resident of Paton’s sole finished duplex. For the last eight years, she and her husband Nestor (along with their three children) lived in Southwood, the massive mobile home park located at the end of Fifth Street Extended (which is also owned by Habitat and planned for an overhaul, several years down the road). More than three years ago, the Mexican natives’ housing application was accepted by Habitat and after going through the lengthy qualification process, they were placed here, first setting foot in their new home in February of this year.
“It’s good for us,” Duarte says, sitting on a couch in the living room of her split-level home. Out in the big backyard is a small garden where tomatoes and peppers are sprouting. By the time they bear fruit, perhaps the duplex next door will be finished, and by the end of the following year, the entire project should be completed, providing valuable experience for Habitat with their upcoming projects. “We think that’s going to help us when we get to Sunrise and down the road with Southwood,” says Rosensweig.
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