By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Sept. 6, 2018) A four-hour Ocean Pines Board of Directors work session Saturday morning, which was moved from its original location and plagued with technical difficulties, was punctuated by assertions that the OPA needs more meeting space and should stop deferring maintenance.
During a discussion on how to proceed with plans to renovate the second floor of the golf and country club, General Manager John Bailey provided an overview of what had already occurred, including a more than $500,000 remodeling of the first floor last year.
Bailey said a request for proposals to renovate the second floor with plans to add new meeting rooms is due Sept. 7. He said six builders attended a pre-bid meeting on Aug. 20.
Presumably, the bids would be delivered to the directors in time for a regular board meeting scheduled Oct. 20.
Bailey said plans originally called for a notice to proceed by Oct. 8 with substantial parts of the renovation expected between March 15 and May 24. The association spent about $520,000 to renovate the country club’s first floor and estimates for the second floor are currently about $1.3 million
Not included were costs to rent trailers to accommodate the golf pro shop and, potentially, components of the Tern Grill food and beverage operation, as well as 11 “add alternate” additions ranging from vinyl railing and siding, to an elevator and a new roof.
Asked if any of the additions were critical, Bailey pointed to a leaking roof he said compromised work already done on the first floor.
Director Slobodan Trendic, however, said he was struggling with the price tag.
“We’re basically approaching $2 million on a renovation of an amenity that’s been eating cash for years,” he said.
Trendic said he didn’t question the scope of the project, but rather the necessity. He called for a more “financially sound and conservative renovation” of a building constructed almost 50 years ago.
Others, meanwhile, said there was a clear and urgent need for more meeting space.
With less than a week’s notice, the Saturday meeting was moved from the community center to the yacht club banquet room because the original space was booked, and many in attendance complained they couldn’t hear well in the alternate location. What’s more, audio video systems used to record and broadcast the meeting malfunctioned several times.
“What’s happening right now is a good reason that we need that new space,” Director Colette Horn said.
Director Ted Moroney agreed.
“This isn’t just for golf. This is as much a community center area [to include] board meetings,” he said.
Association President Doug Parks highlighted the need to replace the failing roof and protect the investment of money spent to renovate the first floor. Parks also called for the board to correct “sins of the past” of deferred maintenance at many other association facilities.
Director Frank Daly continued that thought, saying Ocean Pines had a “damnable culture of building assets [and] letting them deteriorate into nothing.”
“It has existed for decades – it exists today,” Daly said. “In the time that I have been here, we have replaced one yacht club, the yacht pool, country club, two bridges, a Manklin Meadows playground, beach club bathrooms, changing areas at the beach club, significant golf course renovations … [and] drainage ditches.
“Every single one of them has a root cause of deferred maintenance that the association has ignored for decades … and that is one thing I’m committed to changing,” he continued. “I am sick and tired as a homeowner, and certainly as a board member, of seeing valuable assets deteriorating … because somebody just doesn’t care to maintain them.”