Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The days are numbered for the Red Lamp Mobile Park. The town of Thatcher plans to purchase the property and have it razed.
Park will be gutted and residents will be given 90 days to relocate
By Jon Johnson
THATCHER – The town of Thatcher will undertake one of its largest cleanup efforts by purchasing the Red Lamp Mobile Park and completely clearing it of any structures.
Town leadership had been mulling purchasing the 4.5-acre property for about a year, according to Thatcher Mayor Bob Rivera. At first, the out-of-state owners wanted an “astronomical” amount but recently lowered their asking price and struck a deal with the town to sell it for $1.2 million. The sale is expected to close July 2, to avoid any chance of Thatcher going over its expenditure limitation for the fiscal year. A second town employee in the planning and community development department confirmed the sale price and date to the Gila Herald.
Rivera said the park is an eyesore along the commercial highway corridor in Thatcher, and the town will be much better off after it has been wiped clean.
“We want to clean it all up,” Rivera said. “There have been some trailers there that have been vacant for a number of years.”
In addition to the run-down trailers, Rivera said the park is also a drain on the town’s resources as the police department responds to the property “at least once a week if not more.”
“We’ve had numerous concerns about suspicious activity over there over the years,” Rivera said.
He also mentioned having to “get after” the owners in the past for electrical problems, especially because if there was an electrical fire in one trailer it would be extremely easy for it to jump to the next trailer on and on down the line.
“There’s a lot of health hazards,” Rivera said.
After clearing out the property of all the trailers and other structures, Thatcher hopes to entice a drug store to set up shop on the corner of Third Avenue and U.S. Highway 70, where there is already a traffic light. Rivera said they would also like to bring in a new outdoor mini-mall for the property. Additionally, the town could allow single-family residences to be built along the southern end of the property adjacent to Fourth Street.
Less than a handful of residents of the park are permanent residents and most are on a month-to-month basis. Rivera said the town had notified the permanent residents about the pending purchase and demolition, but when the Gila Herald recently toured the property, the month-to-month residents were unaware they would have to find somewhere else to live.
According to the park’s manager (who declined to give her name), there are only two employees at the park, including herself and the park’s maintenance man. She said she has managed the park for about four years and the maintenance man has been there for 10 years.
“I don’t know yet what I’m going to do,” the park manager said.
Most of the park is obviously run down, with an empty, dilapidated pool, piles of what could be described as junk and multiple unlivable trailers dotting the landscape. But in between, here and there, are places people have made their homes, and now will have to move. Rivera said the residents of the park will be given 90 days after closing on July 2 to vacate the premises.