"Felony Flats" Cabins Being Relocated
Department of Transportation clearing space for highway expansion
MAT-SU VALLEY - A neighborhood with a reputation for trouble along the Parks Highway has to move to accomodate a state highway project. This row of cabins rents for cheap and a lot of the residents are transient. They've mostly moved out now, but they few remaining are getting ready to go.
Lou Sackett used to live here. Now he has a hobby business to supplement his social security. "This is where I sell all my stuff, I mean junk," he said. All around him are stacks of stuff, stuff that's already looks like its lived a full life: fishing poles, VHS videos, creaking exercise machines, a rusted hammer, knick-knacks, among much more.
His latest treasure is a mailbox that looks like a fish, "I'll make you a deal. Five dollars, you can have it!"
Sackett said he can get by without the money, but he'll miss selling his stuff here. He says he knows the troopers refer to this row of cabins and trailers as "Felony Flats," -- "and they have reasons too. We've had quite a few instances here."
In the last few years, this neighborhood has seen at least one murder and a stabbing.
But Sackett doesn't want to focus on the negative. "Them are war stories... you don't want to hear that."
Property manager Twana Cooper says she'll miss some things. "I like it here," she said. "Business wise, it's nice. I like talking to people." She says she feels safe living and working here.
But like it or not, Cooper, Sackett and everyone else here has to move on. The Alaska State Department of Transportation is paying to locate the five or six remaining residents. Sackett said some around here don't like that, "Hey, they been knowing that for the last few years! They're gonna widen the road and I don't wanna become a speck in the road, so hey, I'm leaving"
Sackett likes selling his stuff, his vehicles, camp trailers, and broken machinery, but he knows it's time to move on.
"Progress is what the whole thing's about."