HOLLY SPRINGS — When Joan and Soloane Brown bought a double-wide mobile home and set it up in the Brayton Park community in 1999, they planned to stay forever.
Soloane Brown, 54, built a screened-in back porch and a shed in the backyard. He planted trees. The couple laid new floors in the house.
But now the Browns, along with about 30 other families who live in Brayton Park, are being forced to leave by the end of October. They must find somewhere else to put their mobile homes, or risk losing them. “We just don’t think it’s fair,” Soloane Brown said. “There’s no way possible.”
The park owner, John Brown, said he plans to turn the area near Avent Ferry Road into a subdivision of single-family homes. When he developed the park in 1998, John Brown said, banks were more willing to finance mobile homes.
The park’s 65 lots filled quickly early on. But when the recession hit, many Brayton Park residents likely couldn’t afford their mortgage payments and walked away from their homes, John Brown said.
Now the park is only about half full, and John Brown said it’s tough for families to get financing for mobile homes on rented lots. “It’s unfortunate, but I have to look out for my wife and I and my family,” he said.
This once-rural stretch on the edge of Holly Springs has changed over the years. Sprawling subdivisions have cropped up on either side of Brayton Park, a short drive from bustling shopping plazas and busy highways.
Soloane Brown knew his neighborhood wasn’t what it once was. But he said John Brown’s family assured him over the years that he didn’t need to worry about the future of his lot. “This is prime real estate,” Soloane Brown said. “We’re right in the middle of all these new homes.”
But it’s little consolation. Soloane Brown said he was laid off from his construction job last year, and his wife is retired. They can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars to move the home and set it up in a new location.
They still owe more than $53,000 on the home’s mortgage, Soloane Brown said.
Dee Cooper, 64, said moving her home isn’t an option for her and her husband either. They live on a fixed income, and her husband, Roy, is on disability. “We’ll probably be out on our butts, sitting underneath the bridge collecting money,” Cooper said.
John Brown suspects many families will leave their homes come November, though he said he hopes residents will find new lots.