Riverdale Mobile Home Park

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Riverdale Mobile Home Park

Riverdale Mobile Home Park was located on the Susquehanna River in Piatt Township, Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. Residents were ordered to leave the park in March 2012 by Aqua PVR LLC, a project of Aqua America, a private water utility, and Penn Virginia Resources, a natural gas pipeline company. The property was purchased in order to build a water withdrawal pump station and water line that would withdraw 3 million gallons per day for use in hydraulic fracturing by Range Resources, a Texas-based Marcellus shale drilling company.[1]

The new pump station facility takes 6,000 water truck trips off the road each day, according to Aqua America [2] , which can displace jobs for truck drivers, parts suppliers, fuel deliverers, mechanics, and service employees in Lycoming County. The Marcellus shale gas industry has not proposed any relief, solution, outplacement, or alternative to this loss of employment opportunities for Pennsylvania residents. [3]

The facility's two permits were approved by the federally chartered Susquehanna River Basin Commission, including representatives of Governors Tom Corbett (R-PA), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Martin O'Malley (D-MD), and President Barack Obama (D) on March 15, 2012 [4] despite protesters' attempts to interrupt the vote [5], and June 7, 2012 [6].

The capacity of the park was 37 units and in March 2012, 32 families lived there [7] . The initial offer from Aqua America included $2,500 for residents to move by April 1 and $1,200 for residents to move by May 1 [8] .

Immediately after the Riverdale story hit the press, Aqua America extended the deadline for $2,500 in compensation until June 1st [9] [10] .

A series of town halls [11] [12] , vigils [13] [14] [15], and picnics [16] were organized by residents with some help from volunteers from around northeast and central Pennsylvania in opposition to the project. Residents and allies even held protests at Aqua America's headquarters in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania [17], at their shareholder meeting [18], and in front of Aqua America's CEO Nick DeBenedictis' mansion in Ardmore, Pennsylvania [19].

Unfortunately, many residents felt forced to leave the park for reasons including fear of losing the $2,500 offer, uncertainty of what Aqua America would do on June 1, and termination of their leases [7].

At the time of the final vigil on May 31, only seven families remained at Riverdale. Those families invited and hosted volunteers from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states that evening to stay until morning when construction was scheduled to begin in an effort dubbed "Hands Across Riverdale" [20] [21].

They issued the following demands: "We demand that Aqua America sit down with the residents and their representation to negotiate in good faith a fair deal that...

1. Permits the remaining residents to stay living at Riverdale Mobile Home Park.

2. Provides those residents who have left with just compensation to cover their expenses.

3. Allows for the return of all residents who have left and wish to return. [22]"

On June 1, no construction vehicles came and road barricades stated, "We Will Fight For Our Homes" and "Aqua America Kills Community" [23] The following day, Aqua America sat down to negotiate with three pro-bono lawyers representing residents at the company headquarters in Bryn Mawr. A tentative agreement was reached and the residents were informed of the terms the following week. Details of that agreement are not publicly available at this time [24].

For a total of 12 days, Riverdale residents and volunteers remained, despite all the suffering already endured. Volunteers joined to cook, run security shifts to prevent looting, move sheds, salvage building materials, plant a garden, provide child care, leaflet Jersey Shore and nearby Williamsport, and to blast the story of Riverdale all over social networks [25] [26] [27] [28].

On the twelfth day, Aqua America sent a subcontracted security firm to secure the site. Activists blocked the road in defiance, demanding that Aqua America continue to negotiate with residents in good faith. State police arrived on scene and ordered the protesters to move. There were no arrests. A chain link fence across the front of the park was constructed and later, a barbed wire fence surrounding the pump station construction area was added [24] [29].

Throughout construction, round the clock security guards were stationed at the front of the park, which was lit with light towers at night. The seven families remained at Riverdale, including four young children, until agreeing to the final terms of the agreement from companies and the lawyers and making arrangements to leave. Funds raised by volunteers were used to rent a U-Haul box truck that volunteers delivered to be used by remaining residents, despite being refused entry to Riverdale by security during volunteer days to help pack [30].

Former residents who left before June 1 are scattered around the Jersey Shore area. Some moved their homes to less desirable and more expensive parks, some are renting more expensive apartments and mobile homes, some are on the low-income housing waiting list, and others are staying with family and friends [31] [32].

Since the volunteers were evicted from Riverdale by Aqua America, two potluck picnics were held by former residents and volunteers to generate ideas for next steps and for final distribution of funds raised to families in need.

An additional permit for Aqua Infrastructure LLC to expand the water pipeline distribution system served by the former-Riverdale Mobile Home Park site is up for approval for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission meeting on December 14, 2012 [33].


  1. 32-unit village no more
  2. [ http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/577974/Removing-water-trucks-from-road.html?nav=5011 Removing water trucks from road]
  3. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/marcellus-haulers-on-board-room.html Marcellus Haulers on the Board Room Chopping Block]
  4. [ http://www.srbc.net/newsroom/NewsRelease.aspx?NewsReleaseID=81 ]
  5. [ http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/03/srbc_approves_water_withdrawal.html ]
  6. [ http://www.srbc.net/newsroom/NewsRelease.aspx?NewsReleaseID=88 ]
  7. 7.0 7.1 [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFXKxPx6NR0 ]
  8. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21-s2cNF14I&feature=related ]
  9. [ http://pahomepage.com/sportsfulltext?nxd_id=234682 ]
  10. [ http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/579233/RIVERDALE-HOPE-.html?nav=5011 ]
  11. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9wgGqJk1s ]
  12. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC7MxFDyhIU&feature=relmfu ]
  13. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qp-ciTi_h0 ]
  14. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/05/hands-across-riverdale-531-61.html ]
  15. [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/79964670@N05/7332934712/in/photostream ]
  16. [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/79964670@N05/7397431984/in/photostream ]
  17. [ http://brynmawr.patch.com/articles/video-activists-protest-fracking-at-aqua-headquarters ]
  18. [ http://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/leave-the-river-in-riverdale-residents-and-allies-confront-aqua-america/ ]
  19. [ http://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/leave-the-river-in-riverdale-residents-and-allies-confront-aqua-america/ .]
  20. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrdJhNxJWro ]
  21. [ www.saveriverdale.com ]
  22. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/p/we-demand-that-aqua-america-sits-down.html ]
  23. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/images-from-day-1-damp-clothes.html ]
  24. 24.0 24.1 [ http://wnep.com/2012/06/13/pipeline-construction-starts-at-riverdale-mobile-home-park/ ]
  25. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MhrUceqSR0 ]
  26. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/fix-up-riverdale-beyond-blockades.html ]
  27. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/day-8-barricades-of-riverdale-and.html ]
  28. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/day-5-some-reasons-to-celebrate.html ]
  29. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/riverdale-after-eviction_13.html ]
  30. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/07/volunteer-days-at-riverdale-75-78.html ]
  31. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/p/about.html http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/07/5000-1997-suburu-legacy-gt-car-for-sale.html ]
  32. [ http://www.saveriverdale.com/2012/06/former-resident-profile-steve-smith.html ]
  33. http://www.srbc.net/wrp/Details.aspx?ID=8317&num=2012-047