Long Range Planning Committee plans for Landing’s future

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By Rog Patterson

After chatting with Fran Szutar who chairs our Long Range Planning Committee, to gather facts for this item, I was tempted to suggest she rename her team the “What If Committee.” Because that is, indeed, the underlying contribution this group of neighbors has been laboring nearly two years to provide for our community.

Since Marion Landing became resident-owned, our board members have frequently reminded us our responsibilities do not end with merely maintaining our community properties, amenities and services.

We must also expand these qualities with planned improvements to keep our Marion Landing lifestyle such that investments in our homes and community property will also be enhanced and protected.

The Long Range Planning Committee (henceforth to be the LRPC from here on) is tasked with providing our board with “…proposed programs to be considered for the overall development and enhancement of Marion Landing.” Furthermore, all of the LRPC recommendations “…must support the financial improvement and protect the residents from loss of investment.”

Established by our Board of Directors in mid-2006, the LRPC was originally chaired by Bob Fink. Fran Szutar assumed the chair in September of that year when Bob was elected a director and he now acts as the board’s liaison. Current committee members include Liz Herrick, Jim Pohlers, Les Rowe and Howard Shay. They enjoy plenty of job security since new members are added only after someone resigns.

Back in 2006, residents were invited to suggest any and all improvements or changes they felt were necessary, useful or just nice to have.

Fran says 82 suggestions were received and every single one was acknowledged. The committee arranged them in eight separate categories, including space, dog walking/people walking/beautification, water, pool, transportations, safety and lighting, and others not a consideration for LRPC. Then, based on the number of requests each received, action priorities were established. However, there is no cap on suggestions and all receive since 2006 continue to be acknowledged and considered.

Working with our Finance Committee, the LRPC was assigned a budget to fund necessary research, outside assistance, proposals and so forth as might be needed.

Some projects, such as exploring whether the present administration building can be renovated to satisfy future space needs or should be replaced with an entirely new purpose-built structure, is still a very long range item. But progress has so far identified needs for larger, more efficient facilities for the library, the craft room and for office space needed by administration employees and Board members.

Some suggestions have been explored and deemed inappropriate, impractical or unnecessary. One such was the annexation of three “dead end roads” which might or might not ever be extended by the county to connect with adjacent communities.

A way of apportioning the resultant vacant land between adjoining home owners was conceived. After a lot of study, consultation with the county, those next door communities and others, it was decided that the possibility of extending these roads was low enough not to threaten Marion Landing with an increase in traffic and that was that. But the “what if” process was fully explored en route to the decision.

Another suggestion was adding painted lap lanes on the pool floor.

This was discouraged by pool maintenance people as a source of frequent and expensive service needs. An alternative of floating pool lane divisions was explored, and the question of who would place and remove them and where they would be stored were considered. The assembled information was sent to our S&R committee for review and there it was determined too few users would not justify the expenditure. But here again, the “what if” process was accomplished.

Other residents’ suggestions being considered are a dog park. (“We thought we’d found a site, but then learned the land wasn’t ours.”) and additional paved parking space (“Asphalt paving doesn’t drain well enough to help us solve this problem, but we’re still working on it.”)

A more “further along” example came about via requests from a number of residents for a safer walking path or trail, beautifying the area in front of RV storage and a means of making memorials to deceased family members. These have been combined into a single project, focused on the area surrounding our pond behind the Lifestyle Center. Various ideas are still bouncing back and forth among LRPC members, potential outside vendors and other consultants. But the concept of a walking path around the pond coupled with planting trees for beautification, shade and future memorial use, plus exercise stations every so many yards along the way is becoming clearer and beginning to take shape with “what if” treatment.

And I think these project candidates, plus any more wants or needs you might be about to submit, still leaves our LRPC with a few of the other suggestion categories waiting to have them apply their “what if” magic.

Boy, talk about job security.

Landing Lites sing

out tomorrow

Maestro Floyd Hickman and his Landing Lites singers have put together an unusual evening of music for us tomorrow evening. In addition to a many familiar titles, chorus highlights will include a 15-minute medley from “Les Miserables”. You’ll also enjoy our own ballroom dancer, Marilyn Pineau, and her partner performing a proper tango, as well as a very different duo combining accordion with string bass. I’m looking forward to another unique Landing Lites concert.

April 1 almost here

On April 1, 1996, fast-food chain Taco Bell announced that it had bought Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, the historic symbol of American independence, from the federal government and would be re-naming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Thousands of furious citizens called to express their anger.

Mike McCurry, White House secretary at that time, was asked about the outrageous Taco Bell sale. McCurry said the Lincoln Memorial in Washington had also been sold; it was to be re-named the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Memorial after the automotive giant.

April Fool.

Rog Patterson is a Marion Landing resident and Friendship Kiwanis member. Contact him with news for the column, he’s in the Landing phone directory.