Trailer Park Residents May Lose Homes if Owner Doesn't Fix Problems

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The owner of a Kronenwetter mobile home park has 60 days to address a long list of tenant complaints and health hazards or lose his license.

Six trailers in the Bouche Kronenwetter Park, located on Old Hwy 51 have already been condemned, but other trailers are on the brink of being uninhabitable too.

Kevin Laufenberg lives in trailer 17 with his girlfriend and two young sons. His trailer has many unsolved problems including black mold in the bathroom.

"It has big holes in the floor, it's really drafty, the storm windows need to be replaced, the heater needs to be fixed," he said.

His family has been shuffled between trailers, but every one has had similar hazards. Since nothing has been fixed, they haven't paid rent since September.

After mounting complaints from various tenants, the Village of Kronenwetter and Marathon County Health Department got involved.

Kronenwetter Zoning Administrator Randy Fifrick says what they found is heartbreaking.

"Our job is to protect the public health and safety of residents in the village part of that comes under when we come upon situations like this we have to respond," Fifrick said.

If Randy Bouche, who owns the park, doesn't comply with the village's list of conditions he'll lose his license and the tenants will be evicted.

But not all of the residents who live in the park are renters, some own their trailers and they say they don't have a problem with the landlord.

Jim and Elaine Brown own an updated mobile home that they've had in the park for 13 years. They just put on a new roof and planned to live there for the remainder of their lives. They rent a lot from Bouche.

"It sounds like we're out," Jim Brown said.

They don't want to leave, but it will cost them $3,500 to move their trailer elsewhere. They're hoping someone will help the tenants by taking over the park.

"We have to wait and see what's going to happen," Elaine Brown said. "It's up in the air and it's driving us crazy."

Fifrick says it's an unfortunate situation not only for those living in squalid conditions, but for the trailer owners who've kept up their property.

"There's a number of residents that maintain their homes in good condition but when we see these other violations out there and the ineptitude of the current owner and his unresponsiveness in making any improvements on basic maintenance our hands are pretty well tied," Fifrick said.

Nobody NewsChannel 7 spoke with thought Randy Bouche would get around to fixing the problems, and he couldn't be reached for comment.

Even the village hasn't had contact with the property owner.

The village will host a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Kronenwetter Municipal Center. UW-Extension will provide information for park tenants.

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