HITCHCOCK COUNTY, Neb. (KSNW) — A battle is brewing at Swanson Reservoir in Trenton, Nebraska, with many Kansas trailer owners. Members of the lake community say they are being forced out by a new lease contract from the Nebraska-Kansas Bureau of Reclamation.
According to the trailer property manager, 68 of the 110 trailers are owned by Kansans.
“My grandparents moved a trailer up there in 1973. I’ve grown up there. I had my first and second birthday party there. It’s like our little hometown across the state line,” said Olivia Chvatal, a Kansas trailer owner who’s been a member of the community since she was young.
The community says they have formed tight bonds over the years and don’t want to leave their home away from home.
“It feels like we’re being bullied and pushed out of the way,” added Chvatal.
Dawna Vap, the owner of Good Life Marina, manages the property and collects rent from the trailer owners. She is now faced with the decision of signing a new lease contract that states all trailers must evict by November 2024. She says they have until June 16 to find a solution.
“If the concessionaries don’t sign the contract, then they’ve threatened us with we’re going to be trespassing,” Karla Heble, Atwood resident and trailer owner, explained.
The Bureau of Reclamation released a statement explaining they plan to build a splash pad, RV spaces, cabin sites, and car campsites in the area where the concession and trailers currently reside.
Kansas trailer owner RayeAnn Wright says the RV spaces are unnecessary as the current ones are never full. The community says there is other space at the lake where the project can be done without tearing apart the long-standing community.
Members say they pay about $30,000 to the county in property taxes, and eliminating their community will be a large blow to the city’s revenue. Additionally, the decision will impact many local businesses that rely on the residents for regular sales.
“It’s an entire community that possibly wouldn’t exist any longer. It’d be like wiping out a small town,” Dwana Flaig, owner of Buzz Express Liquor Store, said. She says nearly half of her sales come from the trailer residents.
The community is urging support from Kansas and Nebraska government officials to intervene before the property manager has to make a decision.