As we approach the end of the year, I’d like to recap some of the accomplishments of this year and preview what’s scheduled for next year.
A lot of the improvements that have taken place this year have revolved around landscaping, but not all. There was new pool furniture purchased this year, paid for from the recreation reserve at a cost of $72,000. New pool furniture was in the reserve spending plan for 2015 but delayed due to the failure of the Quince Orchard Road retaining wall. In order to complete the rebuild a year ahead of time, the recreation reserve fund “loaned ” money to the general reserve fund, which resulted in the delay of purchasing new furniture.
Not only was the pool furniture replaced this year, but the new furniture was upgraded from a strap style to a mesh sling-type. I think from the comments I heard over the summer from those who use the pool on a regular basis, that upgrade was appreciated, as was the purchase of additional pieces including small beverage tables and “sand chairs” for the baby pool. While most of the old furniture was sold for scrap, we retained several of the old metal picnic tables and repurposed them for use around the property.
The Environmental Management Committee (EMC) was very busy this year identifying and recommending grounds improvements to the Board of Trustees. The Rt 28 berm that backs up to Beckwith Mews was cleaned up and replanted, three pocket parks were enhanced with additional plantings, five pocket parks/tree saves were wood chipped, and the irrigation system at the Clubhouse and two entrances were repaired and restarted.
The drinking fountain adjacent to the basketball court was replaced this year, and our expectation is that we will replace a drinking fountain each year for the next several years. In 2018 we’ll replace the one between tennis courts #1 & #2. There are a total of 6 fountains on the property and they are now more than 15 years old, so the time has come to begin to replace them.
We are in the process of obtaining approval from the City of Gaithersburg’s Historical Committee to replace the doors and windows at the Carriage House, an auxiliary building owned by the KCA next to the Arts Barn. The Kentlands Historical Trust (KHT) has already approved the Kentlands Citizens Assembly’s (KCA’s) application. After the City’s approval, the doors and windows will be ordered and should be replaced, weather permitting, after the first of the year.
As some of you may remember, one half of the mews was repaved in 2014-2015 before the Quince Orchard Road retaining wall failure. The other half was to be repaved in 2015-2016, another project that was postponed due to the need to appropriate money at that time for the wall re-build. The KCA had specifications written for the repaving this fall and used that to solicit bids for the paving project. Five vendors received the bid request, and we received four proposals. The vendor has been selected, a contract has been signed, and the paving project will begin in late February or early March, depending on the weather.
Third party covenant inspections were also postponed last year due to the Board’s desire to minimize the increase in assessments in 2017. Bids were requested for that service and a vendor will be selected in December. The inspections will begin in the Spring of 2018, stay tuned for more information.
Proposals have also been solicited for an electronic access system for the Clubhouse, basketball courts and tennis courts. The proposals are being evaluated by the Capital Improvements Committee and they are beginning to schedule presentations from the vendors. The goal is to have a recommendation for the Board of Trustees in January.
A full site visit will occur by a specialist in 2018 to update our community’s reserve study. This is important in that it ensures that the KCA is on track with reserve savings based upon the condition of the infrastructure the association is responsible for maintaining. The Budget and Finance Advisory Committee (BFAC) rely heavily on this information when formulating each year’s budget.
The community is beginning to rebound financially from the two-million-dollar expense of rebuilding the Quince Orchard Road retaining wall, thus allowing for other projects that need to take place in the community. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees and the KCA President in 2018. I think we’re already off to a good start.