To The Daily Sun,
Dear Mark and Ruth Mooney:
I want to thank you for changing your mind about selling Briarcrest Estates to an out-of-state entity and selling to the Lakemont Cooperative, a resident-lead initiative. You have been truly amazing owners of Briarcrest Estates for many years and amazing teachers on how to run a manufactured home park. Everywhere I go I get compliments about the park when I say I live here, one of the best parks in New Hampshire! But now, your "students" (residents of Briarcrest) want to show you how much we have learned from you and are planning for the big event. We are doing our "due diligence" in preparation for being able to run Briarcrest in much the same fashion as you have for the last 25+ years.
To the residents of Briarcrest Estates who are not yet on board with the idea of a cooperative yet: Mr. Mooney, by signing the Purchase and Sales Agreement with the Lakemont Cooperative, has agreed to sell Briarcrest Estates to Lakemont Cooperative and all is moving along quickly and diligently to make the sale happen, hopefully in April of this year. We of the cooperative, owe a huge debt to ROC-NH (Resident Owned Communities — New Hampshire) and its staff, especially Angela Romeo, cooperative conversion specialist at ROC-NH, for heading us in the right direction every step of the way, as they will even after the transfer of ownership.
We (members of the Lakemont Cooperative) chose to do this because we believe in being in control of our own destiny as a manufactured home park. The Cooperative will control and stabilize the lot rents, with the "profits" going back into the park — Lakemont Cooperative is a legally registered non-profit corporation in the State of New Hampshire. Also, when a cooperative owns a park, residents never again have to worry about the park being sold or closed. Cooperative members have control over what repairs and improvements are made to the park, how they are made, when they are made and how they are paid for — with money set aside every month from the lot rents into a capital reserve fund and a "rainy day" fund.
And, last but not least, when a cooperative owns a park, fair and fixed-rate home purchase, equity and repair loans are available through the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund's Welcome Home Loans. Imagine refinancing your home or getting those big repairs done at a reasonable percentage rate! Up till now, traditional banks would not even talk to you because you had a manufactured home. In addition, fixed-rate conventional financing is available for homes in Fannie Mae approved cooperatives, which we plan to be (it takes a couple of years and many rules to abide by). Grants are also available for upgrades that make a home EnergyStar certified. Grants will be awarded to income-qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. I know I could use one of those grants to get my roof re-shingled!
Come join us for this great adventure on Saturday, January 25, 10 a.m., at the Laconia Public Library for a Lakemont Cooperative Board Meeting — the last meeting at an outside-the-park location. All future meetings, starting February 1st, will be held at our own Briarcrest Community Center and we will be meeting every Saturday morning until the closing. This Saturday's meeting is very important because we are interviewing the two management companies selected by the board to operate the park after the purchase. Informational sheets will be passed out so you can compare them to each other while you listen to the board perform the interviews and ask any questions you may also have for them. Remember, this a board meeting and general questions will be handled at the end of the meeting.
Finally, we are wrapping up a mass mailing of two surveys to all residents. Everyone will receive two, one-page surveys to fill out, and a separate return envelope for each. Please return the surveys, one each per envelope. Do not put them in one envelope even though they both have the same address. This will ensure that each survey is correctly processed. Thanks for taking the time to complete the forms. The survey asking some personal questions is a "double-blind" survey meaning neither side (ROC-NH or LC) will know which survey belongs to who. Both surveys are very important, especially since they will be used for our Fannie Mae status.
Did you know? ...... There is a $25 membership joining fee for the cooperative and a $500 per household deposit fee (actually $475 after subtracting the $25) which can be paid in installments as arranged with the Board of Directors? There is an open membership policy — homeowners can join the cooperative at any time during the purchase process? Lakemont Cooperative and ROC-NH have developed a purchase and operating budget that shows rents can stay within the limits of your lease? All leases now in effect will be continued? Residents will buy the park as a corporation (the Lakemont Cooperative) with no personal liability when the co-op borrows the funds needed to purchase the park? There are two local banks vying for our business? We will be one of over 100 resident-owned parks in New Hampshire? And there are so many more good reasons to join with us, including keeping the name Briarcrest?
So, I invite you, again, to this Saturday's meeting and all subsequent Cooperative meetings and use your energy to work with us to make Briarcrest the best manufactured home park in, not just New Hampshire, but the United States! Can you manage two hours per week to help us?
P.S.: We have permission from Mr. Mooney to place Co-op notices in the community center so please don't keep throwing them away — it's a childish waste of time and energy, energy that can be put to better use making the "new" Briarcrest" as good as, if not better, than the "old" Briarcrest.