June 16, 2007
CPDC Corrects Signs
CPDC Works to Beautify Victor Gardens
CPDC Shares Plans for New Parks
Shelly Tompkins of CPDC has asked me to share with homeowners concept drawings of two new small parks, or “greens” in Victor Gardens. These new parks will be built in the Victor Gardens 6th Addition on the East side of Clearwater Creek. Click on the “Maps” link to view the location of these new parks. To view the full-size PDF documents click on the links below.
Provence Way Green concept drawing - click here for full-size pdf drawing
Flora Way Green concept drawing - click here for full-size pdf drawing
June 14, 2007
Fountain Working Again - Please Keep Children Out
Thanks to Michael Hage who cleaned out, disinfected and restarted the Jardin Fountain again.
Neighbors are asked to keep children from playing in and near the fountain as it contains chemicals and unfiltered water. Also, in the past, some inadvertent damage has been done to the fountain, surrounding stonework and plantings by playing children.
Thanks again Mike for pitching in to maintain the fountain!
June 12, 2007
Follow-Up : CPDC’s list of Questions
Maintenance Update - Pool Heater, Fireplace and Gate Repairs
This following message was received by Gina Higgins this morning, Tuesday, June 12.
I wanted to inform you all that the pool heater was repaired last night - the problem was a fuse. The temperature has been set at 84 degrees and is working just fine now.
The pool gate/lock will be repaired today. I also have put in a work order to have the fireplace looked at - it was brought to our attention that it was not working; possibly the pilot needs to be re-lit.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Gina Higgins, CMCA Community Manager Community Development Inc. 7100 Madison Avenue West Golden Valley, MN 55427 Direct ~ 763-225-6438 Fax ~ 763-225-6439 E-mail ~ email@example.com ”
Dogs & Leashes - Comments from Squeaky Connors
I received an email from Squeeky Connors following the recent post “Dogs Need Leashes”. She has asked me to share her comments with neighbors. She’s made some constructive proposals worth considering. Thanks for your comments, Squeaky. Your viewpoint is appreciated.
Please read her message that follows:
“The laws in Hugo concerning dogs state that a dog should be under the control of it's owner . They do not say dogs must be leashed at all times. Now that I've got your attention . . .
Our German Shepherd Troy, looks like a wolf. I know that can be intimidating, therefore I leash him when others are around. I now go to the park earlier in the morning to play ball with him, trying to arrive before others. We generally use the vacant lot for other ball times. At almost one year old, Troy has completed classes in Basic Obedience and Puppy Agility and is now in Intermediate Obedience. We are working hard to train him to be a good citizen in the environment where we live.
If someone is afraid of our dog, I would encourage that person to meet him. Know that when people approach us I will always leash my dog (except in cases where I already know the people are comfortable around him off-leash). I respect that some people will still have fears and not want to meet any dog. I encourage parents to tell children who are unsure about this particular dog, that German Shepherds help the police keep our communities safe. They work on farms, help people with disabilities and find people (especially children) when they are lost. Just this year a dog named Gandolf ,who looks very much like Troy, found a lost boy in North Carolina. I encourage parents to teach their children how to meet a dog by asking the owner if they can pet the dog. Troy is a good one to practice with. If a child is frightened, I encourage parent and child to approach us and ask questions. This is an exceptional dog. He was hand picked by an expert to be a companion for our daughter who has Cerebral Palsy. He is meeting this hope with flying colors as he is a very sweet and intelligent dog. His greatest joy is chasing a ball.
There sure are a lot of dog owners in our neighborhood. Certainly a majority. Perhaps we should consider enclosing a small portion of each park for a doggie play area. Our dogs love meeting up with the other dogs for romping and socializing. Dogs that play well with others are much better neighbors than dogs who don't. Here are a couple of other ideas I have. Feature a dog (or other pet) each week on our website. Include a picture and short bio about the pet. Pet "meet and greets", "pet parades" or "read with a dog" times in the park. Scheduled doggie playtimes instead of random spontaneous events. Maybe dog owners would hold a fund-raising event to raise money for fencing (the non dog-owners can be our biggest contributors). I would love to work with anyone who wants to enhance the lives of everyone in the neighborhood by finding ways that dog-lovers and others can live more happily together. I would like to invite anyone who is interested in talking about this to my home on Friday June 22nd at 7:00 in the evening. Both "dog" people and "non dog- people" are invited but if you come, you must bring a positive and helpful attitude. This meeting is not for anyone who wants to confront the situation with conflict. This meeting is intended for those people who want to make things better - not worse. This neighborhood is full of friendly, helpful, good people. I'm sure we can turn this around to make our neighborhood a safer happier place for all the residents - including those with tails. Squeaky Connors 14356 Cosettte Way N (Blue and White house on the corner with the wheelchair ramp in back). 651- 207-6138 If you can make it on the 22nd please call or email me so I can have enough treats for everyone. firstname.lastname@example.org “
New Test Feature - An Opinions Page
I receive so many neighborhood emails on a variety of subjects. It’s sometimes difficult to manage them all. Rather than simply forwarding and responding to neighbors emails, I thought I would test an idea.
I have introduced this Opinions page as public forum for a few select topics. I have some reservations about introducing an opinions page on our neighborhood website. My hope is that an opinions page can be used to find creative solutions to common neighborhood concerns. Perhaps this page will provide greater communication among neighbors, rather than just the simple one-way website it has been until now. It may not be a permanent feature, since it’s just an idea I’m testing. It will not be a forum for venting angry comments. It will remain positive and constructive or it will be removed.
I will introduce a few ideas, and invite public comments on those topics. We’ll see how it goes from there. It will be up to the user to decide whether to remain anonymous or not.
Look for the “Opinions” link at the top of this site. Read the posts, then join the discussion with the “Add a comment” link at the end of the articles.
June 11, 2007
Dogs Need Leashes
By far, the most frequently emailed concern I have received in my short time as Liaison is about owners of dogs.
Scotties, Collies, and Dobermans don’t seem to care if their waste is in a bag or on the playground. People do. Neighbors with dogs are getting the message. A lot of progress has been made in the neighborhood regarding the clean up of dog waste. Your neighbors thank you.
One issue that continues is the problem of unleashed dogs. It would be nice, yet inaccurate to say the problem was limited to the Chihuahua who jumps on your clean clothes with muddy paws. In a few unfortunate (and scary) incidents, this problem has escalated in the last few months.
In the other places I have lived, I have seen countless times where a normally calm and controlled dog will revert to its hunting instinct- lunging after squirrels, skateboards, and children. It’s the naturalthing for a dog to do. I’ve spoken to other friends and neighbors in Victor Gardens in the medical profession. They’ve seen firsthand the damage that a biting dog can inflict on the life of a child.
So... if you like to play frisbee with your mutt, or play catch with your German Shepherd, please do it in a place that isn’t in our neighborhood parks. Take your dog to an Off-Leash Dog Park instead.
Ramsey County Off-Leash Dog Parks
Anoka County Off-Leash Dog Parks
Most owners believe their own dogs are harmless and cute. Domestication has come a long way, but please remember that dogs have instincts. Training is important. Control is more important. A leash is the only way to ensure control.
Parks in Victor Gardens are meant for all of us. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighborhood.
Please. Leash your dogs.
Opinions Needed About Potential New Committees
In the past few weeks I’ve heard from many proud neighbors about the great job our Victor Gardens Social Committee is doing. I speak for many of us who would like to thank the members of the Committee for their hard work, creative ideas, and fun events! It’s great to see neighbors taking such an active role in our community.
I’ve also heard recent suggestions that similar energy could be channeled into other potential Committees. I would like to hear your thoughts about more (or different) ways neighbors could become involved.
Below are two ideas in particular. I would like to you hear opinions on these or other committee ideas.
1.) A potential “Grounds Committee” (not to be confused with the Garden Committee) could organize seasonal clean-up and minor maintenance projects & events. These could include:
•Seasonal cleanup projects
•Seasonal fountains startup & shut-down
•Irrigation systems oversight
•Parks mulch refreshing and minor maintenance
•Tennis court windscreen repairs
2.) A potential “Board Advisory Committee” could organize residents with expertise. The Committee could advise the Victor Gardens Board of Directors on finding better ways to spend your association dues, and work toward easing the eventual transition of control of the Board of Directors to neighborhood control. It might be especially helpful to involve residents with talents in:
These are a few of the most thoughtful ideas I’ve heard. I think all residents would be interested in the results of this informal “poll”. Please email me your opinions. Thanks!
Sump Pumps Causing Problems on Streets and Sidewalks
I received a question regarding sump pump discharge hoses draining into the streets, storm drains, and sidewalks. Here’s an excerpt of the message, " This issue was reviewed during the neighborhood walk around last year. I don’t know that anything was resolved, but as I recall, CDPC representatives agreed that it may need to be addressed. The standing water in the alley causes slimy slick spots that are dangerous. Last year, [name removed] slipped in the slime on her bike and fell down. Yesterday, I slipped in the slime and fell down. I strongly believe that something needs to be done about the drainage."
Our neighborhood lies in a area with a relatively high water table and clay-laden soil. There are many homes in Victor Gardens whose sump pumps run frequently. Quickly responding to this neighbor’s concerns, Shelly Tompkins of CPDC, has suggested a few options, including rain gardens for homeowners with sump pump issues:
“I was relieved to meet one of the alley homeowners by happenstance last Friday and we discussed the sump pump circumstances.
Here's the overall info and resolution: To date, the City has not allowed sump pump hose directed to the storm water sewer. There are many cities that will not allow it at all. I understand why people don't want the sump pump delivering the water to the lawn. Lawn root systems are very short, it stays very wet surrounding the hose area and it is uncomfortable to mow or to play on. I think that it is a concern throughout the neighborhood and not exclusive to the alley homesites. Three individual sump pump hoses are causing the slippery problems on the alley. The resolution to the slippery alley problem is for the three individuals pumping on the alley surface to keep it on the lot surface instead. Also, those throughout Victor Gardens that do not like the wet surface on the lawn can use the following resolution as well.
Any resident can resolve the sump pump concern by installing a Rain Garden at the end of the sump pump hose no closer than 10' from the foundation of the home. I have attached a design sheet provided by Applied Ecological Services. It shows how easy it is to individually resolve these sump pump concerns. The proper use of native plants in a Rain Garden will immediately absorb water faster through the depth of plant roots. The perennial plants are very low maintenance and the surface surrounding the plants can be wood chips or rocks. Most people want to avoid weeding. Topping the ground surface around the plants and under the chips or rocks can not be plastic, but can be a product that can stop weeds, while still allowing water to seep through. Depending on distance from one home to another, neighbors could share the Rain Garden sump pump use and expense by positioning it between two homes on the lot line. Half the investment of time and money, twice the use!
I researched the two garden centers closest to Victor Gardens, but they do not have native plants and one didn't even know what a Rain Garden was. Below are three local garden center resources for native plants. I have worked for several years with Applied Ecological and they are a great resource and I have been to Outback Nurseries and it's a fun native-shopping experience.
25316 St. Croix Trail
just south of Osceola on Highway 95
Applied Ecological Services/Spring Lake Nurseries
21938 Mushtown Road
Prior Lake, MN
15280 110th St.
More research on how to install a Rain Garden are:
I hope all this information will help each homeowner resolve their sump pump concerns. I think that there is a great Rain Garden example at the Hugo City Hall if anyone wants to see one first hand. Please share this information with all the VG residents. I plan to share it with every future resident through a recommendation in our Landscape Policy. I am also going to forward it to Ryland Homes as a recommendation to avoid the potential for any future homeowner warranty concerns.