April 9, 2010

Big Changes Ahead- Landscaping, Common Areas & Park Improvements

The Master Board of Directors discussed a major effort to improve landscape and maintenance in Victor Gardens common areas and parks last night. The Board is working with Goetz Landscape and Landscape Committee volunteer Tony Schwab to identify areas with greatest need, and to follow-up on the major landscape upgrades begun last year. The Board discussed all common and park areas within the neighborhood and identified a few priorities. Victor Square will likely receive greater attention this year including new coordinated planting areas on each of the Square's corners. Progress has already been made. The former land-office site's (currently owned by Alliance Bank) fencing has been removed. The fencing had been falling down for years, and had become an attention-getting eyesore. At some point in the next few years, residents can expect that property to be developed. The boulevard along Victor Hugo Blvd. will also receive attention this year. Cottonwoods and willow saplings will be cut back to provide better views of the pond, low spots will be leveled with black dirt, and grass will be re-seeded. Neighborhood-wide, irrigation systems will continue to be improved, some components will be replaced- including adding new rain sensors. Work is also expected at the Jardin fountain, the south entrance, postal stations, Grantaire Green, the clock tower near Rosemary Way, Flora Green, Provence Green, the elevated berm behind homes along Garden Way 's carriage way, entrances near the Lake Area Bank , and the raised planters on the Victor Hugo Blvd. bridge across Clearwater Creek. A new "Victor Gardens" monument sign has also been proposed to be built possibly near the main entrance at Victor Hugo Blvd. and Frenchman Road. The Board is also discussing the possibility of partnering with the City of Hugo to improve the condition of the turfgrass within Val Jean, Arbre, and Victor Square Parks (all three of which are owned by the City of Hugo). The Board also is hopeful for a future, productive meeting with the City to address sinking retaining wall stones at Victor Square, near the pond.

Big Changes Ahead- Pool Security to be Upgraded with New Key Card Access

Progress continues with security and maintenance upgrades at Victor Gardens Neighborhood Activity Center & Pool. Last year, the work began with landscaping rejuvenation, Pool Committee volunteers, installation of security cameras and recording devices, and replacement of the pool's aging heater.
Last night, the Board of Directors approved a new plan to upgrade locks and modify access to Victor Gardens' pool. The use of the existing fenced gate will be discontinued and the pool will be accessed only through the Neighborhood Activity Center's doorways. The existing, traditional-type, locks will be replaced with an electronic key/card lock system. Existing metal keys will not work with the new system. All owners will be mailed a uniquely identifiable key card which may be remotely activated (or deactivated) by our Community Manager. Access through the new electronic locks will also be logged by computer and accessible by our Community Manager. Although the details are not yet worked out at this time, the Board will likely direct our Community Manager to deactivate owner's cards whose dues accounts are delinquent or based upon rules violations.
For the great majority of owners, this new system should represent a positive change for our community. On the other hand, these security upgrades will serve as a deterrent for non-residents, vandals, and our own residents who allow access to those they shouldn't. Sophisticated cameras, recording systems, and electronic key cards will help the Board, our Community Manager, and the Washington County Sheriff identify persons if the need arises.
Plans are also underway for repairs in the Activity Center's bathrooms. It's unclear as of now if all the upgrades will be implemented prior to the pool's expected opening on Memorial Day weekend. More details will be announced as they become available.