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From The Desk Of CA President Milton Matthews

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While Columbia is relatively young as communities go, several of the features and buildings in Columbia were built in the community’s earliest years. This wasn’t solely for the people already living here; these amenities also attracted others to come and served them once they arrived.

In total, Columbia Association (CA) owns 42 buildings, including the village community association offices and the neighborhood centers. Many of these buildings are getting up there in age, with some approaching 50 years old. And it’s not just the buildings themselves that date back that far. So, too, do heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems. Roofs also are aging.

It’s necessary, then, to take a close look at what needs to be replaced — and when.

CA is in the process of putting together a rolling five-year Capital Improvement Plan that will assist us with a more strategic approach to planning for, and expending dollars on, capital projects. This plan will be updated on an annual basis. We’re also sending out requests for proposals for assessment surveys so that CA’s facilities can be evaluated. These surveys will help inform us of what should be done to extend the life of these buildings or whether it is better to replace them.

As with any organization, our financial resources are allocated for many different areas. Beyond the many buildings CA owns and maintains and the multitude of services CA offers on a day-to-day basis, there will be other major projects that will need to be addressed more intermittently, such as dredging of our lakes and ponds, and dam repair.

There also will be periodic opportunities to explore the construction of new facilities. For instance, the Owen Brown Tennis Bubble is reaching the end of its lifespan and a new indoor tennis facility will be needed in the near future.

Among many other reasons, these improvements also will be made for safety and energy efficiencies; newer electrical systems operate more economically. And these improvements can be proactive initiatives — just because a roof isn’t leaking doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be replaced; you don’t wait for the water to drip in and cause other damage.

CA’s fiscal year 2016 began on May 1. Developing a rolling five-year Capital Improvement Plan is a priority; my hope is that we will have a plan in place for the start of fiscal 2017.

E-mail milton.matthews@columbiaassociation.org with questions/comments.