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Trailer park residents at former Kutztown Airport worry they’ll be evicted

Residents at the Airport Mobile Home Park near Kutztown have been in a perpetual limbo and anxious about the future.

The owners, Nicholas and Sophie Prikis, put the property up for sale years ago for a potential industrial use and aren’t allowing any new tenants.

The mobile home park is part of a larger 75-acre tract for sale.

The sign advertising the sale of 5 acres along Kutztown Road in Maxatawny Township. (BEN HASTY — READING EAGLE)

The park itself — which opened in 1960 — has outlasted the runway it was built near.

Kutztown Airport was built in 1945 and closed in 2008.

The owners, who live in Greece and could not be reached for comment, have contracted with Wyomissing firms Keystone Property and Asset Management to run the park, and it’s sister company NAI Keystone Commercial and Industrial to sell the land.

Residents said they have received new yearly site rental contracts specifying that selling their mobile home would require its removal from the park, and that no new homes could be added to the park.

Until recently, the park had 57 mobile home sites that have now dwindled to under 40 of them being occupied.

The Airport Mobile Home Park along Kutztown Road in Maxatawny Township. (BEN HASTY — READING EAGLE)

Cindy Hoffer, a resident of 49 years, said the park has gone downhill.

“There used to be a level of standards and certain things you had to do to maintain your
properties,” Hoffer said. “My son grew up here and everyone looked out for each other.”

Hoffer said the deterioration has nothing to do with the new property management firm, which has only been on board for about a year, but more so previous management requiring month-to-month leases, and residents fearing eviction since the land has been for sale since 2008 or earlier.

According to Hoffer, there have also been Berks County sheriff sales of severely deteriorated properties.

Hoffer said she attended one of the recent Maxatawny Township meetings where she said she saw new plans for a trucking company development.

Hoffer is skeptical the land can be turned into an industrial use due to a limited access, already high traffic levels on nearby roads and a lack of a public sewer.

She said the plans she saw included a basin being installed on the south side of the airport property.

Recently, a company has been in negotiations with Maxatawny Township and NAI Keystone for
a potential development.

Maxatawny Township Secretary/Treasurer Jerilyn Wehr said Estes Express Lines of
Richmond, Va., approached the township in summer with development plans for a trucking company on the property, but has since pulled the concept, and plans were never seen by the planning commission.

Wehr said there has been no recent contact with the trucking company since the plans were pulled.

The NAI Keystone real estate website is listing the property for $7.5 million and designates it as “under contract.”

However, an acreage discrepancy exists.

The real estate agent’s listing shows a total of 60 acres for sale, but the site map shows an area of 70-plus acres.

When real estate agent Brian McCahon was contacted, he said public records show 75 acres.

When asked about the listing discrepancy and the future of the mobile home park, McCahon said he was not at liberty to discuss it.

“Everything is speculation at this point,” McCahon said.

Although development plans have stalled at the township level, residents of the mobile home park are still deeply concerned.

A longtime park resident who asked not to be identified said she is worried about at-risk residents.

“You have retired folks, veterans, those with disabilities, and some with fixed or low incomes. If evicted, where do you go?” the woman said. “If you sell your mobile home, you have to move it out of the park, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars. And many recipient parks have standards which could not be met (by those moving in).”

The Airport Diner along Kutztown Road in Maxatawny Township Friday afternoon October 15, 2021. The restaurant is part of a parcel of land being sold for possible development. (BEN HASTY — READING EAGLE)

Two other businesses could also be on the outs if a sale would go through: the Airport Diner and the MedEvac site occupied by a Lehigh Valley Hospital helicopter.

Mobile Park resident Steven Steltz says he hopes any deal won’t go through.

Stoltz says park residents are sharing knowledge and getting their fears and frustrations out on a Facebook page called Concerned Citizens of Maxatawny.

“We plan to stay here until we die, but you never know,” Steltz said.

Source: Berkshire mont

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