REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (WCMH) – People living in a Reynoldsburg community are wondering if they’re going to be homeless in a matter of months after they found out their landlord was selling the property where their homes are located to make way for a project that’s now been put on hold.
The Shepard’s Mobile Home Court sits at the corner of East Main Street and Taylor Road in Reynoldsburg, the perfect site, developers thought, for a new Sheetz gas station.
The people living there didn’t see it that way.
Sheetz has since backed away from its plans, but the neighbors still don’t know what that means for them.
Resident Vickie Ellis and her neighbors each got a certified letter on Dec. 1.
“The owner… has entered into a contract to sell the property, and as a result, the park will be closing in the near future,” the letter read.
Residents have 180 days to leave.
“I mean, come on,” Ellis said. “You can’t do that to an elderly park!”
Ellis said a lot of her neighbors, and their decades-old trailers, won’t be able to move.
“I’m really concerned about the ones that are on oxygen and the ones that have kids because where are they going to go?” Ellis asked.
Ellis said that even if she could find a new space for her home, there are a lot of challenges in moving the old trailers.
Resident Cidney Ellison said the Dec. 1 letter was the first official word she received from the landlord that the lot had been sold. Rumors had been circulating for months that Shepard’s Mobile Home Court would eventually become a Sheetz. She said those rumors were confirmed by a newspaper article in October.
“The landlord has the right to sell,” Ellison said. “That’s fine. We deserve to be notified, too.”
“When inflation and the price of housing has gone through the roof and wages haven’t kept up, I don’t know what they expect people to do,” she added.
That’s the message Ellison and her neighbors brought to the Reynoldsburg City Council.
“They’re our residents, and these are peoples’ families,” said Reynoldsburg Mayor Joe Begeny. “Their kids go to our schools. Some have lived there for 20, 30 years. They’re our Reynoldsburg families, so we have to take care of them at this time.”
Begeny said the city’s social worker is reaching out to Shepard’s residents to try to help them. He also has plans to meet with legislators representing Licking County to see how the state can help. But as of Friday, the mayor said Sheetz withdrew its application to re-zone the lot for a gas station.
“We don’t know if this is a permanent thing, if they’re walking away from the project entirely,” he said. “We just know for right now, they’re no longer pursuing it.”
Regardless of whether a Sheetz is coming to the corner of East Main and Taylor, Begeny said the city’s plans to help the people living there remain the same, and the people living there? Their skepticism will also remain.
In an email, a spokesperson for Sheetz said the company is still planning a new location on East Main Street in Reynoldsburg. He said they withdrew the rezoning application because it:
“…will provide an opportunity for our real estate development partner to work with the owner of this property in providing assistance to the residents of Shepard’s Mobile Home Court. We appreciate the feedback on this project and will work to make sure all residents are treated fairly as it continues.”
The attorney for the owner of Shepard’s Mobile Home Court did not return requests for comment.