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Bowling Green Riverfront Residents Are in Danger of Being Forcefully Evicted

The city of Bowling Green’s Board of Commissioners are set to meet this Tuesday to decide the fate of the residents of the Kentucky Gardens Mobile Home Park.

As part of local developers Eddie and Joy Hanks’ plan to “revitalize” the Bowling Green riverfront, Digs on the River - a massive 23 acre rezoning project - claims to not only bring businesses, eateries, and an outdoor lifestyle to the area, but will also displace an entire community of mobile home residents.

As is common in mobile home parks, a number of the residents of Kentucky Gardens own their trailers, but rent the land their trailers sit on. As of 2020, the Kentucky Gardens landlords are the Hanks family. And because the state of Kentucky has no legal protections in place for mobile home owners who rent land, that means the imminent eviction of Kentucky Gardens residents comes with no relocation assistance, and no promise that the homes they own will even continue to be available to them in the future, as the cost of relocating a mobile home often exceeds both the value of the home and the financial capabilities of the owners.

The future of these tenants’ living arrangements now rests in the hands of the Bowling Green Board of Commissioners. According to the agenda shared on their website for this Tuesday’s meeting, the Commission will be discussing the rezoning of the River Street area where Kentucky Gardens is located.

However, due to some rather unorthodox Commission regulations, the public comment period held at the end of the meeting is not, in fact, available for public comment on anything contained within that day’s agenda, but is reserved instead for public comment on…unrelated matters?

KEJC Housing Outreach and Intake Coordinator Laura Harper Knight, who focuses her work on eviction prevention outreach and resource connection in the Western Kentucky area, will be on hand to discuss the lack of eviction prevention and relocation resources in Kentucky, and attempt to impress upon the Commission the dire situation that evictees find themselves in when relocation assistance is unavailable to them.

Kentucky Gardens residents need the Bowling Green Board of Commissioners to see how much support they have from the local community. KEJC is inviting all Bowling Green residents to join us in the audience at the meeting taking place at City Hall on Tuesday, July 18th at 4:30 pm. As we continue to work with and for the tenants of Kentucky Gardens Mobile Home Park, be on the lookout for more updates, information, and ways to get involved.


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