Dear Fellow GHPOA Residents,
What a challenging year 2020 has been! Hopefully, brighter days are on the horizon for all of us in 2021. I am pleased to report that our homeowner’s association is financially sound at the start of 2021, just as it was in 2020. An important component of this soundness is the Reserve Fund to which monthly deposits are made. Based on the most recent, independently compiled Reserve Fund Study completed in October of 2018, we are on track to fully funded status. This fund supports the substantial repair and /or replacement of GHPOA capital assets as deemed appropriate by the Board. Our financial position with this fund has allowed us to take steps to consider or initiate capital improvement projects which will be detailed in this letter. These projects support our mission of maintaining, preserving and enhancing the value of our properties.
Grounds Committee Update
The GHPOA Grounds Committee continued to work diligently on projects in 2020 which improve the appearance of the common areas in our neighborhoods. Specifically, they oversaw the annual street sign painting project by Electrostatic Painting where 135 sign poles or bases were refinished. 26 sign repairs were also made in 2020 by our mailbox contractor, Estes Design and Manufacturing. Some of the damage to the signs and poles is from normal aging, however, some is due to vandalism (theft or defacing of signs), or from the practice of using tape on the poles to post information by residents. We respectfully ask, once again, that this practice be discontinued, and any observed vandalism be reported to Geist Patrol.
In addition, the Committee also oversaw the re-negotiation of our snow removal contract. Bids were accepted, and potential vendors were thoroughly vetted. Once again, Oasis Outdoor Living was selected as our snow removal contractor. This company has provided excellent service to the GHPOA community since 2012, and we are confident that level of service will continue.
Finally, the Committee initiated a project to bring lighting to the Masthead entrances for both safety and aesthetics reasons. It is unclear why this is the only GHPOA neighborhood to which the developer did not supply power. After extensive research, it was determined that the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was through the leasing programs of the utility companies who service this area, IPL and Duke Energy. In total, 28 streetlamps will be installed in the Masthead neighborhood entrances. It is a leasing program, whereby GHPOA will pay for the installation, but the poles, lights and wiring are owned by the utility companies, who will be responsible for maintenance. GHPOA will pay the monthly energy bill.
Input for this project was sought from all residents of Masthead by way of a letter mailed to each household in June. Feedback was requested by email, or by phone call. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, we were unable to host a large meeting. After receiving positive feedback from a majority of responding Masthead residents, the GHPOA Board decided to move forward with this project in September. At that time, contracts were signed with both IPL and Duke Energy, and payments were made. Many residents expressed excitement about this project, and stated that it is long overdue due to having very dark entrances. This project will be fully funded by the GHPOA Reserve Fund and Operating Budget, and there will be no impact on our annual dues assessment from this project. Since two utility companies need to be utilized, the street lamps in Marion County and Hamilton County will not be identical, but every effort was made to coordinate the selections so that they are very similar to one another in both appearance and lighting output. Both IPL and Duke expect the project to commence between now and Feb 12, with work expected to take 2-4 weeks.
Our security services continue to be provided by Geist Patrol(GP) with a 24/7 proactive police patrol. All officers have full police powers and will take law enforcement action as necessary. The officers actively patrol our neighborhoods looking for criminal activity and responding to residents’ needs. In addition to law enforcement, the officers are first responders for medical runs, and carry AEDs and the drug Narcan in their vehicles. The officers request that our residents contact them regarding any criminal activity, as well as any noted suspicious behavior. “See Something, Say Something” is their mantra. As always, GP can be contacted directly at 317-432-3835, and at geistpatrol.com. We firmly believe that the visible presence of Geist Patrol is a significant factor in why GHPOA is one of the safest neighborhoods in the Indianapolis area.
In 2020, GP made approximately 676 runs in the community. The GHPOA Security Committee collects this run data and provides analysis for the Board to review, including any trends or unusual events. In addition, the Committee works with GP on specific safety and security initiatives deemed necessary in our neighborhoods such as providing traffic detail to enforce speed limits and adherence to traffic signs and school bus laws. GP continues to provide vacation check services, and the policy which delineates this can be found at GHPOA.com.
Community Management Services
In 2020, GHPOA re-signed a contract with Community Association Services of IN (CASI) to provide property management services for GHPOA. This followed a period of lengthy due diligence where bids from other potential vendors were requested and evaluated; interviews conducted; Board evaluation of each candidate was discussed; and negotiation of contract terms executed. Our former managing agent, Jennifer Freeman, was promoted to CASI Carmel branch president, and GHPOA was assigned a new managing agent, Carl Schwander. In addition to responding to questions and concerns from our residents, Carl conducts monthly inspections of our neighborhoods to identify covenant violations. This is a vital service which allows us to fulfill the duty and obligation delineated in our governing documents to enforce the covenants and restrictions, and aligns with our mission statement to preserve and enhance property values. You may reach Carl at email@example.com, or at 317-875-5600.
During 2020, the Communications Committee has continued to provide regular updates to all GHPOA property owners via multiple avenues of communication. Email communication is utilized for 60% of property owners who have registered on the GHPOA.com website using the TownSq portal. We encourage all residents to register on this site by clicking the “Log In” link on the home page. Your account number is needed to register, and can be found on your dues assessment billing statement. Without 100% participation for electronic mail from residents, we continue to send a semi-annual newsletter to all residents via regular mail. In addition, our Facebook page, Geist Harbours, and our website, GHPOA.com, are regularly updated with announcements. TownSq, Facebook and GHPOA.com showed average user growth of more than 15% during 2020.
A major goal of the Communications Committee in 2020 was to develop and launch a new website. This is necessary due to the fact that our current website, with limited capacity, is no longer meeting our needs. The new website will provide comprehensive information, navigation ease, and will help foster a sense of community by enabling us to display photos of community-wide events. It is anticipated that the new website will be launched by mid-January when an announcement will be made. Stay tuned!
A major accomplishment of the Social Committee in 2020 was the formation of a Welcome Committee. During the year, committee members visited the homes of approximately 125 new property owners, and delivered a welcome packet containing information about our Association. We welcome any interested residents to join this committee and help us welcome our new neighbors.
Due to the ongoing pandemic this year, fostering a sense of community by interacting with each other was especially challenging. While the pandemic severely impacted our ability to hold any interactive social events, we met this challenge in several ways. The annual garage sale was held at a later date after the lockdown period was over. We organized a “Here Comes Santa” event where Santa, accompanied by his elves and escorted by Geist Patrol, spent three hours spreading the holiday spirit by driving through the GHPOA neighborhoods. We held our annual “Deck the Homes” holiday contest which drew more entries than ever before. The holiday spirit was alive and well in GHPOA! Donated prizes, valued at almost $600, were awarded. Find photos of each of these events on our Facebook page, Geist Harbours.
Developmental Control Committee
The Developmental Control Committee (DCC) continues to review all required applications for property improvements. In 2020, the Committee reviewed 175 homeowner applications. This is a necessary function to ensure that property improvements meet our guidelines and our community standards. Documents for this review process including the DCC application and the Guidelines for improvements can be found on our website, GHPOA.com
Our infrastructure needs continue to be great as most of our City of Indianapolis owned roads and sidewalks, many original to the development, continue to decline, and our neighborhood connectivity through paths and trails has many interruptions in continuity. GHPOA continues to submit to the City the location of roads in need of repair or repaving in the GHPOA community. There was no repaving done in our community in 2020. Pothole repair can be reported at any time by residents to the Mayors Action Line at 317-327-4622. The Board will continue to communicate with City officials about the needs in our community.
There is a bright spot to report with regard to connectivity as a sidewalk is currently being built along Fox Rd, from Amy Beverland Elementary to the entrance of Feather Cove I. This is being built by the City of Lawrence, and it appears will be of normal sidewalk width. Residents have requested safe passage on this stretch of road for many, many years, and to finally have this built is a major accomplishment to be celebrated.
There are also efforts from other community groups who are advocating to complete the Fall Creek Greenway(FCG) Trail project between Fort Harrison and Fall Creek Rd at 96th St. This would provide a critical piece of connectivity for GHPOA residents by connecting 79th St to the Hamilton County Trail at 96th St/ Fall Creek Rd, and promote healthful recreation, improved social bonds, and a positive impact on our property values. The Board has heard a presentation on this topic from Indy’s Urban Wilderness, a non-profit in Lawrence Township focused on connectivity, and has formed a partnership with them. This will consist of writing a letter of support for the FCG project, enabling communication with our residents about the FCG project, and committing to an open mindedness for other levels of support which GHPOA may be able to provide in the future. Support from our community and other stakeholders will be critical to obtaining the funding necessary, as the will of the neighborhoods will help to drive this project forward. The GHPOA collaboration with McCordsville in 2015 to build the Tri-County connector on Carrol Road is an example of how these types of partnerships benefit our community. Stay tuned for more updates on this project, and how you can show your support or become involved. This trail can serve to benefit the quality of life for all residents.
Finally, as most of you know, the Admirals Pointe Drive Bridge over the North Fork Dry Branch is being replaced by the City of Indianapolis in 2021. The current timber bridge will be removed in the next few weeks, and will be replaced by a concrete beam structure that will feature three traffic lanes, concrete railings, and a sidewalk on the bridge’s west side. This project is expected to be completed by mid-summer 2021. Detours and disruptions of regular traffic patterns can be expected until that time. This achievement was the result of years of interaction between both GHPOA Board members and residents with City officials about the deteriorating condition of the bridge and the dangers it imposed, finally resulting in the decision by the City in 2018 to replace it.
Completing the Masthead lighting project is among the projects residents can expect to see in 2021. The new website launch can also be anticipated, as well as a return to interactive social events which foster a sense of community, as Covid guidelines allow for them. In addition, a project which would re-furbish and enhance the berm along Carroll Rd is being considered. This would involve the removal of all tree stumps followed by a tilling and seeding of those areas. Removal and replacement of struggling evergreens would also be considered, planting a more enduring species in their place, and creating a more attractive look in this area. And, as mentioned previously, opportunities are being explored for ways in which GHPOA can collaborate with other entities to bring much needed paths or trails to our community, thereby adding amenities which would promote healthful recreation.
All Board members carefully consider every expenditure of your dues, and as a result, our annual assessment will remain at $475 in 2021, for the third straight year.
In closing, the members of the Board believe it is a privilege and honor to represent you in this capacity, and to work towards keeping ours as one of the finest communities in the Indianapolis area. Please feel free to share with us any suggestions you may have to further improve GHPOA, or any interest you may have in serving on a committee. On behalf of the entire volunteer GHPOA Board and Committees, we wish you and your family all the best in 2021.
Susan S. Lew
GHPOA President, Feather Cove I Director