by Mike Conroy
In January, the Eastgate Homes Corporation requested the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board of Directors look at the possibility of replacing the basketball court at Martin P. Roy Park with a secondary tot-lot. Discussion of the proposal, both by the Board and the Recreation Committee, led to further observation of the park patrons and use, specifically the basketball court and existing playground, to determine trends and feasibility.
At the September Recreation Committee meeting, the observation results were reviewed, along with resident concerns about safety and quality of life. The park was observed three to four times daily during a peak usage summer month. During this time, no criminal activity was noted, and from January to September of this year, only one call was made to police about suspicious activity in the park. The Recreation Committee determined that the origin of the original request to remove the basketball court was from a safety concern and not from a lack of use or recreational concern, and sent the matter back to the Board for consideration.
Board members discussed the issue and also found the usage data does not support a lack of recreational use of the facility; they felt the resident concerns were from a safety aspect, which the police reports did not support.
Suggestions of fencing the court or adding some a buffer between the court and the playground were made, but overall the Board felt a greater presence in the park may help deter future concerns. The new Park Facility Assistants will be on board by the end of the month, and they will be responsible for locking the park at closing, educating park patrons about park rules and observing future trends and park usage.
At the present time, the Board unanimously feels there is not enough evidence of underusage or safety issues that would call for removal of the basketball court. Several Board members also supported the idea of a community safety meeting between the 6th District Police and interested residents, including those in Eastgate who have raised concerns.
The Board noted that anyone witnessing suspicious activity in this (or any) park or facility should call the police right away and not try to intervene themselves.
Other agenda items
In preparation for the 2018 MVF Board of Directors Election, recommendations from both the Nominating and Election committees were presented to the Board. Election materials, including the 2017-2018 Election Calendar, information sent to homeowners, MVF Board of Directors Application, the MVF Call for Candidates and other supporting materials were all approved. These documents contained date changes for the 2018 election, as well as a procedural change for the Candidates’ Forum outlining a process for candidates who arrive late to the event.
The Board also reviewed and approved materials describing the process by which the new Student Representative position will be filled. Guidelines for the applicants, as well as an actual application were recommended by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Board. To extend the responsibility of the committee for this capacity, the Board also approved revisions to the Nominating Committee Guidelines.
Suggested criteria changes for homes in The Heights (Stedwick) and Walker’s Choice (South Village) were also reviewed and approved. Revisions included new options for front door accent colors and elevated decks in the communities, respectively.
Finally, the Board awarded a bid to Playground Specialists for the replacement of the Whetstone Community Center Playground. A preferred design was forwarded from the Recreation Committee, and the Board approved funding not to exceed $88,918 for the new equipment, access stairs for adults and unforeseen expenses from Reserves.
Board President Pete Young reminded those in attendance about the upcoming Great Pumpkin Race and Fall Festival scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14 at North Creek Community Center, 20125 Arrowhead Road. He noted the fun fall tradition and hoped to see many new pumpkin designs this year.
Executive Vice President Dave Humpton updated the Board on recent county transportation and legislation issues. He said that the county council recently directed the planning board not to take into account the assumption that M-83 would be built when calculating transportation capacity for future projects in the upper county. Board President Young will testify at a public hearing on the subject on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Humpton also noted that the county transportation committee held a public hearing on September 14 regarding Bill 22-17, which proposed to repeal the roadway maintenance reimbursement. The county voted to not support the bill, leaving the program as is for the time being, with the potential for funding in future budgets. Humpton noted the Board should consider advocating for program funding in the future.
Treasurer Bob Carey presented the financial report for both the month of August and the year-to-date (YTD). Carey noted that August financials showed MVF running favorable to the budget mainly due to higher than expected investment returns and other income, camp revenue and lower than expected personnel and operating costs. Declining advertising revenue has been an ongoing trend. He said that MVF maintains a solid financial position, with 39.4% of total assets in cash or investments; this number is slightly down to previous years due to disbursements for the Peggy Mark pool.
The next MVF Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 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 meeting agenda and information packet will be available online at www.montgomeryvillage.com the week of the meeting.