ROCK FALLS – Riverside Mobile Estates, a mobile home park the Illinois Department of Public Health is considering closing for years of unresolved violations, was purchased last week by a Colorado company for $1.23 million of dollars.
Tovia Propco of Colorado Springs, a division of Tovia Capital LLC, now owns the site at 901 Regan Road which for six decades was owned by 83-year-old Franklin DeHaan or other family members.
Tovia, owned by Quan Rees, also bought Greenacres Mobile Home Park in Dixon in November. It now owns eight mobile home parks in Illinois.
Longtime resident Cynthia Mammosser is the new site manager for Riverside, now simply called Riverside MHP.
Tovia immediately began the process of hiring contractors to upgrade the water and wastewater systems, said Jake Mast, chief operating officer of Tovia Capital.
“We wanted to…go in and save the park,” Mast said.
On Tuesday, Porter Brothers Asphalt and Paving in Rock Falls began repairing pothole-riddled roads, which it will finish with asphalt, a job that will take about two weeks in total.
Poor roads, frequent boil orders and other water system problems were the main complaints of the approximately 60 residents, many of whom are elderly or disabled.
These problems, along with several empty houses that have fallen into disrepair, and abandoned vehicles, appliances and other debris, were the reasons for the multiple violations.
The company will renovate and remodel homes that are salvageable, and remove and replace the rest, and the Greenacres landscaper will come in to weed, mow and do general cleaning, Mast said.
Tovia, who negotiated with DeHaan for several months before finally reaching an agreement, was not told of IDPH’s intention to ask a court to order the park closed for non-compliance, a- he declared.
“We weren’t aware of all the issues, however, we already have a drinking water operator under contract and we are signing the paperwork with a licensed sewage treatment operator, so our water issues are supported,” Mast said.
“We are working with the city and have had conversations with the EPA.”
In December 2012, DeHaan requested that the park be annexed to Rock Falls due to high nitrate levels in its drinking water. Since the annexation, Riverside’s water supply has been piped in from the city, but the aging distribution system is owned and maintained by the park.
If Tovia fixes the violations, IDPH will likely abandon its closure efforts, which, if successful, would leave residents looking for new homes.
“The goal has always been to address violations,” IDPH spokesperson Mike Claffey said in a previous post.
Neither DeHaan nor his son, Darin, could be reached for comment on this story.
Darin, who helped his father negotiate with Tovia but had nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of Riverside and had no financial stake in the park, said he didn’t realize how much the he state of the park had become bad until recently.
Many of his problems stemmed from his father’s age and poor health, he said.
The pandemic — and the two-year rent moratorium that accompanied it — also contributed to her father’s delay in dealing with the violations, DeHaan said.
With all the improvements going on, will the costs be passed on to the residents?
“Honestly, these people have been through enough,” Mast said. “There is no question of raising the rent.
“In fact, our goal would be to sell the houses to the residents. We want them to be proud owners of their own home.