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Come to the Briarcrest co-op meetings: ask questions, voice concerns

To The Daily Sun,

I'd like to respond to the letter in Tuesday's Sun from Mr. and Mrs. Baird at Briarcrest.

They, along with many of the residents here, are uncertain about the future. The only thing that is sure is that change is coming to Briarcrest. The Mooneys will be leaving soon, and our community will be owned by a corporation.

Our two options: Hometown America, a national corporation, which is undoubtedly capable of managing and running our community in a professional manner, but whose allegiance lies not to the residents of Briarcrest, but to what is best for its shareholders; or Lakemont Co-operative, the local non-profit corporation, composed of and run by the members of the community itself, whose allegiance will lie with the residents of Briarcrest alone.

It's no secret I've been on the fence and see both sides of the Co-op vs. Hometown issue at Briarcrest. I have many of the same concerns as the Bairds. However, after Mr. Mooney let us know he had signed the Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Co-op and would be working with them, I made the decision to put the confrontations and adversarial positions that seemed to characterize this issue where they belonged: in the past. With some trepidation, I began attending all the Co-op meetings that are held weekly on Saturday mornings (now here at the Community Center at 10:30). I asked questions and voiced my concerns. I would ask the Bairds and every other resident with the same questions and concerns to do the same.

I have been encouraged by the tenor of these meetings and the amount of information coming out of them. Some of my concerns about the financial and physical management of Briarcrest have been lessened. While these concerns may never disappear, I think that's what will keep us from becoming complacent and letting issues slide. All my misgivings aren't gone, but I've come to the decision that the only way to be sure those concerns and questions have any chance of being addressed is to participate in the process.

At last Saturday's meeting, the ROC representative was asked if any of the many cooperatives in New Hampshire have failed. He said no, none has – but that some have struggled to work, and many of those are the co-ops that have become mired in the politics of the situation. We don't have to go down that path.

Because of the way the NH Manufactured Housing RSAs are written, it looks like the new owner of Briarcrest will be the Co-op, whether the majority of residents wanted it or not (I view it as affirmative action for manufactured housing co-operatives). The Co-op has some very capable, knowledgeable people on the Board providing their expertise in their fields, and it is receiving guidance in the process from NH ROC. So it's not navigating these waters alone. I'm sure there are many more residents with talents that will benefit the community.

Attendance is increasing with every meeting and membership is increasing as well, two very encouraging signs, since the best hope for success lies in the participation of our residents. Please come to the meetings, join the co-op, and take advantage of the defining difference between Hometown America and Lakemont Co-op.

Hometown won't care what you think, what you want, or what you feel our community needs, but because we – the residents of the community itself – are the co-op, the Co-operative will.

Please come to the meetings. Everyone is welcome. I'm hoping you'll be as encouraged as I am.

Orry Gibbs

Laconia

 
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