Inclusive playground approved for Apple Ridge Recreation Area

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by Mike Conroy

At the April 27 Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board of Directors meeting, the Board discussed and approved funds for the installation of a new, all abilities playground at the Apple Ridge Recreation Area, relocating it from behind the pool to near the pavilion, on North Creek Lake Park property.

The former location (on top of the hill behind the pool) was part of the original Apple Ridge Pool site plan and part of a designated user facility. During pool planning stages, it was determined that moving the playground would be better for accessibility by wheelchairs, walkers and strollers, leaving a larger greenspace near the pool. Putting the new playground next to the pavilion allows easy access and ample parking, and avoids other accessibility hurdles for other locations on the property. Building a new Village-wide facility at this proposed location makes it eligible to be funded by the Capital Contribution Fee.

The Action Item list was amended to include authorizing $150,000 from the Capital Contribution Fund for the construction of a new, inclusive and accessible playground on the park property at Apple Ridge Recreation Area. Resident input on this new playground will be solicited in the near future.

Other Agenda Items
Board President Pete Young drew attention to several Information Items before turning to items on the discussion list. He noted Montgomery Village’s 29th consecutive Tree City Award and the work that goes into maintaining that status. Young also mentioned the 2018 Budget schedule, noting upcoming opportunity for proposed budget items, as well as the MVF Board Retreat, scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 2 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 at North Creek Community Center, 20125 Arrowhead Road.

Director of Recreation, Parks and Culture Peggy Mark updated the Board on the Recreation Committee’s review of the Eastgate Homes Corporation’s request to remove the basketball court at Martin P. Roy Park. Mark said the committee felt they needed more data on the use of the court before making a recommendation to the Board. It was agreed that as part of the security schedule, personnel would monitor use of the court during certain hours for a set period of time. Based on that information, the Recreation Committee would address a recommended course of action.

Following the discussion, the Board reaffirmed all recommended committee members, as well as approved committee chairs for most MVF committees; the committee members and chairs can be found online at www.montgomeryvillage.com. In other committee news, Village resident Chris Mead was appointed to the Committee on the Environment.

The Board reaffirmed an earlier e-mail vote for a 46-month agreement with NextEra Energy Services (upon recommendation from electricity broker APPI Energy) to reduce the current electricity rate for both MVF and homes corporation street light accounts. Over the 46 months, MVF expects savings of $56,352 and an additional $5,654 for the street light accounts.

A sole source bid for purchasing pool chemicals from Amato Industries was also approved.

President’s Remarks
Young thanked staff, the Board, volunteers and residents for their participation in the Arbor Day Celebration. He noted the tree planting and new herb garden installed at the Nature Center. Young also mentioned the play features being installed at Lake Whetstone, saying he was looking forward to the new addition which should be finished later this month.

EVP Report
Executive Vice President (EVP) Dave Humpton addressed resident concerns about recent work by the landscaping contractor at North Creek Lake. He noted that future work would be better monitored to ensure that proper pruning takes place.

In development news, he relayed that Monument Realty would be submitting a formal site plan for the former golf course property in early May, and that per county processes, a public hearing would follow. This would be the time for MVF’s comments relating to parks and amenities proposed for the site. Humpton also said that he expects Atlantic Realty Companies, the owners of the Village Center, to file their plans with the county sometime this summer.

Treasurer’s Report
MVF Treasurer Bob Carey gave a brief overview of the year-to-date (YTD) financial health of the organization. Carey noted that Operating Revenue is favorable to the budget by 2.6% for the month and 3.1% YTD due mostly to revenue from camp registrations. He said Operating Expenses were also favorable to the budget by 1.2% for the month and 5% YTD.

The Balance Sheet shows that MVF’s cash and investments make up 45% of the total assets, which are listed at over $15.2 million, up $900,000 from 2016. Carey also said that Investment returns are positive at 1.6%, but below the 1.9% benchmark. The returns are fueled by equities, but the investment advisors noted that the high returns experienced last year would most likely even out in 2017.

Carey also noted that this was the fourth consecutive quarter that delinquencies were below 8%. This is mainly due to an improving real estate market and previous collection policy changes.

Next Meeting
The next MVF Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday May 25, in the North Creek Board Room, 20125 Arrowhead Road. The meeting begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. with Residents Time. Residents are invited and encouraged to attend the Board meeting. The meeting agenda and information packet will be available online at www.montgomeryvillage.com the week of the meeting.