I hope everyone is looking forward to getting together tomorrow!
Here’s the plan so far:
The activities planned are as follows:
Trail cleanup –
- Trash pickup
- Small branch removal
- Landscaping review
- Picnic table location review
- Exercise equipment review
Cedar Grove Way
- Trash pickup
- Flower arrangement / planting
- Neighborhood Watch sign placement
- Neighborhood Watch sign placement
- Construction trash pickup
Please let me know if you plan to attend – I want to have enough coffee and doughnuts for everyone. I have PLENTY of gloves and bags – and a bunch of those pickup things for reaching into the bushes…
And REMEMBER – if you can just make it out for a little while we’d love to see you! The activities are planned from 8:30 am to noon, but if you only have 30 minutes or an hour, come on out to the tot lot and talk to everyone while we’re getting organized! The work will be VERY light – all the heavy work has been done… the trees have been cut up and moved, the underbrush has been cut down, and all that we need to do is make sure it’s a pretty walk! This will be a GREAT opportunity to meet your neighbors and share in making our community a beautiful place to live!
Again – PLEASE let me know if you are coming so I can plan for the coffee and doughnuts! See you tomorrow! You can enter a comment here, or reply on Facebook, or email me directly – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The neighborhood watch captains have been provided with door hangers for every house in the neighborhood advertising the upcoming community events – if you live on one of the roads that I was responsible for you received yours today. (You may also have received them already if you live on other streets – I haven’t communicated with them yet.)
I have to say, I really love this neighborhood! I had a great time today talking with those of you who were at home and able to come to the door when I rang the bell. And thanks by the way for answering – you never know what to expect when you answer the door, and I’m not the most polished looking guy with my dirty Pierces Barbecue hat and my flannel shirt and sweat jacket. (At least I didn’t wear my crazy guy sunglasses – maybe that’s part of the reason so many people went ahead and took a chance and opened the door…)
Anyway, I’m always energized after talking to my neighbors. In a world where texting, social media – Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Blogs, teleconferences, blah blah blah – seem to be taking control of every spare minute of everyone’s time, the good ole’ fashioned pastime of talking seems to be on the wane. I delivered about 50 door hangers, and I had the pleasure of talking to at least half of the residents I delivered to. I met a bunch of new people, saw some beautiful yards, listened to a few concerns, got some great feedback, found a volunteer for the social committee (WOO HOO!) and met a few of the people that read my blog. (That’s always fun!)
In my experience, when neighbors know each others names, and talk with one another, the neighborhood is a much warmer, happier place. And I personally think that’s what being at home is all about – warmth and happiness. You can laugh if you want, but I still watch the old Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies shows – the ones they show on MeTV – the shows I grew up watching. And the lessons I learned were that you don’t have to do the same things, or like the same things, or be in everyone’s business to have a good neighborhood – you have to feel comfortable and safe. I hope that’s how everyone feels here – I know I do.
So I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing everyone around the neighborhood! We have the planned events coming up – if you have time to participate, I’m sure it will be fun. If nothing else, come out and talk to the neighbors on those days! Walk the trail with us on the 25th – it’s a great hike! Let’s get all the pink lemonade vodka bottles out of the bushes along the main road – and the construction trash out of the bushes in the Hennington streets … let’s plant a few early flowers at the entrance … let’s plan the best sites for new picnic tables and flower beds along the trail. Plan on coming to the picnic in April – it should be awesome weather this time – we’ve planned it far enough in advance so that it won’t be in the middle of the summer this time. And there are more ideas that we have for neighborhood fun all to make this the best, warmest, friendliest, safest neighborhood that it can be.
Neighborhood Trail Cleanup Date –
Saturday March 25th appears to be a safe target for our walking trail cleanup day:
The temperature typically varies from 48°F to 66°F and is rarely below 43°F or above 72°F.
There is either very little precipitation on March 25, or the weather station does not reliably report the conditions.
Either snow is exceptionally unlikely to fall on March 25 or this station does not reliably report precipitation types.
As a backup date, April 1st also looks like a good bet, maybe even a little on the too-warm side:
The month of April is characterized by rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs ranging from 65°F to 74°F over the course of the month, exceeding 79°F or dropping below 59°F only one day in ten.
The average probability that some form of precipitation will be observed in a given day is 1%, with little variation over the course of the month.
Either snow is exceptionally unlikely to fall in April or this station does not reliably report precipitation types.
Trail debris cleanup and removal
NOTE – This activity is under consideration. There is a bid from the grounds contractor to clear this area, and that may still be an option. This activity represents a lot of physical labor, so we may not have the capacity to do this work.
- The goal will be to clear a path at least 6′ wide so that the grounds contractor can get the plow and mowing equipment through the whole trail, and keep the overgrowth down all summer. There are about 12 -14 spots where fallen trees or limbs are blocking the path. If we can get those cut on either side of the trail then we can move them aside.
- There are also a few places where there is trash that has blown onto the trail.
Removal of trash from shrubs along Cedar Grove Way
- There are bottles, bags, cups, etc. that have blown into the bushes along the main Cedar Grove road.
Removal of trash from the end of Hennington Court
- The wind from the last few weeks has blown a lot of trash into the common area at the end of the cul-de-sac in the Hennington section.
Flower Bed maintenance at Entrance
- If anyone has a passion for gardening, it would be great to get some flowers planted at the main entrance to the neighborhood.
Placement of Neighborhood Watch signs
- We have the signs from the County – we just need to install them. That will be one of the projects that day if we haven’t done it prior to then.
We’ll meet at the Tot Lot at 8:30 am Saturday morning. I expect we have 4 to 6 hours worth of work to do, depending on how many people are available to help, but if you can only commit to an hour or 2, that’s great too!
What do you think?
For this to work, we’ll need a bunch of people to help. We don’t have to clean up the trail like this – we can pay the grounds contractor to do it. If there aren’t enough people that are able to help, we may still have to do that. But at a minimum, it would be great to get a bunch of people together to do the flower bed at the entrance and clean up the trash along the Cedar Grove planting strips. Please let me know if you think you can help either of these days, and please let me know if you think it would be better to just get the grounds contractor to do it. Either way is fine – but I need to hear what you think. You can enter comments on this post, or Facebook, or you can email me at email@example.com. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
One of the areas of community interest has been the walking trail around the neighborhood. A number of residents have stated that this feature of the neighborhood contributed to their decision to buy their homes here. While some of the exercise equipment is starting to show signs of exposure to the elements, for the most part the equipment is still usable.
If you have a chance to walk the trail, you’ll see that there are several places where trees are blocking the path – not so much that you can’t get around them, but enough to stop the mowing in those areas. I guess you could look at those as part of the fun of walking the trail, but for the most part those areas are just a blotch on the aesthetics of the trail.
During one of the Board meetings we discussed having the trail cleared so that it could be used around the neighborhood as designed. The point was made that there may be environmental impact that we had to be sure of prior to disturbing the area (even though the trail was cleared by the developer and again a few years ago by the County).
After a couple of rounds of discussions with the County, which included a bunch of pictures of the areas of concern, I just got word back from them that we are ok to clear the blocked areas along the trail. This is GREAT news to all of us who enjoy that very scenic walk! This means that once we get those areas cleared up, the grounds contractor will be able to plant new grass seed this spring, and mow the whole trail, end to end.
This represents an opportunity for the neighborhood. We have a VERY beautiful wooded area along the border of our neighborhood, with a running stream, that we can all enjoy year round. But that kind of opportunity also comes with some responsibility. It’s true that we have a grounds contractor that is responsible for maintaining the grass, however, anything beyond that (mowing the grass) would be an additional cost. Any additional cost would need to come from our operating budget, which eventually translates to potential increases to our annual dues. I for one, prefer to avoid that eventuality if we can.
So here’s the ask: I’d like to schedule a neighborhood cleanup date for some time in late March or early April. On that date, as many as are willing would participate in cleaning up the debris from the trail, including the fallen limbs, any trash that has blown into the bushes, etc.
We could also plan to plant shade loving flowers in key areas, and mulch those as appropriate. There are some really pretty views of the stream in a couple of areas – so we may even want to add another picnic table or 2. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear those as well. The goal here is to create our own park that all of us can enjoy.
Please think about it – talk to your families about the idea – let me know your thoughts and any time recommendations. I’ll get with Mike (the web master) and see if we can get a survey/poll in the works to measure interest in participation. I’m hoping to hear from you!
Everything that I write in these posts is my opinion. That’s the reason for the “2 cents” at the top of the page. This post is not a Board sanctioned or sponsored commentary. I am currently a member of the Cedar Grove HOA Board of Directors. If I post information to this site that is related to issues that are within the scope of Board activities, then the purpose of that information is to provide the community with my opinion on an issue that may or may not at some point impact someone. My posts do not necessarily represent the opinion of any other Board member.
The homeowners association is the cornerstone of a planned residential community. It brings continuity and order to the community, it preserves the architectural integrity and it maintains the common elements. Properly run, the association promotes the concept of “community” and protects the neighborhood’s property values. In many cases, it collectively makes available recreational and other facilities that might not otherwise be affordable or available to homeowners and residents on an individual basis.
The HOA Board of Directors is responsible for the administration of the affairs of the Association. That entails quite a few things, but in essence, the Board is tasked with making sure the neighborhood remains healthy – maintaining the common areas, making sure there are sufficient funds to keep the common areas in good condition, making sure that all required paperwork is filed and available, ensuring that no individual property spoils the overall look of the neighborhood – things like that. (Article III of the Association By-laws outlines the responsibilities of the Board of Directors. (Cedar Grove HOA By-laws) )
Disagreements among Board members are not uncommon. When a group of people get together with different ideas of how things should be done, there will normally be a certain amount of debate, which can and should be a very good thing. Debate, discussion, review, disagreement – all these things make for a more rounded decision.
While disagreement can be a good thing, it can very easily escalate into a very bad thing. The thing with disagreements is that they must be subject to a mutually agreed upon mediation method. The Cedar Grove Association documents require that meetings be conducted in accordance with the most current version of “Robert’s Rules of Order,” which is the common reference for any organizational meeting. Unfortunately, if any members of the Board refuse to, or for whatever reason are unable to follow those rules, and fail to maintain a level of decorum, the Business of the Association may not be able to be conducted.
And that last statement is the reason for this commentary. As some of you know, for the last few meetings of the Board of Directors, there has been a disturbing trend of open hostility between various Board members. This hostility is most often the result of disagreements regarding minor issues that are of no consequence to the conduct of Community Business, and often appear to be related to matters of personal preference.
After reading the above comments you may think the next request sounds crazy, but I’m asking that as many people as possible attend the next meeting of the Board. It’s scheduled for March 8th at the North Park Library in the large conference room at 6:00 pm. Thus far, the maximum attendance at a Board meeting has been less than 5 residents. The thing is, the Board should be acting on the behalf of the community. Period. So the more community members are present at the meeting, the better the chance of limiting any arguments that are of no concern to the community. But more importantly, a strong community participation will also help set the stage for future Board meetings where there may be less attendance.
One more thing. There are currently 4 Board members. That means that any vote can and often is split, thus preventing any action by the Board. At the first Board meeting of the year, it took nearly 2 hours for the Board to agree on a managing agent. So, please be thinking about whether you would like to participate in making decisions as a Board member. That is currently a very hot issue for this Board, and one that still hasn’t been agreed to. But perhaps if you are able to attend the meeting in March, and you see the need, you may be the perfect addition to a currently very divided Board.
I’d like to know what you think – please provide your feedback in the comments section below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.