Fellow Mohicans –
Spring is going by fast and we have just three weeks until the pool opens. It has been a busy winter and I wanted to update you on some of the activity. I will start with a couple key dates, provide an update on the activity this winter, share with you some of the plans for the upcoming season, and end with some of the long term plans which are shaping up for the association.
Key Upcoming Dates
We have our annual spring cleanup scheduled for April 22 and 23rd – two weekends from now. We will start both days at 10:00 am and run as long as the energy holds. Community school credit will be given and we really encourage everyone to come out and help us make Mohican look great.
Following that the pool opening is on April 29th – three weeks from this past Saturday.
And of course do not forget to plan for the opening party on May 20th – starting at 4:00 pm.
A complete schedule is on the website (mohicanpool.org). I encourage you to familiarize yourself with all the dates and times.
Accomplishments from this winter
This winter we have two major accomplishments to report.
The most obvious are the new bathhouse floors. As many of you will recall the floor surface from our rebuilding process never really worked out. We started with a “brushed concrete” finish on the floors. Unfortunately, the contractor had left these stained and damaged, and we asked them to fix the problem. They did this by painting the floor with a coating which ultimately did not stick and left the floors a peeling mess throughout last season.
Over the winter we investigated alternatives and ultimately settled on a coating which creates a textured surface on the concrete. The approach has been used on other bath houses and is widely used on high impact concrete surfaces. This finish required removing everything from the bath house – regrinding the floors and laying down the new surface. The project was completed two weeks ago, and the floors look great.
They may feel a little rough at first, so be careful with new baby feet. However, we think this will be a great surface for the long run – both giving us a great look and having the right degree of hold for wet feet.
Less visible but equally important the Montgomery County Board of Appeals has granted our request to allow for 450 full memberships. This eliminates the somewhat ambiguous language allowing 450 memberships with 400 active, and it removes long-standing questions about what is and is not acceptable under our current county agreement.
In exchange for this, we have agreed to hire crossing guards for our swim meets and major association parties. While we do not expect to sell these additional memberships this year, this gives us some flexibility in how we build our long-term plan for the pool.
Plans for 2017
In addition to bathhouse floors, we had a number of proposals for other projects to be undertaken at the pool. Having come out of 2016 with a significant surplus we had some money to work with, and we decided to pursue the following priorities:
- Debt Repayment
- Additional Landscaping (front slope and Mohican path)
- Shade on the Deck
- Secondary Pavilion (covering the upper-level deck holding the old ping pong table)
By the time all is done we will have contributed $50,000 to our mortgage above and beyond the annual payments from 2016. This is really a down-payment on a long-term plan to pay down our debt which the board is starting to build. (See long term below).
Last year we held our landscaping expense to the bare minimum. While this freed up some money, it also showed as the season wore on. Ultimately we were left with some long-term challenges – chiefly on the front slope where we have some erosion and along the pathway to Mohican road which has been deteriorating. We have approved a proposal to increase the landscaping budget by $6,000 to address these issues, and this year we will have more regular maintenance.
This is on top of the fantastic volunteer effort which has been done to plant and maintain the retaining wall.
There has also been much discussion about the need for additional shade on the deck, and we have had a proposal to build an arbor over the extended trex (wood like) deck. The board has agreed this is a priority, and we have begun an investigation. It is too early to say what will be done and when, but the early planning is now underway.
Finally, there has been much discussion about how we manage parties at the pool. The current party policy allows members to book parties, while at the same time we allow others to use the pavilion. This has caused some crowding and dissatisfaction both of party holders and general members.
Meanwhile, we have another concrete pad where the ping pong table has sat which has been generally underused.
The board is looking at building a second pavilion on the upper site which can be reserved for parties without conflicting with other member use. This year we will experiment with a prefab pavilion on that site, and if the approach is a success we will look at a longer term plan to build a permanent structure to mirror the existing pavilion.
These last two items are in the planning stages and member comments are welcome. It is unlikely that either will be done by opening day. However, it is the objective of the board to address the issues which have been raised by members.
If you have feedback on any of these issues please feel free to write me or reach out to any of our board members. I will be at the pool for the cleanup and on opening weekend, so you can talk to me in person if you do not want to write.
Finally, the board is beginning a process to build a long-term model for the pool. Coming out of the construction process the pool has a mortgage of $2.4 million. This is being amortized over 30 years. However, we have a balloon payment – which will require refinancing in 10 years. As indicated above we are paying an additional $50,000 against principal from 2016.
The board feels strongly that we want to pay down a significant portion of the principal loan over the ten years. The long-term planning process will set a goal for how much principal to have left at the end of the 10 year period and how we will fund any additional payments.
This is early in the planning process, and we will try to use the summer to seek member input into our alternatives. While the current budget provides a surplus we will look for input into all our alternatives over the coming summer.
OK – sorry for the lengthy email, but I hope the information is worth the read.
I look forward to seeing you all at the pool soon.
Rick Hall – Mohican President