1. Why is the Association exploring building a Health Club?
The Association is exploring building a Health Club facility for three reasons; first, the Association recently conducted a survey of Covenant members that showed residents were very interested in having a health related facility.
Second, a 2014 national survey showed that private clubs that added health centers, casual dining, and pools, experienced increases in overall golf and tennis memberships. Such an increase would enhance the overall vitality of these key community assets.
Finally, according to the local real estate brokerage community, having such a facility would enhance the desirability of living in the Covenant and potentially improve our community’s real estate values. In light of these facts, the Board established a committee made up of interested residents to follow up on these survey findings, research surrounding competitive communities and explore the feasibility of adding a Health Club.
2. Where would the new Health Club be located?
A number of locations were reviewed, with a focus on the existing Golf and Tennis area for two reasons. First, of all existing Covenant-owned properties, it is the one already zoned for such a new facility. Second, adding the Health Club to the existing Golf and Tennis Clubs enhances the community-gathering goals of all three entities.
3. What will this facility include?
The vision is to create an upscale facility to exercise, meet friends and enjoy casual dining fare any time of day. Importantly, it is envisioned as a community hub that complements the Golf and Tennis Clubs, providing a venue where members of all ages, including children, can gather in a relaxed setting. Specifics will be defined with member input during the Planning Phase.
4. Why build it now?
For many years, there were very few upscale communities that offered amenities such as golf, tennis and a recreational trail system, as well as large lot sizes in this area. But more recently, competition for the real estate dollar has come from new communities such as The Bridges, Cielo, Santa Luz and The Crosby. To attract affluent buyers, the developers designed these newer communities with amenities that were attractive to evolving lifestyles and family configurations.
The top three amenities in these newer residential areas are community-gathering fitness facilities, casual dining venues and pool complexes. Certainly, there are many unique attributes that contribute to the Covenant’s desirability, but there are compelling reasons to consider the addition of a central community Health Club as an enhancement to our wonderful community.
5. How much is this project expected to cost?
Based on the committee’s initial work, the approximate range for the project cost is estimated to be around $9 – $11 million. However, the actual cost of this project will be determined during 2 the planning phase, which is what we are proposing as the next step. Based on community feedback during this phase regarding amenities, design and scale, the professional consultants will be able to more accurately estimate the cost.
6. How will we pay for the project?
The various funding options will be explored and refined during the planning phase, but initial ideas include a combination of Covenant Enhancement funds, membership sales and financing.
7. Will this project raise my Association Dues?
No, this project would not raise Association dues or taxes.
8. If we spend money on the Health Club, does this prevent us from spending on other projects, such as high speed internet or moving utilities underground?
Not necessarily. While our Association budget is finite, the initial financial model indicates that this project is well within our financial means, and would not preclude pursuing other key projects.
However, careful comparative analysis of cost and benefits, with input from the community, will be an ongoing priority for the Board as we examine major project proposals such as those mentioned above, for the community.
9. For those who join the Health Club, is there an initial sign-up fee and monthly dues?
All costs and fees will be determined during the Planning Phase. However, at a minimum all Association members would be able to use the new casual dining venue without fees or dues (just as they can at the Golf Club dining facilities).
10. What exactly am I voting on?
A “yes” vote would provide direction to the Association Board to invest approximately $350,000 to have professionals help with a 6-9 month Planning Phase, in which we survey membership, explore synergies with existing facilities and amenities, develop site studies, required engineering analyses, an architectural concept design, cost, and financing.
The results will be presented to all residents in multiple open sessions for review, feedback and refinement. Subsequently, a community vote would be held in 2015 asking members if they would like to go forward with the Building Phase.
11. If I vote “yes” on this vote now, can I still vote “no” on actually building the project?
Yes. The sole purpose of this first vote is to enable the Association to develop a more substantial plan so the community has more concrete details, costs and views of what would be in the proposed project prior to the vote to build such a facility.
12. Why would I vote to support this if I have no intention of using it?
Preliminary research showed that such facilities are some of the most heavily used in top communities, oftentimes by those initially unenthusiastic. According to the Club Managers Association, a 2014 national survey showed that 93% of clubs adding health centers, casual dining and pools enjoyed significant jumps in golf and tennis membership. Association members who do not join may still gain tangible benefits, such as increased property values, and intangibles, such as community togetherness.
13. How can I find out more about this project?
Information can be found on the Association website: www.rsfassociation.org.