POA Year in Re­view

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - LYNN ATKINS [email protected]

Hy­drol­ogy, glamp­ing and pad­dle boards were added to the vo­cab­u­lary of some POA mem­bers who paid at­ten­tion to the board of di­rec­tors in 2018, as the as­so­ci­a­tion opened a new restau­rant, beach and disc golf.

In Jan­uary, a hy­drol­ogy re­port, or­dered af­ter the April 2017 floods was read by the POA board of di­rec­tors at the end of the month. In March, the pub­lic got a look at the re­port. Over 300 mem­bers at­tended an open meet­ing at Rior­dan to hear about the re­sults. The golf cour­ses will con­tinue to flood, the au­di­ence heard, and sta­bi­liz­ing the stream beds is a costly, long-term project. Even­tu­ally, a de­ci­sion was made to leave the nine holes of Berks­dale that had been dam­aged in 2017 closed but leave the open holes alone. The Coun­try Club Golf Course was named as the pri­or­ity.

By late Jan­uary, nine can­di­dates were in the run­ning for four seats on the POA board, sev­eral months be­fore the an­nual elec­tion.

In Fe­bru­ary, a Fi­nan­cial Task Force started work. Also, the board ap­proved new play­ground equip­ment for Met­field, Branch­wood and Avalon Park.

In early April, mem­bers saw the ren­o­va­tion to the Coun­try Club with a new, POA-run restau­rant and a new lo­ca­tion for the pro shop. A vol­un­teer group funded nets that gave Dog­wood Golf Course an area for prac­tice swings.

Later in April, as the board elec­tions ap­proached, an open meet­ing was called to talk about golf. Board Chair­man Ron Strat­ton urged the mem­bers to con­sider four op­tions which in­cluded clos­ing both Berks­dale and Kingswood and a new course on the POA owned land on the Arkansas/Mis­souri bor­der. Af­ter the April work ses­sion, the board pro­duced a golf po­si­tion pa­per that

rec­om­mended the clos­ing of the nine holes open at Ber­skdale and a study to de­ter­mine the fu­ture de­mand for golf. If the de­mand was found, more stud­ies would be needed to con­sider where a fifth 18 hole course should be lo­cated.

The reg­u­lar meet­ing in April drew a stand­in­groom-only crowd. The board voted to close the open sec­tion of Berks­dale at the end of the sea­son and then went into ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion. Board mem­ber Jim Abra­ham­son pre­sented a com­plaint against board mem­ber John Nut­tall ac­cus­ing him of vi­o­lat­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ethics pol­icy by com­mu­ni­cat­ing with mem­bers about the golf course is­sue. Nut­tall seemed to be against an ef­fort to build a fifth golf course on the Ark/ Mo land. At the end of the ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion, Nut­tall was re­moved from the board of di­rec­tors.

The term “glamp­ing” was used to de­scribe a small, pre­man­u­fac­tured cabin that the board agreed to in­stall at the Blow­ing Springs RV park as a pi­lot. The cabin was ap­proved in May and ready for use in the fall. The RV park, in­clud­ing sev­eral new tent camp­ing sites and im­prove­ments to both RV sites and re­strooms, was busy with the new visi­tors drawn by moun­tain trail bikes through­out the east side of town.

Also in May, it was re­vealed that the new Ber­muda greens at Scots­dale had been dam­aged over the win­ter in spite of the main­te­nance crews use of pro­tec­tive cov­ers. Scots­dale was closed for most of the sum­mer while new greens were planted and grown in. New cov­ers for the greens were or­dered.

The an­nual mem­ber­ship meet­ing and board of di­rec­tors elec­tion were held in late May and two new board mem­bers were elected — Mary Sinkus and Jerry Hoover. Two board mem­bers were relected — Pat Laury and Jim Abra­ham­son. Since Laury re­ceived the least votes of those four can­di­dates, he took the po­si­tion that was due to ex­pire in one year rather than one of the three reg­u­lar terms of three years. Chair­man Ron Strat­ton who had cham­pi­oned the cause of a new course on the Ark/Mo land had cho­sen not to run for re-elec­tion. John Nut­tall’s re­cently va­cated seat was not on the bal­lot since it opened af­ter the bal­lots were mailed. In June, the board ap­pointed Mike Abb, one of the nine can­di­dates in 2018, to fill that un­ex­pired term.

On Me­mo­rial Day week­end, the rib­bon was cut on a new amenity, a swim­ming beach at Lake Avalon Park. Along with swim­ming, the new beach would rent pad­dle boards and ca­noes. A class in pad­dle board­ing was or­ga­nized and filled up quickly.

In June, the sec­ond APT golf tour­na­ment was held. Play­ers on the APT tour are pro­fes­sional golfers who haven’t yet reached the level of the PGA.

Also in June, a new golf po­si­tion pa­per was in­tro­duced by gen­eral man­ager Tom Jud­son and even­tu­ally adopted by the board. The new plan in­cluded keep­ing the holes open at Berks­dale while the board con­sid­ers plans to de­velop the prop­erty as a park. Next door, the Kings­dale course will re­main open un­less the num­ber of rounds drops be­low 120,000 a year. If flooded, no money would be spent re­pair­ing ei­ther course. Also, the board agreed to stop con­sid­er­ing a new course on the Ark/ Mo land.

A disc golf course was open at Branch­wood where there was once a nine­hole golf course. The golf course has been closed since flood­ing in 2013 and turned into a park in 2015.

In spite of no longer serv­ing on the board, Nut­tall and his wife, Su­san Nut­tall, de­vel­oped a pre­sen­ta­tion about golf in Bella Vista. Among the high­lights was a statis­tic that in­di­cated only 18 per­cent of POA mem­bers play golf. Those golfers were di­vided into groups based on how of­ten they play. The avid golfers who play more than twice a week and pur­chase an an­nual mem­ber­ship end up pay­ing only about $13 per round.

In Au­gust, the fi­nan­cial task force fin­ished its work and rec­om­mended to the board that an elec­tion be held to raise Bella Vista as­sess­ments. The rec­om­mended in­crease was $10 for own­ers of im­proved lots and $2 for own­ers of unim­proved lots. Although the board agreed to the plan, in Septem­ber the elec­tion was abruptly can­celed. Jud­son said he was sur­prised by the lack of sup­port for an in­crease.

In Septem­ber, mem­bers saw a ren­o­vated club­house at Branch­wood with a larger ex­er­cise room and space for ex­er­cise classes.

The Oc­to­ber board meet­ing was moved to Rior­dan. This time the is­sue most mem­bers wanted to talk about was trails, with some mem­bers un­happy about the sec­ond sec­tion of trail that is planned for the cen­tral por­tions of the city.

Novem­ber’s meet­ing was about the 2019 bud­get, which was ap­proved. An ex­pense of $100,000 was in­cluded for stump dumps and Jud­son ex­plained that it might be used for a new mulching op­er­a­tion to re­place a stump dump that the state or­dered closed in the High­lands or it might be needed for re­me­di­a­tion ex­penses at the site of a for­mer stump dump on POA prop­erty. The POA con­tracted with an en­gi­neer­ing firm that will work with the state to de­ter­mine if three sites of for­mer stump dumps are safe.

File photo

The POA re­vealed a new camp­ing pod in Blow­ing Springs Park last fall. It was meant to be a pi­lot, but when the 2019 bud­get was ap­proved there were no funds in it for ad­di­tional pods.

File photo

Some of the first swim­mers to use the new beach at Lake Avalon were in the wa­ter just min­utes af­ter the rib­bon was cut on Me­mo­rial Day Week­end.

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