The owner of a property rental and house flipping company out of O’Fallon is considering buying the Belaire Mobile Home Park in Truesdale, giving city leaders hope that the run-down …
The owner of a property rental and house flipping company out of O’Fallon is considering buying the Belaire Mobile Home Park in Truesdale, giving city leaders hope that the run-down neighborhood can be restored as a safe and well-maintained block of affordable housing.
Josh Scronce, owner of Signature Investment Group, said his company has a purchasing contract for the Belaire property, which includes dozens of homes tucked away in a wooded corner of the city. Scronce met with the Truesdale Board of Aldermen Jan. 11 as part of his investigation before closing the deal.
“We’re considering buying it. We’re having some reservations, but we’re trying to make it work and see what we can do,” Scronce explained. He asked aldermen to fill him in on the history of the park, the complaints it has garnered, and what improvements need to be made.
“When it first opened, it was really nice,” commented Alderman Jerry Cannon. “There were guidelines for underpinning and all kinds of little, persnickety things that people abided by.”
“But it started going downhill gradually over time,” Alderman Robert Green added. “It got really lax on the upkeep and taking care of those trailers.”
Dilapidated properties and poor management led to the neighborhood becoming an eyesore, and at times a hotbed for drug-related crime, city officials have said. But the worst of those problems improved significantly about four years ago when the trailer park’s current owners hired property management firm MDS Property Management Group to take over operation of the park.
Mayor Chris Watson said the biggest problem that still needs to be addressed are damaged, unkept and/or abandoned mobile homes that are left in Belaire.
Scronce, the potential new owner, said he’s optimistic that there’s a good base to restore Belaire to being a nicer place to live.
“I want to make it work, I really do. But it needs a lot of cleanup. It’s going to be a heck of a project, but I think I’m up for it,” Scronce commented. He noted that his company already has money for purchasing the park and then starting improvements like paving and trimming trees.
Scronce said he takes a personal interest in every tenant he rents properties to, meeting each of them face-to-face and procuring background checks.
“We find that if the properties are nice, we usually get nice people,” he added.
If the deal to purchase the Belaire park proceeds, the closing date would be in mid-February, Scronce said. Work to improve the park would start this year, with the potential for new mobile homes to be moved in and opened for rent this year as well.