When Bev Adrian met host Paul Bradley in the early 2000s at an event called the Meredith Institute, she had no idea she was on a long path to resident ownership. Fast forward nearly 20 years and Bev is the Board President at Woodlawn Terrace Cooperative in Richfield, Minnesota, one of the newest resident-owned communities in the country. In this episode, Bev walks us through her long crazy journey to resident ownership – a journey that includes a community closure, statewide advocacy work, a “leap of faith” – purchasing a new home in a privately-owned manufactured home community – and leading her new neighbors through the cooperative purchase.
Episode: Ownership Sure Does Matter, with Bev Adrian of Woodlawn Terrace Cooperative
Welcome to the Ownership Matters podcast, where hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard of ROC USA highlight the stories of people at the heart of the resident-ownership movements! ROC USA—an organization working with resident owners in manufactured home communities—offers this resource for various listeners. In this episode, Paul and Mike welcome guest Bev Adrian of Woodlawn Terrace Cooperative.
0:10 Guest, Bev Adrian, introduced
Hosts Paul Bradly and Mike Bullard kick off the episode by introducing today’s guest, Bev Adrian. Bev is Board President of Woodlawn Terrace Cooperative, one of the newest Resident Owned Communities in the country. Woodlawn Terrace Cooperative is in Richfield, Minnesota. Bev worked as a career placement counselor for 35 years placing disabled adults into employment opportunities for a nonprofit agency. She became involved in All Parks Alliance for Change after her first manufactured home community was sold and the land redeveloped. Her story was featured in the twin cities public television documentary American Dream Under Fire.
2:41 Bev’s surprising experience in her first manufactured home community
Preparing for retirement, Bev was looking at a brand new double wide home in a park in Bloomington, Minnesota which had been established for about 50 years. Two weeks after purchasing the home, she was dealt a huge shock when she received a 9-month notice that the park was closing for good. All Parks Alliance for Change came to the community to organize the residents and prepare them to exercise the first right of refusal. They came up with the down payment, but the park owner refused their offer.
6:35 How this experience impacted Bev’s life
Bev ended up moving her home 50 miles outside of the Twin Cities area, but didn’t move with the home. She put it on the market, but wasn’t able to sell it for 10 years. She then returned to her previous site-built home, which she had been renting out, and spent 16 years there. As a retiree, Bev’s house became too much to maintain, and she ended up moving to a new manufactured home community.
8:30 Bev’s bold proposal for her new park
While she was purchasing her new home, Bev was notified that the park owner had an unaccepted offer to purchase the park. After the offer was taken off the table, Bev asked the owner if he would agree to sell the park to the residents. The owner agreed to Bev’s proposal.
10:35 How Bev had the confidence to purchase a new home after her last experience?
Bev was still nervous about the decision and kept her site-built house in case she would be forced out again. But, she took a big gulp and had confidence in the North Country Coop Foundation and felt inspired to ride the wave.
12:51 Bev’s new community
People have lived in Bev’s community for over 30 years and there are about 30 families. Everybody is excited about the process and have embraced the idea, with 85% of residents becoming involved in the co-op. They will add 20 new homes to be added to the community and are in the process of rejuvenating the community.
14:20 The impact of bringing in new homes
People are concerned that new people will be moving into the park, but it is a necessary action for financial reasons. The property was licensed for 73 homes, and they will only have 53 homes after the new additions. There is abundant wildlife within the park as it has a real rural feel to it.
16:31 Bev’s relationship with the manufactured home retailer
The realtor is the same one who sold Bev her home, and the two hit it off right off the bat. She is the only realtor-broker in the state of Minnesota who deals in high quality manufactured homes. Bev introduced her to the Northcountry Cooperative Foundation, and the two are forming a partnership as a result. Initially, they identified 7 lots to be prepared for new homes by the realtor and her husband. Prep includes grading, laying piers and ordering the homes.
20:15 The role of NCF
Bev has been so overwhelmingly impressed with the staff at the Northcountry Cooperative Foundation throughout the whole process. The Coop worked to develop a purchase agreement with the park owner that was agreeable for both parties. The residents, upon finding out, were thrilled to learn about the agreement as they had lived under the fear of their own park closing.
24:52 What ownership has been like so far
Bev and her neighbors have been owners of their community for about two weeks now. There is lots of activity involved, such as transferring utilities and distributing new keys.
26:35 Bev’s time during All Parks Alliance for Change
During the time Bev was president for the organization, money was flowing. They were granted money to organize on a national level. They got to know people all over the country and the network continued to grow rapidly.
32:22 Thank you to Bev for sharing her story with us today!
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Check out the documentary, American Dream Under Fire.
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