As the Board is aware, the 2005 Woods 10-foot rotary mower, which staff relied on for the mowing of the former golf course property, recently failed and was beyond reasonable repair. I very much appreciate the Board’s quick and decisive action to approve replacement of that mower. The replacement is due to be delivered quickly, and the mowing will then be able to resume.
Over the past few weeks a number of members have expressed concerns over the tall grass in the areas occupied by the Disc Golf Course, and rightfully so, because the grass is now well over a foot tall in many areas, perhaps as high as 16 inches. This very high grass is a direct result of the equipment failure recently experienced, but the views expressed by members indicate expectations which go beyond what that mower is actually capable of. These members have expressed a desire for a more finished mowed height across the entire open areas of these former fairways. This is completely understandable, and I believe desirable, but such mowing takes time, has to be done much more frequently, requires different equipment, and simply was not a part of the original plan for this year.
When the Disc Golf Course was approved, the subject of expectations did arise during discussions, and at that time I understood the plan would be to mow the old golf course property as before (three or four times per season of brush hogging) and in addition to finish mow the tees, the basket areas, and a walking path between the basket areas much more frequently. Although this sounded reasonable enough at the time, it has become obvious that this would make it very difficult for players to find their discs and it may also lead to a higher number of ticks and other pests on the course.
I bring all of this up only because similar issues arise quite often regarding other common areas and I believe it would be helpful to develop a set of agreed upon and published expectations, not only for Country Club Park area and the Disc Golf Course, but also for other dissimilar common areas. Lake Holiday does not currently have a defined set of maintenance standards for any of the common area grounds. This lack of a written set of expectations and guidelines results in many phone calls borne out of varying member expectations. It also has resulted in a varying level of care as managers and supervisors have changed, as maintenance personnel has changed over time, and as member and Board feedback has been taken into consideration.
Such a situation is not ideal as it can lead to drastically varying input requirements and outcomes over time, driving up expenses and making accurate budget forecasting more difficult. Well thought out standards are not only informative to the membership, but they also are an excellent planning tool useful in gauging where we are now in terms of routine care, as compared to where we want to be as a community going forward.
To better highlight this issue, I’ll give another example from recent calls. I have received calls and reports from three members in the past two weeks regarding the height of the grass and weeds along the roadway in front of their homes. In all three incidences, the grass being reported as too tall was roughly ten inches in height. For many years, these common areas along the road were mowed only with a sickle bar mower, and then only roughly three or four times per summer. This was done to prevent the establishment of woody growth, to maintain visibility for drivers, and to maintain the drainage ways. The Association did not finish-mow any of the roadside unless it was in front of an association building, amenity, mail station, or near the front gate entry area.
If the lot owners adjoining these areas wanted to mow more often or with a more finished outcome, they were allowed to do so. I believe this should remain the standard in such areas for a number of reasons, but that is a separate discussion for another time. Over the past five years or so the maintenance department has tried to finish-mow more of these areas when time allows simply because it provides a cleaner more attractive look along the roadways and makes it easier to find and cleanup litter.
The major issue with this is that now some members expect that these areas will be finish-mowed every week or two as a matter of routine. This is simply not possible during busy times when other projects or issues are more pressing at current staffing levels, but in the absence of an established official standard, it is difficult to convince the membership otherwise.
The idea of written standards for common area grounds maintenance is just a suggestion, but I do hope the Board will consider the usefulness of such. Currently, expectations are simply all over the place.
Tar & Chip: The 2019 Tar & Chip RFP went out to Dominion Paving, Carroll Construction, Whitehurst Paving, John Lake Paving, and Hotmixx Asphalt Company on April 8th, 2019. Only Carroll Construction submitted a proposal. I believe this is largely due to Carroll’s local market position.
At one time, Stuart Perry offered tar & chip sealing and was in a position to compete with Carroll. Perry no longer offers tar & chip surfacing and, as a result, there is very little competition in the local area. Out-of-town contractors who do provide tar & chip applications cannot compete due to the distance and resultant logistics expense and have declined to bid the past two years.
Carroll Construction’s 2019 estimate came in at $121,902.85, based upon the estimated yardages This equates to $2.15 per square yard, slightly higher than last year’s price of $2.10 per yard, but is well within industry pricing norms. Carroll has worked with the Association on numerous paving projects, road construction, and tar & chip projects over the years and has proven to be a reliable and competent contractor for such work.
With this in mind, I recommend that the Association accept the bid and move forward with the planned tar & chip sealing as outlined in the original RFP.
Parking Lot Maintenance and Sealing: The RFPs for the maintenance and sealing of the Clubhouse and school bus stop area parking lots were sent to Dominion Paving & Sealing, RNJ Paving Company, Donovan Asphalt Paving, and Wilson’s Asphalt Maintenance on April 8th, 2019. Dominion Paving & Sealing and Wilson’s Asphalt Maintenance both submitted proposals in response. Dominion’s pricing estimate for the two areas combined totals $28,621 while Wilson’s estimate totals $25,855.
The Association has worked with Wilson’s on a number of projects in the past, including the surfacing and resurfacing of the tennis courts, the recent installation of crosswalks for the Disc Golf Course, plus crack sealing and various asphalt repairs at times. The Association has not worked with Dominion in the past.
Wilson’s Asphalt has exhibited a high level of commitment to customer satisfaction and has always maintained a high level of professionalism and workmanship in all of our past dealings. With this in mind, I recommend awarding both parking lot areas to Wilson’s for a combined estimated total of $25,855. This, when combined with Carroll’s estimate for the 2019 tar & chip application, totals an estimated expenditure of $147,757.85 out of Replacement Reserve for road maintenance applications if all projects are undertaken.
The Replacement Reserve schedule has a planned expenditure of up to $157,500 for Asphalt Pavement and Tar & Chip for 2019, leaving some room should there be additional expenses due to yardage overruns or parking block replacement.
Other Project Updates
Walking Trail Project: Walking trail construction from Country Club Park to the Lake Holiday Clubhouse area mail station is nearing completion and should be finished up in the next week or so. Overall, comments from the membership regarding the trail have been very positive and I anticipate the trail will be well-utilized by the membership once it has been completed.
231 Redland Demolition: Preparations are underway for the demolition of the old office building. Pine Knoll has been working with the county to obtain the necessary permitting, and the asbestos in the building is scheduled for removal later this week. The County requested official letters from all utility operators formerly servicing the building stating that services had been disconnected. Those have been requested and most all have now been received. Once they are submitted to the county, Pine Knoll is hopeful for a quick turnaround on the permit. If the permit is ready in time, Pine Knoll plans to begin demolition in mid-June. If the permit is not ready then, scheduling conflicts may result in the demolition occurring later on in the summer.
South Side Membership Area Roads: Efforts continue to improve the road conditions on the south side of the dam in sections 6A and 6B, along the emergency exit route, and along the road to Beach III. The maintenance crew has been working to get the brush and tree debris moved to behind the ditches along those roads so that a grader may be brought in to regrade the roads where necessary and to open up select drainage areas to help protect the freshly graded surface. At this point, a grader would not be able to effectively access the areas of repair due to the brush and debris which still remains.
The maintenance crew is chipping the brush and clearing the area as time allows between their many other duties. Once that work is sufficiently completed, I have made arrangements with Pine Knoll for the grading. This should result in much improved access to the membership lots in that area, but it will not totally solve the problem as there are many failing culverts and resultant drainage issues through those areas. The roads and drainageways in those areas were put in place nearly 50 years ago now, and there has never been a fully developed plan of how best to maintain those areas, nor a determination as to what level of maintenance is necessary or desired. Addressing all of these issues will require planning and dedicated funds. It is my understanding that the Master Planning Committee will be looking into these issues and options regarding how best to address them going forward.
Mike Goodwin, LHCC General Manager