I 100% Love Common Sense...

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, Mar 14, 2023.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Yesterday's Exchange meeting was interesting. Lots of comments and it appears some headway is being made in a number of areas. Plus, even with all of the angst over Mountain View civility reigned. No eye rolls or snickering by board members who took visible umbrage that members just might have an opinion on the community they love. How freaking refreshing is that?

    Anyway after listening to several members speak (more for the project continuing than it stopping) i took the liberty of talking with one of those who had been involved from the very beginning and just wanted his beloved Mountain View center fixed. Trust me, i get it, as i said at the mic yesterday, it was dumpy even back when i was on the board. It truly does needs a facelift (more on that later).

    In speaking with him, he said something that made me say to myself, "damn, i wish i was that smart and articulate." Seriously gang, it was that good and on point. Here's what he said: "We ordered a Chevy or Ford and a limo showed up." Think about that for a minute or two.

    I watched and was involved on the periphery, attending one meeting and watching the other. I also read the ad hoc committees recommendations. What stunned me was the revisionist history being spouted by a couple of board members and a few of the members desperate to get their long awaited theater.

    What members were asking for, what the Players had been clamoring for was wholly different when Option 2 hit the members in June of 2021. It literally was the limousine of vehicles that left many of us breathless in both the look and the cost. I don't know if there is such a thing as too nice, i do know there is such a thing as too expensive.

    Here's me being less than nice and genteel, but in my opinion; when a board or management doesn't set a budget amount and just says to the architect, build me something and tell me what it costs, you get the Taj Mahal of buildings.

    Let me be really clear, i have asked this question repeatedly in the past several years; "how much have we budgeted for a given project?" And, the answer always was, we don't know until the contractor tells us how much it costs? Are you freaking kidding me?

    Unless you are obscenely rich, setting a budget and telling the architects and the contractors this is how much we have to spend at least sets limits and they show you something we can afford. So you know, when Fairway was done, the board budgeted 18 million dollars over the 5 year build-out and it came in at 16.2 million. Good job guys and no, i had no hand in it.

    Let's be clear, the RCSC is not broke by any stretch of the imagination. They have the money. That said, between the continuing inflation, recent banking failures and home sales slowing, i would encourage caution. It's why i have supported the review process on the Mountain View remodel. We know the outgoing board just wanted to ram it through in case they lost the election. Dumb idea guys.

    There's more than enough money to rebuild the outdoor pool area, making it a gorgeous setting complete with outdoor spa and hundreds of lawn chairs to fill the space. Pretty easy to renovate and update the mini-golf (sorry, but we need one in Phase 1, there's already 3 in Phase 2), convert the 3 tennis courts to pickleball and resurface the 7 existing courts giving them a total of 19 at MV.

    The rub here is the theater. I have no answers to that dilemma. I've never been a fan of seating for 400, it's too small. As i said in another thread, i would prefer 600 for greater utilization and i would look closely at retractable seating giving us the needed flat space when not in use. I suspect this isn't what the theater folks want, so sitting with them and sorting out what works would be high on the priority list.

    The best news that came out of yesterday's exchange was we were finally going to look at creating a cohesive, strategic long range plan. What that does is take into consideration trends across the country and develop realistic needs for the coming years. It should have been done years ago, along with our technology. The problem is when you let one or two people make the community's decisions for them, they'd better be right or those coming along behind them are left to clean up the mess.
    Janet Curry, Enigma, FYI and 2 others like this.
  2. Janet Curry

    Janet Curry Active Member

    Some things to think about:

    Mountain View Center is 56 years old. The PIF Budget, found on the RCSC website, commits $39,677,403 to its replacement through the year 2032.

    Lakeview Center is 53 years old. Its replacement is scheduled for 2035 which would make it 65 years old by that time. Surprisingly only $20M is shown on the PIF Budget for the "Lakeview Rebuild" which is about HALF of the amount to be spent on Mountain View. With inflation considered, that seems like a very low number, even for a "placeholder". Have we been hoodwinked on that one?

    There are also a few other lesser projects listed on the PIF budget during that time frame, including:
    Softball clubhouse $1M
    Viewpoint Lake Repair $6M (The other $2M must have been in the 2021 PIF Budget.)
    Riverview Maintenance Facility $2M+
    North Maintenance Facility $2M+
    Administration Building $2M+
    Lakes West/East Patio Rebuild and Extension $1.5M
    (Nothing on the PIF is committed to a dog facility or any other Member/Club request.)

    So, while we plan to spend $40M at Mountain View and $14.5M on other projects, Lakeview continues to age and deteriorate. RCSC will have spent $8M alone on golf course maintenance facilities in seven years. Add in the $2M on the Administration building and we have spent $10M on facilities that are used mostly by staff. I don't begrudge them having decent places to work, but is this the way we should be prioritizing the PIF Budget funds while Lakeview continues to get older and older? Seems to me, the Board needs to have another look at the PIF Budget and decide where the priorities should be.

  3. Linda McIntyre

    Linda McIntyre Well-Known Member

    Does anyone have an inkling about any kind of "plan" that has been considered for Lakeview? Is it just administration? The number placed on the PIF definitely doesn't add up for what should become THE CENTER in SC.
  4. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Yikes LM, i couldn't have set this up better had i asked you to offer up this question. As always, the answer is steeped in history and a story that deserves to be told (again). I was elected to the Sun Cities Historical Society board in 2009 and became president in 2010/11. As we were approaching our 50th anniversary i had built a really good relationship with the Pulte Corporation (who purchased the Webb company around 2001). They really wanted the Del Webb Sun Cities name and the Friday after they bought the company they fired 75% of the employees. The Museum had acquired some great Webb memorabilia from the Webb Foundation and the Johnson Foundation (2009). We asked Pulte if we could use the pinwheel logo and name the museum after Del and they agreed. Hence the house (not the legal name in their documents) became the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum.

    All that aside, after leaving the museum i ran for the RCSC board (2012). There were 3 candidates for 3 spots and managed to get the required 100 votes, so i was in. One of the things i stated in the 4 page newsletter (slight overkill) i used as my campaign material was a statement that every board candidate, along with every RCSC management employee, should have to read Jubilee, Sun City's 25th Anniversary book. Dare i say, another fart-in-church-like moment.

    The point was, i knew the history, many of my fellow board members didn't. I had a really solid working knowledge of the role of the GM played over our first 45 years. One of the reasons i ran was because i saw the newly hired GM (2006), becoming more involved in determining Sun City's future. That had never been the case as they simply ran the day to day functions. Board's could and sometimes did ask their opinions, but the board was the arbiters of direction.

    By the time i got there, all of that had changed. Documents were rewritten and the community's voice had become minimized. The only real push back came when dumb decisions were being bantered about and members would show and scare the crap out of board members. For example, tearing down the sun dial at the Sun Dial rec center (2010). Most of the time, stuff was done and virtually ignored. Remember the mantra, we were on the road to becoming the "fun city."

    My first year (2012), was enlightening. We still had a really active and energetic long range planning committee. The PIf was alive and well and the LRPC was looking to enhance the communities amenity package. I wasn't on it, but i knew the chairman well. We met way more as a board back then and he kept asking if the full board was willing to meet with the long range planning committee in a joint session? Hell no was the answer (don't ask me why?).

    I thought it was dumb and so i went to the next committee session. I knew most of the members personally and was glad to listen to their concerns. It was at that meeting i was told the GM and board (mostly golfers) had told them (via the chair) to pick their number 1 priority item. They had 2, pickleball and the theater. Pickleball won out. What shocked me though was the rest of the story. They had been told they had 25% of the PIF to make recommendations with, the remaining 75% would be dedicated to golf. I will never forget it; the GM was now directing our future by determining (with the board's support, at least some of them) where we would be spending the PIF.

    It was one of the reason's the GM and i got so sideways. We argued often over it, but she always won, she controlled the votes. The Marinette remodel ending up taking more money than we initially allocated (by about a million dollars) and it was inconvenient enough for her to "encourage" the board (primarily the board president) to lead the charge to flush the long range planning committee (which they did in spite of Carole and I voting no).

    Sorry for the long round about to answering your question LM, but as i often write, history matters. Back before the LRPC was disbanded, and even more so when reinstated, various members of that committee had been "lusting" over the things that could be done at Lakeview. Many saw it as the premier location in Sun City and for many of us, we almost always take visitors to the mountain top to showcase just how special and unique we were/are (or will be when refilled).

    In all honesty, i was never a fan of demolishing this "resort style amenity" that led the way in our resurgence once crossing north of Grand. That was until folks smarter than me starting pointing out the shortcomings of the property. The ramps were not ADA compatible, though they did spend some money in a retrofit so they weren't the location for the Sun City wheelchair Olympics. We found out just how bad (even back then) the electrical issues were along with structural problems. Then the whole round shape posed limitations as the rooms weren't idea for the potential needs given the wheel effect. Everything was just too narrow to maximize utilization. Suffice to say, i became a believer in the rebuild.

    Sadly, with the LRPC gone, the board and the GM made all the decisions on our needs. Golf took center stage and the other stuff became secondary or thirdendary (is that even a word?). When the Grand Center property came up for sale, Rich Hoffer convinced the board to form an ad hoc committee to "study" space allocation. I will reserve my judgement on how pure that was because it matters not. From that, Rich was successful in re-establishing the long range planning committee.

    I wasn't in the room so i have no idea how the GM took it, but it happened and i applauded the return. I actually applied for the committee but apparently wasn't qualified enough (said with a smirk). The next year, Rich became the chair and invited both Ben Roloff to join it, we both did and were excited to be involved. My tenure was short as it quickly became apparent to me the GM was still directing traffic on the back end. In fact Rich and i got into a pretty heated argument and told me she wasn't. Rather than fighting with her via the chair and co-chair i quit. Ben stayed for awhile longer, but we have the same philosophy, we aren't going to waste our time doing something just for the sake of doing it. Neither of us are all that impressed with what is on our resume or in this case, on our tombstone.

    Whew, lots of typing to get here: For as far back as i have been involved, the Lakeview rec center has been a topic of interest; especially for the long range planning committee. Back around 2010, it was an idea. When the LRPC came back in 2017 (i think), it took on a life of it's own. While i was on the committee in 2018, they divided us into 2 groups, one to write a report on Generation X (it's on their website), the other to begin planning for the Lakeview project.

    Our work (Generation X) was pretty boring compared to the other group. I recall seeing suggestions scratched out on napkins as they tore down the round and took better advantage of the lake setting. never saw it, but one of their committee members who has since moved out of Sun City went so far as to prepare almost a cad-like multi-page presentation. He was all in as he saw this location to be the our pathway to the future. He also wrote a lengthy commentary when he left that was less than flattering about the process.

    The answer to your question Linda can be summarized this way: While i cringe over a 40 million dollar project at Mountain View i'm all in to spend that and more at Lake View. Before we do that we need to do some serious soul searching over where we want to be in the next 5 or 10 years. We simply haven't been willing to do that because everyone is more interested in protecting their own vested interests rather than looking at the big picture to see what is realistic.

    Again, sorry for the winded response, but when i'm gone, i would hope some of you can pick up the slack have some idea how we got here and how we need to do better.
  5. Linda McIntyre

    Linda McIntyre Well-Known Member

    Bill - once again: history matters. I hope your writings are being archived for the future. I had a saying in my past professional life: in order to prevent mistakes in the future we had to know our past. It didn't mean we had to LIVE in it, but we had to understand it, and learn from it.

    From comments we are hearing, I think we can be pretty confident there are many that feel that Lake View should be the centerpiece of our glorious community. Viewpoint Lake is a treasure. It's like no other place. If we are thinking about it as "just one more recreation center" we are fools. For as much as pickelball is the sport of sports today, I would not support spending money to put courts on prime lake property. We can, and should, do so much better. We are the stewards of the future.

    Finally, I also am in total support of a PAC, but I want one that we can be proud of. We deserve to have a place that all of our arts groups can use, and that attendees can comfortably enjoy, but also doesn't break the bank for our future.

    I feel like we're throwing darts at an ever moving dart board. The LRPC gives me a bit of hope that things will stabilize - a five year plan is a start, but that, too, will be gone in a flash!

    Thanks for all your historical perspective, Bill. Keep it coming.
  6. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I need to say this; when i tell a story, i paint from my easel using my paint pallet. Others would argue, and rightly so, our golf courses were badly in need of some love. Members were putting out of many of the sand traps, water distribution was non-existent and improvements in technology were sorely needed. My problem was it was all put on the GM to make those decisions with the board of golfers rubber stamping it.

    It should have been and easily could have been a community decision. When i say that i don't mean by a vote of the membership, but by committees working in conjunction of setting a strategic master plan focusing on the entire community's needs. The GM quickly came to see the pitfalls of committees; they slowed everything down and took her vision out of the equation and replaced it be what members wanted rather than what she thought we needed.

    It truly was a paradigm shift from a member driven community to one where the GM provided the board with every answer. Most of the time the board agreed with her. What we are witnessing this year is a step back and away from the GM having to provide solutions and relying on those living here. Golf is the classic example of how the management saw outsiders as our salvation while golfers simply saw them taking our tee times. If we were a business, it might make sense (not because giving away prime time tee times to anyone should be foolishness), but as a community built for the members it's really dumb.

    This year will be baby steps; large baby steps, but there shouldn't be a rush to fix everything at once. By prioritizing, we can take the big stuff off the table and work through everything else a piece at a time. The Mountain View shove through was easily the most challenging. It has the potential to polarize and tear members apart. If the second reading passes on the motion to stop everything and review, opportunities to move forward with practical solutions are all on the table. First up would be addressing the mess they've allowed to exist at MV.

    The RCSC had valid arguments about not fixing the spa and mini-golf and the P-ball courts. They let the pool slide and now it's time to work in concert with the members who use it to figure out both their needs, wants and what we can afford. 5 or 10 million dollars could enhance all of the above and make happy campers. They could get it all done over the course of a years time (give or take) and then get on with a Lakeview rebuild, assuming they have determined some sort of strategic plan for the community. I was delighted to hear the GM say that was in the works.

    As i mentioned above, the Players have a right to be involved and for something reasonable to be worked through. That's easier said than done. I've been exchanging barbed shots with their VP on social media, chiding him to just let the community vote on the 40 million dollar plans. I know it would be crushed by members. It's not that i'm that smart, i know one of the reasons they built the PIF the way they did was to avoid the community voting on large projects. Back in the day they trusted the board and the safeguards built into our documents to ensure the community's voices would be heard. Once they were removed there were no guard rails and it is how we ended up where we did.

    When you know and understand our history, it all makes sense. When you know how we got to the place we were at the end of 2022, it makes even more sense. Then when you consider the membership's votes for directors in both 2021 and 2022 you see the membership actually embraced the concepts of ownership. How cool is that?
    Green Dragon and eyesopen like this.
  7. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    First, yes, the housing market slowed down greatly in the recent past mostly due to low inventory. But now prices have dropped sharply from the 2021 high and houses are moving again now that the inventory is way up. This doesn't mean we should go nuts with spending all the PIF. And what's going on with the economy, banks, inflation etc. is pretty scary. But folks are buying here again.

    Second, from what I remember from an article in the Daily New-Sun (no longer in print), back in the beginning of 2013 we had another deal with the ADWR. In that deal we had to redo the irrigation systems of about 5 or 6 golf courses? and something about educating the population on water conservation. That deal gave us permission to delay and put off relining the leaking lake. Was there any public announcement by the ADWR or notations by THEM ever posted online or in the news as to this agreement? Also, is that an accurate recollection Bill, since if I remember correctly, you were on the board back then?

    Interesting to see a decade later our priority must now be the turf reduction of the golf courses as mandated by the ADWR. Understandable due to the megadrought and necessary. The upside is that good things can be done with the turf reduction area if they are not all in the areas of play. Many ideas online about multi-use and sharing and native desert plants.
    Janet Curry likes this.
  8. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    You are close E, the deal with the state was done due to the lake leaking back into the aquifer. We knew it was stopgap and eventually the bill would come due. We were supposed to do the community education thing but it was fairly worthless with a couple of articles on how to save a few bucks by not wasting water.

    As far as home sales climbing, i have yet to see it. We were down 37% from 2022. Prices are dropping much as most owners want the high side prices from a year or two ago. Usually the problem with selling buying here is on the other end where they are trying to sell their home before they can move to Sun City.

    The bigger issue for me is the 40 m price tag on MV. It simply makes no sense. Fix the stuff that need be fixed and them make the commitment to do Lakeview right. 40 or 50 million there utilizing the space to get the maximum value out of the prettiest piece of real estate in Sun City is a no-brainer.

    By the way E, the cost for turf reduction on our golf courses will be something just under 18 million dollars. All the more reason to stop giving half priced golf to non-residents.
    Linduska and Green Dragon like this.
  9. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    I love the idea of locating a Performing Arts Center at Lake View, but realistically, if they build a PAC to accommodate any large number attendees, I don't think there would be enough room left over for parking?

    Now, if we were to consider making the Mountain View location the new home for the RCSC Administration offices, (since the Fair Way Rec center is only a New York City block away from Mountain View,... and did we really need to build an 8th rec center at Grand?) I think that should be a consideration? Of course, locating the PAC at Lake View would have been a whole lot more feasible if we still owned the property of the old Lakes Club! What the hell were they think'n? That's as bad as when we sold off our water to EPCOR!!
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2023
  10. Janet Curry

    Janet Curry Active Member

    When Marinette and Fairway were rebuilt/remodeled, did RCSC do a complete demolition like they are proposing to do at Mountain View? Just curious.
    eyesopen likes this.
  11. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Complete rebuild a Fairway, lipstick on the pig at Marinette.
    Linduska and Janet Curry like this.
  12. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Janet's question is once again the perfect fit to the MV rebuild. We did plow Fairway and start from scratch. Blank slates are always easier to work with. The Marinette site was a more convoluted issue. There was disagreement by some over saving the existing buildings already there; small auditorium and club rooms. They were built in 1980 and we decided to put lipstick on the pig. The pickleball pavilion, new gym, pool upgrades and basketball area was costing us a little over 5 million dollars (overruns bumped it up over 6 million) and the GM was getting antsy about a full tear down. From the outside it looks fine, inside there are issues that had we ripped them all down and done it right we wouldn't be dealing with today.

    Which brings us full circle to MV. The spa, fitness and indoor changing areas by the pool are in drastic need of more than lipstick. I would like to think if we are going to do this right, we incorporate into the plan, well appointed changing areas adjacent to the pool. Do we need a fitness room with Fairway less than a mile away? This is the kind stuff space allocation committees look at. I claim no expertise.

    The bigger question is the old gym? Can we repurpose it and make it the indoor dog arena? Should we even consider it? None of this is my job nor am i interested in sorting it out. However, i do believe the community at large and especially those living there are best able to help shape those choices. Start by setting a budget with reasonable expectations and fitting time lines to accomplish the plans set.

    It makes way more sense than giving it to an architect to draw up the most expensive structure they can and holding us hostage to it for the next 8 years.
    Linduska likes this.

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