No matter what you call them -- “colorful,” “blighted,” “crack houses” or “dangerous” -- the row of houses at 49 Mile Parks Highway, colloquially known as "Bunny Boot Flats" or "Felony Flats," are clearing out.
The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reports that the state purchased the land the tiny, ramshackle cabins are located on in order to make way for a Parks Highway expansion. While the cabins are definitely going to be moved, where and when are a little confusing. Even though the state bought the land and any permanent structures on the property, none of the cabins have foundations and are therefore considered personal property of the owner.
That owner is Mike Stephan, who told the Frontiersman he might sell the cabins. He's not sure at this point.
“It’s been more trouble than it’s worth,” Stephan told the Frontiersman Thursday. “I think I’d rather sell them. It’s been more of a headache. It’s like running a trailer park or a camper park.”
Stephen told the newspaper that he will either deliver or pay to move the cabins, using state assistance.
Those cabins, formally known as "the Mile 49 Cabins," have been a sore spot in the community for years. The residences, some of the cheapest in the valley, have been a magnet for Alaska State Trooper responses (one of which recently ended up on the National Geographic channel's reality show, “Alaska State Troopers.”) The cabins have been the source of multiple domestic violence calls, warrant arrests and at least one murder, which went to trial earlier this year. Because of their low cost and easy access to a nearby gas station, the residences often attract the recently paroled.
One neighbor is concerned the cabins will be moved into his neighborhood. Darwin Fischer told the Frontiersman he's seen land being cleared at Stephan's property in Big Lake, about three miles north of the current cabin site. He's concerned Stephan will move the cabins into the currently quiet neighborhood. He's worried if the cabins go in, the residents, now far from the nearby gas station, will become a nuisance to current residents.
Stephan said he has no plans to move the cabins to the Big Lake site, but also didn't rule out the possibility.