About 200 residents of Woodley-Nightingale Trailer Home Park, many of them raising their voices and shaking their fists in anger, heard the details last night of a Fairfax County plan that could result in the eviction of some or all of the occupants of the ramshackle park.
The county, which owns Woodley-Nightingale, has promised for five years to refurbish the site off Rte. 1 south of Alexandria, which is home to about 260 families.
But Fairfax officials said two weeks ago that the county government, despite its $1.4 billion annual budget and an acknowledged shortage of low-cost housing, cannot afford the project and may have to sell some or all of the 45-acre trailer park.
"I don't believe any of it," said Pat Via, a 58-year-old woman who has lived in the park since 1980. "They talk about the need for affordable housing in this county, and here they have 200-some mobile homes and they want to get rid of them. It makes no sense to me."
Others who attended a meeting of Woodley-Nightingale residents at Bryant Intermediate School last night jeered county officials as they offered reasons for the proposed sale.
"Liars! Liars!" one man bellowed repeatedly.
Said Peggy Bonnett, a 58-year-old widow who lives at the park: "They don't want a mobile home park in Fairfax County because we don't produce enough revenue for the wealthy people in the county . . . . We're going to fight them to the bitter end."
Woodley-Nightingale has long been cited by county officials for unsafe conditions. A decade ago, about 500 families lived at the site. The number was gradually reduced after 1981, when the county purchased the property for about $7 million.
The county's original plan was to refurbish the park and provide space for 218 trailer homes. But county officials say that they have pumped several million dollars into the site since they bought it, and that it would cost an additional $5.5 million to renovate it. In particular, they say marine clay in the soil of the site has complicated redevelopment plans.
Fairfax officials say they would use the income from a sale of some or all of the park to build badly needed low-cost housing. They maintain they can make more efficient use of funds at a site other than the trailer park.
The Fairfax County Board is scheduled to make a final decision on the proposal in October.