By Mark Gruttadauria
After a long winter that included a 10-day period with three different Nor’Easters hitting the area, it looks like Spring has finally arrived. Lawns are started to become brighter shades of green, trees are starting to bud, and of course, temperatures are on the rise. The change in seasons also signifies the start of the outdoor activities, as youth sports teams are seen practicing across communities and parks and other communal areas once again become daily meeting sites.
For local communities, it means preparing for annual spring cleaning, repairs and maintenance. The to-do list can get quite long after a harsh winter, with many cleaning, landscaping and gardening jobs taking priority to replenish and revitalize buildings, gardens, planters, water features, playgrounds, and walkways. The good news is if your community or neighborhood association has done its job, you’ll see a large turnout of residents lending a hand to take care of their communities.
This is also the time to assess larger and longer term needs – especially anything that might require larger capital investment. Larger, higher cost projects require advance planning and a lengthier approval process for funding. They could include office or garage renovation, new construction, parking area paving, speed bumps, pool installation, tree removal or planting, or any other capital improvements to make the community more attractive to residents and businesses.
Smart associations understand that, just as regular maintenance (including spring cleanup) help to build a positive daily perception, these larger developments are a long-term these are long-term investments in the community’s future. It’s simple: a cleaner and more modern community is naturally going to have maximum curb appeal.
The catch, though, is that community organizations may not have a lump sum available to fund larger projects, which is why future planning is critical. When big-ticket items are approved, funding plans must also be in place, whether that means local fund raising, business sponsorships, city funding (less and less likely, unless residents are willing to endure tax hikes), or project loans (hopefully from local banks that are happy to work with community organizations).
Whatever the plan, it has to be put in place long before the project breaks ground. So, when your planting flowers, trimming hedges, or sowing grass this spring, take note of any larger community improvement opportunities and bring them to your community association board, so they can consider them early enough to make a real difference.
Many local financial institutions, like The Milford Bank, work closely with community associations and other similar organizations, understanding they, too, have a role to play in supporting these communities. If you are considering a major project that will require funding, be sure to talk to a representative from The Milford Bank representative to find out how we can help.