GM’s State of the Association

November 26th, 2013 Comments Off on GM’s State of the Association

by Bob Kimble, General Manager

As the year comes to a close, we look back to reflect on all that has happened in our lives, our community and worldwide. Every year families experience unexpected changes. Life has an uncanny way of providing incredible joy in one instant and the weight of a challenge in another. We aren’t often afforded the luxury of understanding why or how our lives have changed; rather we are thrust into the task of existing with the change, and growing from it.

Nationally we watched so many baffling situations and unfortunate tragedies unfold: the US Government shutdown, the Washington Navy Yard shootings, the Detroit bankruptcy, unprecedented tornado destruction in Oklahoma, and the Boston Marathon Bombing. These are just a few, and certainly not the only catastrophes our nation faced in 2013.

Internationally we saw history being made with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the ousting of Egypt’s President Mursi. Syria has devolved before our eyes and in recent months we have witnessed the crippling effect of natural disasters in the Philippines with Typhoon Haiyan. In a global community, our neighbor’s experiences have felt very close to home.

It is easy to be swept up in these national and international headlines. When we are hearing about all the blights in the world, it feels like we are losing control of the future. We must remind ourselves that in spite of the world’s unpredictability, we can identify challenges and work to make a difference in our own local communities.

2013 presented new challenges for Lake Linganore. We experienced the sinkhole on Eaglehead Drive and worked to repair the infrastructure and restore the roadway. We carried out an emergency response effort when a construction worker was injured and trapped in the Eaglehead drive sinkhole. We had a large tree hit the Esplanade and bring down a 40 foot span. All of these challenges have been high impact on our community.

Through adversity, we can all gain perspective and clarity to move forward in a positive way. To coin a phrase from Steve Jobs “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” As the General Manager, I look back at where we’ve come from and where we are today and I can see that we have made many changes, all in the interest of improving the Membership’s way of life.

Over the last 12 months we have seen many improvements to our community and have expanded our amenities. The Association paved Pinehurst Drive and Twin Lakes, restored Summerfield Pool with new white coating, repaved and repaired Summerfield trails and preformed the second part of the Esplanade Five Year Plan of restoration. We’ve also erected an “Events Tent” to bridge the gap between present day and a future community center, we paved the Coldstream Beach Parking area and we had a comprehensive Reserve Study completed to plan for future maintenance and enhancements. Many positive changes have taken place in 2013 to improve the way of life in Lake Linganore.

This year the Association introduced many new and exciting events for our members. The Association successfully hosted a Summer Concert Series which was attended by hundreds of residents and brought four great local bands to Lake Linganore. Concert events coincided with the Farmer’s Market days and were a great summertime addition. The Event’s Committee held its annual Summer Festival and was able to recruit nearly 25 Teen Volunteers! Lastly, our Events Tent opened this fall and hosted several very successful events such as Oktoberfest, Fall Festival & Bake-Off, two Football Doubleheaders, dances and a Halloween party. These events have already fostered a sense unity and community spirit in Lake Linganore and are just the beginning of what’s to come!

The success of LLA events in recent months only highlight the need for this Association to build a Community Center, a long overdue amenity that this community is longing for. During 2013 we leaped forward in this goal; with developer dialogue, commitments, and the historical signing of the LLA/Oakdale Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU between the Association and Oakdale Investments will give the Association over six million dollars towards a community center, as well as the physical site for the building, which is valued at one million dollars.

Additionally, we have not forgotten that the Lake is in desperate need of a dredging program. To that end, we have moved a major step forward in our plans to dredge Lake Linganore. We have a tentative agreement with Frederick County and the City of Frederick to help fund the dredging of the lake. The city and county will pay 75% of the cost of this project. Early estimates could result in a savings to the Association of as much as six million dollars. The LLA/Oakdale MOU discussed previously, will result in the developer paying over three million dollars to the Association over the next 20+ years. The city and county have hired a consultant to estimate the cost of this project so they can budget for it. The Association has also engaged a consultant to act as a Project Manager to keep this project in motion.

To further sustain the maintenance of our vast infrastructure the Association is exploring revenue-generating alternative energy opportunities. Specifically, the Association has been speaking with various companies about the possibility of installing hydroelectricity at the dam. Although in the very early stages, the preliminary figures are very promising and could add millions to the Association in the way of much needed monies.

It has been a very active and productive 2013, and certainly a very costly 2013 to the Association. In a book written by Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” the opening phrase is, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” We could easily say the same for our beloved Lake Linganore. Unforeseen costs to the Association resulted in over two million dollars of non-budgeted expenses (sinkhole repair, esplanade damage, CDA completion). Nevertheless, we have survived and we are moving forward bigger and better than ever.

Looking ahead to 2014, we will be focusing on several major projects. The Nightingale CDA will commence soon and will hopefully be completed during 2014. We have hired a Project Manager in an effort to effectively manage and move this project to completion during the combng year. During 2013 we learned that the combined CDA cost to the Association is considerably more than anticipated, but we nevertheless see the need to finalize the project and realize that the cost to the Association will only grow if we do not complete it as quickly as possible.

The esplanade is being evaluated for repairs and will require many monetary and logistical resources. We are currently awaiting results from engineers so that we can gain an understanding of what needs to be done, so that we may put the project out to bid and fix the Esplanade.

In an effort to continue the necessary repairs to our infrastructure we have budgeted a half million dollars to include: road paving and repairs, Phase III of the Esplanade restoration, new white coating for West Winds Pool, and repaving of common area trails in West Winds and various other key points along vast trail system.

Our budgeting for 2014 includes an extension of events and recreational activities. We want to be certain that we continue the course we set during 2013 and bring much more enjoyment to Lake Linganore residents. We want to incorporate activities, not only for the young children but bring many activities to the teenagers as well. The 2014 Events Program will include activities like teen dances, yoga classes, football viewing parties, workshops and festivals, to name a few.

All of this is not possible however, if we do not get volunteers from our community. Volunteerism can take on many forms and we have opportunities for residents to make commitments that suit their lifestyle. We need volunteers who can devote as little as one hour, or as much as a whole year to an event. The 2014 Events Program will provide a diverse array of activities for the community, and we need folks to support the events that they are most passionate about. If engagement is low, then we will not be able to fulfill the community’s desire for more activities. The only way we can continue to host successful events and provide variety, is to have consistent support of residents during the planning and coordination phases of each event.

Many of the ‘committees’ that you hear “hosted an event” actually consist of a handful of hard working residents and/or LLA Staff. Many of our large scale events during weeknights and weekends are built on the backs of the same 8-10 people (LLA Staff & Resident Volunteers). The volunteers that we currently have are exceptional people and hard workers. They need the community’s help. It’s unrealistic to expect every member to volunteer, especially since most of us would rather attend as a guest and enjoy the party! However, imagine if each of us devoted ourselves to one event in 2014–just one. If everyone could donate just a little of their time, our whole community could achieve so much more. Mother Teresa once said “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”