Anyone put in a BigToy? There are liability concerns, attractive nuisance and all that, but it would definitely add to a family-friendly park attitude.

I’m evaluating a park that had a good half acre set aside by a previous owner as a “green area”, for a playground. There are no hookups, and its a central location within the park - if I go this way, I’m thinking about playground, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, and BBQs.

Perhaps it could be developed for another 8 spots instead, but I think that the community area would be a better benefit by increasing desireability and keeping vacancies lower.

Support it, or change my mind.

PS, BTW: this is definitely NOT the first thing I’ll be doing, but it is a short term tactic in the overall strategy of increasing desireability of the park to potential residents. This park reminds me a lot of what I saw of Fred Balke’s park at the MOM a couple years ago . . . same general vacancy.

Post Edited (04-14-11 22:04)

It is a shame but a reality that playgrounds will likely increase your risk without increasing your income. Not likely a good business decision.

The BBQ and horseshoe pits sound to me like a hang out for late night party folks who tend to upset quiet (good tenants) and attract more of the kind you have to pick up trash from the day after. Not sure this is really appealing to the type of tenants you may be seeking. Most tenants I find just want a nice, quiet place to live. They leave apartments to get away from congestion, get away from people living on top of them making noise etc.

Getting rid of eight potential income sources is not necessarily the best solution to vacany issues. I suspect vacancy is a management isssue, not a playground issue.

Killing 8 income sources that would increase the value of the property greatly seems like a poor excuse to make something look pretty. I would prefer to find sound business reasoning to uncover and solve the vacancy issue and then look to develop those lots down the road once the vacancies are filled. There may always be some level of turnover. Turnover to me is not truly vacancy. When you reach turnover, then development may be a great idea to consider.

Increase the income, no real increase in risk. Sounds better to me.



I have a field about the same size at my community. Some of the kids play soccer and football or ride their bikes. I am planning to put in blueberry bushes and perhaps fruit trees in part of it for the residents to enjoy. I don’t need irrigation in Ohio and I am choosing plants that do well there. By choosing the right cultivars, I can make sure something is producing fruit spring through fall. I plan to use this as a selling point for potential residents.

BTW: If you go this route and do not posess a green thumb, get qualified advice in choosing plants. The right plants in the right place means very little extra maintenance work.


we have a small playground in the middle of our park surrounded by open space. my insurance agent has not made this an issue. yes, i could put more lots into this existing space and make more money. however there are lots of kids who spend lots of time in that space. and no that are not causing problems. in the summer we even occasionally run a sprinkler so the kids can cool off. its not all about money for me. the park is a nice place for families and pays me well also. (95% occupied) it shouldnt be your first priority nor your last.


You are dealing with a different animal. If your park is 95% occupied then you are operating it efficiently. Steve gave me the impression the park he was considering is not operating that well.

There is no right or wrong answer. If it works and you are ok with it then it is the right choice for you.

If the park is run best with the playground then great. It may not be all about the money for you but let’s admit that such a statement is an emotional one, not a business one. It would be a business argument if (and it sounds as if it may be true for you) the playground is a reason for a high occupancy/low vacany park.

We have all seen new investors who buy a house (or trailer) and fix it up like they would want it to be if they lived in it. They then find out that they have put waaaaaaay too much money into the home and have made a poor investment. They are allowing emotions to affect business decisions.

The same can be true if we worry about polishing a park first before we have solved the vacancy/income problem.

Again, no right or wrong, just whatever each investor is comfortable with.


is fenced, gated, and locked, State Insurance carrier refuses to insure property if this isn’t done.

Rick Lee and i were discussing this exact thing yesterday. When we were younger every schoolyard was open and unfenced 24/7 We were in a park that is closing (224 spaces i think) and it is a beauty.

The reality is, in florida, as park owners (I lovebeing able to say that LOL), almost any decision we make revolves around cost and insurance. Citizens (Fl State Insurance) inspects our park every 90 days. Decks, steps, broken windows, lighting, trash pickup,signage all contribute to cost of insurance. Pools (even blowup types), and trampolines are both expressly prohibited.

Steve, what would be the insurance consequence? Nice finishing touch, but I am kinda a density (not dense) person. 8 spaces is huge. Just my .02.

See ya manana!



I like your attitude and I suspect that it has a lot to do with your community having a high occupancy rate. It seems so obvious to me that judicious use of amenities will make for a nicer place to live and attract better residents. Better residents make fewer problems and refer their friends.

At so many places I have looked at, the owners can’t seem to understand why people aren’t pouding down their doors to live on a barren piece of dirt. Oh, and the can’t imaging why residents shouldn’t pay outrageous space rent for such a privilege.

I had thought of putting in a couple of picnic tables and bbq stands in my field but am now going with productive plants and bulbs. I’ll be putting in about $300-400 worth of bulbs in the next couple of weeks and this should give me about 4 months of flowers starting in February. Hmmmm, this is the same time people are getting their tax refunds and I will be, hopefully, selling some homes.


One of my mobile home friends made the observation that all of us have tried to make their park nicer looking, and usually when we first get there. We have had mixed results.

We have a basketball court in the area that is used for play. Concrete was poured many years ago and old basketball rims were hanging there. Jim decided last fall to invest in new rims and backboards for the kids. Very early this spring one of them put a 2 x 4 through one of the backboards. Both were then removed and we made it known they would not go back for a long time.

We have recently put a home right next to the field, and the responsible tenants who live there have told us they will oversee this area. They have sent children home who cannot or will not play well with others. We intend to now put the baskets back for tenant use.

We have also planted trees and shrubs. Many of the trees are probably dead due to the severe drought Alabama has been and is under. The ones that are still alive are the ones we could reach with our water hose. The crape myrtles that we planted are all still living, although some have been broken off a few times.

We want to plant more crape myrtles this month, and perhaps add some trees in November. We keep trying! The flowerbed at our entrance, which I planted about 3 weeks ago with mums got run over earlier this week. That is an ongoing problem - last year it was intentionally done. The woman that ran through it this time did it because she took the corner too fast…she is replacing my plants for me!