Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why We're Blogging

This is a brand new blog that is being launched by the Revitalization Committee for Kings Forest residents. Activities have been underway for a few months, so I'll begin by recapping highlights from recent issues of WoodNote (the community enewsletter).

First of all, about us. The Revitalization Committee is comprised of residents who share a similar vision for how Kings Forest can be updated and enhanced. The committee came about quite suddenly after Suzanne Harssema and Tricia Morley heard Howard Pitman talk at the yearly community dinner about the lack of money, resources and apparent interest among residents to participate in governing Kings Forest. They'd not met before, but talked that night about what they could do to help.

Suzanne and Tricia issued the revived WoodNote in which they captured the key issues facing the community. The response was overwhelming; they realized there were many residents in the community that shared these concerns. They invited residents to participate in a focus group; shared the outcome with the community, and solicited volunteers for a Revitalization Committee.

The committee had its first meeting on July 16, 2007. Nine Kings Forest volunteers spent the evening creating a plan of action to address the concerns raised by the focus group and to establish priorities. Topmost among these was to improve our entrances, pylons, esplanades, pool and park ― common areas that are of tremendous significance to the appearance of the entire Kings Forest community.

While local residents can always get together and come up with a landscaping plan that's acceptable, the committee felt we would have a more coherent and attractive landscaping plan ― and more cost-effective in the long run ― if we tapped a professional to give us ideas.

So the committee has asked a professional landscape designer to look at our problem areas and make recommendations, focusing on the following:

Entrances - bring back the "Wow!" factor, creatively using plantings, flowers, lighting and other design features.
Kingwood Drive esplanades - possibly replace the pylons with more attractive signage that will establish Kings Forest as a unique village
Fences - estimated to be replaced in five years; we are looking at possible alternatives to the current board fencing. Pool and park - currently under study by the committee. Evaluation of pool usage and costs has led the committee to look at other options, such as expanding the park and perhaps having a water feature (spray field) in place of the pool.

Why the pool? We need to look at alternatives because 54 percent of Kings Forest homes have their own pools and attendance at the community pool is decreasing each year. Pool expenses for the first six months of 2007 reached 38 percent of the entire community association budget. And the appreciating property values in Kingwood Lakes (without a pool) tell us that the pool is not contributing significantly to our property values.