Governors Village In Depth: Neighborhood Grounds Committees

Announcing Governors Village In Depth

For 2014 the Governors Village Communication Committee is launching a new series of articles called Governors Village In Depth. Designed to be of interest to new and long-term residents alike, this occasional series is aimed at exploring and explaining how our community operates.

Kathy Lohr, who joined Communications this year as editor and special features coordinator, is spearheading this effort.

Recently Kathy interviewed POA board member and treasurer, John Eberhard, to learn how the Neighborhood Grounds Committees are organized, what their functions are and how they fit into the overall grounds budget for Governors Village. Communications looks forward to your feedback on this first article and welcomes ideas for future ones.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) - Photo by Susie Moffat

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) -Photo: S.Moffat

Governors Village: One Community – Six Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Grounds Committees

By Kathy Lohr and John Eberhard

Have you wanted to see some upgrades in your neighborhood’s landscaping? Do you have an opinion about what should be planted in your berms, medians, or circles? Do you know of problem areas that warrant landscaping enhancements?

AND: Do you want to contribute to the ongoing progress and upkeep of the Governors Village community?

 THEN: Consider joining your local Grounds Committee, and have your say in many of the decisions that can enhance all the neighborhoods! With spring upon us, this is the perfect time! These groups work to improve landscaping and other amenities of our neighborhood common areas. Thus, they have the mission, the responsibility, and the opportunity to create a uniquely attractive landscape throughout the committee – one that reflects a significant standard of excellence and adds to the value, utility, and aesthetic appeal of our homes and environments.

Of the six neighborhoods in Governors Village, five have grounds committees: the Village itself, the Park, the Forest, the Lakes, and the Townes. (The apartments, as a sixth neighborhood, have a somewhat different arrangement.). These committees have considerable latitude about decisions for enhancing the appearance and grounds of their neighborhoods.

Even more important is that these committees have their own discretionary budgets for such enhancements, because regular maintenance of common areas is handled through a completely separate budget line for the Governors Village Property Owners Association (POA). The distinction is important, because the Grounds Committees do not have to worry about ongoing maintenance, such as basic upkeep, pest control, or irrigation and mulch. Thus, members of Grounds Committees can focus on what will bring visual beauty, additional appeal, and practical improvements to project priorities for landscaping – options and decisions that reflect preferences and ideas drawn from involvement in residents of each neighborhood.

Enhancements include a wide array of landscaping ideas. For example, one neighborhood may opt for replacing trees that may have been removed or having someone check the health of trees growing in critical places to be sure they are not diseased or dying. Others may believe that planting evergreens along sidewalks, or landscaping a center circle with ornamental trees and plants, is a high priority. Yet others may think that installing groundcover to enhance appearance of empty spots or to hold back erosion is important.

Committees can also consider enhancements that might be done over the longer term. Such steps might mean adding soil to bare areas before proceeding with new planting, installing benches, or augmenting lighting. Even erecting a gazebo, or planting a rose garden, or installing stone walls might not be outside the realm of possibilities!

Although the critical need is for committed volunteers to join their own (neighborhood) Grounds Committee, households themselves are important contributors to this effort. They may help to keep new trees well watered, add spring bulbs to common areas, and participate in annual clean-up days. These are wonderful opportunities even for neighborhood children to participate and add to the environmental appeal of their neighborhoods.

In short, residents in the various neighborhoods understand what will be pleasing to the eye and what will make for a safe and enjoyable environment for all. Each neighborhood’s own Grounds Committee can make the decisions about spending money (or perhaps holding onto it for a year or so for a major project) as it sees fit.

The budgets for 2014 for each committee are allocated from the GV POA overall budget. Otto White, of the POA, is the overall grounds committee liaison (contact: oeha1 at aol.com). This year, the total budget for grounds enhancements is $35,688. Of this, $900 is set aside for the apartments, leaving $34,788 for the other five neighborhoods.

The available funds are targeted to the five neighborhoods according to an equitable distribution depending on the current number of units in each of the areas. Thus, for 2014, the percentages and funds available for each neighborhood are as follows:

Neighborhoods Number of Units Percentage of Grounds Enhancement Budget 2014 Allotment ($)
Townes 160 31.7% $11,044
Park 144 28.6% $ 9,939
Village 100 19.8% $ 6,902
Forest 51 10.1% $ 3,520
Lake 49 9.7% $ 3,382

These amounts do not include any carryovers from previous years. That is, some neighborhood Grounds Committees may actually have more to use this year, or they may elect to save some funding for a major enhancement in 2015.

One important point to underscore is that the neighborhood enhancement monies are not the only funds available for improvements and to neighborhood environments.  The main POA board will continue to plan for and fund larger-scale improvements — ones that are simply too big or too costly for this enhancement program.  Recent examples of these more challenging projects include the expansion of the pool deck and the significant improvements around the lake. Each was funded by the POA board itself, outside of or in addition to neighborhood enhancement monies for these two neighborhoods.

The committee chairs or contacts for each of the neighborhoods are the following volunteers. They will be very happy to hear from you to volunteer your time to serve on the committee or for your ideas:

Townes – Peter DeStabler – destaeblerp at yahoo.com
Park – Jo Watta – jwatta1 at nc.rr.com
Village – Ann Cowen – anncowen24 at bellsouth.net and
Wes Weaver waweaver2003 at yahoo.com
Forest – Rosemary McGee – rosemarycm at mindspring.com and
Steve Simon ssimon at nc.rr.com
Lake – Bill Hlavac – bill.hlavac at syngenta.com and
Terry O’Brien – tcob0304 at yahoo.com

On behalf of the Governors Village POA Board of Directors, we urge you to volunteer for your own neighborhood’s Grounds Committee, and exercise your voice about the soft and hard landscaping options and enhancements for your own backyard!

 

Questions about this Governors Village In Depth article or suggestions for another topic?
Contact: Kathy Lohr (Communication Committee special features coordinator and editor) – kathy.lohr at gmail.com

Governors Village In Depth is sponsored by the Communication Committee.