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WCA Board Awards Bid for Tennis Cabana Construction

Culminating a nearly two-year effort, directors awarded the $88,000 contract to Mangrove Construction.

The June 12 Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board meeting began, however, with two residents heeding WCA President Nancy Sells’ call for volunteers.

Both Glencliff resident Joanna Gratt and Woodbay resident Dan Haigy volunteered to help out on the Modifications Committee, which hears requests for changes to homes’ exteriors and yards. The Modifications Committee, which had previously consisted of three members, all voted in agreement that the committee should be increased to five members. WCA Directors voted 5-0 in favor of Gratt’s and Haigy’s nominations. Vice President Ken Blair abstained from the vote because Gratt is his wife and Secretary Keith Heinemann was not present during the vote. Sells thanked Gratt and Haigy for volunteering.

WCA Director Joe Odda, Dog Park Task Force Committee Chair, reported that Hillsborough County employees are still looking into the possibility of building a dog park on vacant county land in the Westwood Lakes neighborhood.

Representatives from Mangrove Construction attended the meeting to answer questions about their proposal to build the new tennis cabana at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center on Countryway Boulevard. Owner Richard Cangemi assured directors that his company stressed safety, would clean the construction site daily and would have a foreman present during the workday. He also said that they typically upgrade materials to provide better protection from hurricanes and that they would offer a one-year warranty on the building. Mangrove Construction was the only contractor of the three bidders to attend the meeting. Directors voted 6-1 in favor of approving Mangrove Construction to build the cabana. Heinemann abstained from the vote because he had not been present for the whole discussion.

Later in the meeting WCA Manager Debbie Sainz said that she would be sending a final proposal to the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for a grant to help cover the cost of building the new cabana. The grant could fund up to 20 percent of the overall $87,830 cost of the improvement project, which includes resurfacing all 10 tennis courts, new quick start courts, and palm scanners in addition to the new cabana. She said she is also going to send a proposal to USTA Florida for a mini-grant. When asked when construction would start, Sainz said hopefully in October or November to avoid summer camps and the rainy season.

Directors also discussed a request from Swim and Tennis Center Committee members aimed at improving the association’s communications to residents about programs offered. As requested, committee member Mary Turnbull researched companies that help organizations send out mass marketing or informational e-mails. She told the board that there were two major vendors who provided automated e-mail contact, Constant Contact and Mail Chimp. She told the board that while Constant Contact was more expensive than Mail Chimp, Constant Contact offered more support. Ultimately, she recommended that the board give WCA staff the ability to research the options and make their own decision.

Sells questioned if the current staff would have the time to add this to their duties. Sainz said that it could be good to be able to get information out to everyone in the community but that it would be very time consuming in the beginning, especially entering e-mail addresses into the new system. Pithers said that she was concerned about Westchase being behind in communication methods and staying that way because of staff time conflicts. She added she would rather see the WCA hire someone part-time than continue to remain behind the times.

Director Joaquin Arrillaga said that there would need to be rules limiting the types of communications that would be sent out. Several directors pointed out that some voting members were very proactive in sending out e-mail communications but other directors pointed out that there were also some who did not and therefore many residents did not get information. Directors also questioned what other associations did to communicate with their homeowners. Ultimately all directors voted in favor of allowing the association manager and staff to investigate which represented the best e-mail program and what other associations were using for communications. The motion also allows the board president and manager to decide what program to use and how to implement it.

All voted in favor of appointing Trina Borromeao to the Swim and Tennis Center Committee.

Odda reported that he had discussed the Citrus Park Drive extension with Hillsborough County representatives. While Odda stated all had agreed it was a needed improvement, no money currently exists in the county budget to start construction or buy the remaining parcel of land needed for the project. He recommended that a lobbying group be formed to advocate funding it. He added that the developer of the Costco project had told him that Costco would bring 200 new jobs to the area and an additional $7 million in tax revenue. All agreed to appoint Odda to head a committee that will form a coalition of surrounding neighborhood associations to begin a lobbying effort.

Sainz reported that repairs, upgrades and changes to the association’s e-mail system resulted in an increase from $150 to $800 a year for hosting services. She said it was partly due to the volume of e-mails that the association sends out and receives as well as the fact that the former system was very old. In her report, she also announced that capital contributions were higher than expected for the year and that revenue from private swim lessons had increased from last year’s number.

The terms for Darrick Sams, Joe Odda, Nancy Sells, and Keith Heinemann will be up in September. All have the option to run for reelection. The election for the four open spots will take place Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Westchase Voting Members (VMs) meeting. Any resident who is interested in running for one of the seats should submit a biography to Nominating Committee Chair Ken Blair at grattblair@aol.com for the VMs to review.

No WCA Board meeting is scheduled for July. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 14 at the WCA Offices at 10049 Parley Dr.

By Marcy Sanford

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