At first blush, the 3-Mile residents did not seem like a population that could even contemplate buying an 11-acre, $2.4 million property. Park residents include construction workers, teachers, retirees, hotel cleaners, restaurant cooks and store clerks. Around 80% are Hispanic, and the majority of the community doesn’t speak fluent English.
Many residents didn’t seriously contemplate buying the property until Felix Jimenez, a tenant who has lived at 3-Mile since the late 1980s and raised five children while living there, sought outside help.
“The opportunity to help ourselves was there,” said Jimenez, a landscaper and property manager who has several adult children and their families living in units near his. Jimenez believed the tight-knit residents of 3-Mile could — and should — try to purchase the park. Krueger, the late owner, had told Jimenez towards the end of his life that he wished the park could stay in local hands.
Jimenez had served as a sort of de facto handyman for Krueger. He knew all the park’s pluses and minuses — the rickety pipes and potholes, and the tucked-away charms of towering cottonwoods and a gurgling creek. He figured the residents had the skills and the will to maintain the park if it were theirs.
“I knew it was going to be bumpy, but I knew then it could work,” Jimenez said.