From the Fountains of Raintree Lake Homeowners Association Board
On Monday, June 20th the contractors completed their work on the Roundabout Project and will remove their equipment on Tuesday. Our next step is to power wash the sidewalk circle, walkway and the streets to ensure all surfaces are clean.
In the middle of the roundabout is a pad for a large fountain if approved. There is also water and electricity close to the pad to support a fountain.
The work reduced homeowner liability and eliminated repair costs and maintenance costs. Thank you for your support.
The Roundabout Fountain Project Phase I continues and it is important for everyone to keep their distance for safety reasons. A 10 ton load of rock was delivered today on the South Side of the roundabout. We expect an additional 20 tons to be delivered on Thursday. We believe this phase will be finished by this weekend.
After the rock is spread out we will have top soil delivered and installed. Again there will be trucks and equipment in the roundabout area so please avoid. Thank you for your help.
June 1, 2022, work at the roundabout continues and we hope to have the concrete bowl broken up this week and AB3 delivered. The AB3 will be delivered to the East Side of the roundabout and will block that area. Rain slowed progress and we hope Thursday and Friday will be dry days this week. Please avoid the roundabout while the workers work in the area. Thanks for your help.
May 26th between rain showers the contractors were able to drain the fountain bowl as low as the pump would allow. The contractors also punched some test exploratory holes in the concrete bowl. They went to rent a breaker attachment that they had reserved to break the concrete up, but it had been rented out to someone else. So, May 27th the Contractor will return to break up the concrete. Around 1:00PM a load of AB3 is being delivered and will block the roundabout on the east side. Plywood will be laid down to protect the sidewalk and the AB3 will be moved to fill the hole. Weather forecast is no rain tomorrow so we can make progress. If possible, when driving try to avoid the roundabout and use one of our other streets. Thanks for your help during this stage.
Today, Tuesday we are receiving a lot of rain and more rain is forecast this week. One concern is with the heavy mowing equipment is ruts in yards and common ground so decisions will be made based on the weather this week.
The Board wanted to provide information on the mowing of our grounds.
There is a contract negotiated every two years that includes mowing, flowers at the monuments and snow removal. The contract that we are currently under was negotiated by the last Board and is what we must follow. When there are problems, Area reports those to Outdoor Solutions, our current contractor, and pictures are helpful. The contractor determines how to handle the issue as there is no remedy in the current contract. Outdoor Solutions utilizes commercial mowing equipment which is much heavier than a lawnmower you may have used in the past. This is one of the reasons we monitor the weather because it must be dry enough not to cause ruts.
A new contract will be negotiated by the end of the year for two years and most likely costs will increase due to labor and gas and inflation. We had one homeowner respond to the request for a committee to be involved in the selection of a contractor. Our HOA’s highest costs are mowing and watering the grass in the summer and snow removal in the winter. So, costs are a large consideration while negotiating a contract.
When negotiating the mowing contract, the snow removal contract is negotiated at the same time. We operate under the snow removal contract that was negotiated by the last board. Our current contractor, Outdoor Solutions uses trucks with snow blades. Several homeowners are concerned about damage to their drives and put-up cones to not have them remove the snow because of the equipment. We did not have Outdoor Solutions clear the streets as the city is responsible and since we pay taxes we did not want to pay twice. Also, we found this year that Outdoor Solutions has other Commercial Customers, and they chose to clean their snow ahead of us delaying us by a day. Again, costs play a large part in how the snow removal contract is negotiated. When it snows it must be over 2 inches and payment is made on how deep the snow is measured.
Watering is another large expenditure and a review of our payment for last August was $23,001.16. Currently the flowers at the entrance monuments are being watered and the main water system will be turned on after June 1st. The ground is saturated with rainwater at this time and the forecast will be monitored to determine when to water. The water operation is not like previous homes you may have owned where you could decide how much to water, and it was whatever you could afford. The Fountains Sprinkler System was built overtime and we believe the first homes were in 2004. So, we are coupled together with many acres of common ground, and it is not by individual. Generally, there are two waterings a week during summer, but the weather conditions are monitored, and decisions are based on that and costs.
The Board wanted to share this information as summer begins and to inform you about contract negotiations the next Board will undertake. The contracts determine how mowing and snow removal will be managed. Each of you are invited to join committees or run for the Board and participate. Thank you for your support.
Update on the Roundabout Project from the FRLHOA Board
On April 29, 2022, at 3:00PM at the Duck Pond Activity Center an open meeting was held to discuss the Roundabout Fountain Project. The meeting objectives were to educate homeowners on the Roundabout Fountain Project and listen to alternative proposals. The slides from the presentation and meeting minutes are on the website if you did not attend the meeting. The Board elected to stop work that was scheduled on the project until after the meeting to incorporate feedback and new ideas. Although this caused a delay, we thought it was important.
The three weeks since the meeting has seen much activity and because of the feedback, we have included more contractors and their bids with various solutions. The Board has had many budget discussions and the previous Board had projects that significantly reduced the amount we could spent on the project; as an example, the $45,000 sidewalk project. So, this factor eliminated several bids and was a factor in the scope of the project. As we refreshed bids most contractors need to increase the costs of previous bids because of the 8.3% inflation we are experiencing and the rising cost of fuel and labor. One of our top contractors had a date for work of June 27th and we worked with him to update his bid over the last week. On Tuesday of this week, we received an email from him that he has decided to withdraw from bidding the project. “In light of several significant material and fuel increases.” We believe there were also other factors that contributed to his decision to withdraw.
Yesterday afternoon on May 19th the Grounds Committee and Board met by the roundabout to discuss the contractors’ ideas and cost and to have him submit a contract for our review. At 4:00PM yesterday the board and Grounds Committee Chairperson met to discuss the current contractors’ bids and budget information. Our goal is to remedy the current roundabout problems by the end of June. As a reminder from presentations on the website over the last year and the April 29th presentation the following is a recap of problems:
Several professionals have stated the fountain was improperly designed and constructed.
Pools of water and other artificial landscaping features can make our fountain a magnet for children in the Fountains and Raintree neighborhood. But the very things that make it so attractive can also make it dangerous – so dangerous those features can lure teens and children onto the HOA property to play. It can attract skateboards and bicycles.
There is no fence enclosing the fountain feature protecting those that might decide to enter the area. Lee’s Summit statues “any pool of water over 24” with sides that are not earth must have a fence.
After discussing a repair solution, the Board and Common Ground Committee did not believe it was feasible or effective. Past repair efforts did not achieve results and there were no warranties by the contractors. The repair costs were high and fence cost to address liability concerns were a factor.
Our goal in the first part of the roundabout fountain project is to rid the area of an attractive nuisance with a faulty design & a liability to the HOA residents. Our homes are an investment, and we all want to keep our property values up and enjoy our neighborhood.
Second Phase discussion
A learning from the April 29th Meeting and other discussions is the replacement of a structure in the roundabout space once the liabilities and other problems are removed is important. Our original approach was to complete the work and then have a committee determine what would go in the space. During the April 29th meeting we had a few slides of potential fountains that would look good in the space, and we believe that helps residents visualize the future. So, we decided to include the base for a fountain in the 1st phase and are part of the bids we are reviewing. The base for the fountains we have looked at are about 10’ in diameter and require water and electricity to be run to the base for any fountain selected. There are many extra items to consider when finalizing a fountain which includes cover to protect it during the winter, cost of opening and closing each season, accessibility to the pump, etc. The second phase of purchasing a fountain for the roundabout space and securing funding will be handed over to the next board after the election.
We are blessed with a wide range of experts and interested residents. It is important that you allow your elected representatives to work on this and avoid contacting the contractors directly or approaching them at the roundabout. We experience delays, cost increases in our negotiations. We greatly appreciate your help and will provide dates once we are able to secure a contractor.
Cut down the trees to aid Mr. Hill in maintaining the fountain.
Option 2: 4 Votes
Leave the trees and volunteer once or twice per week to clean the fountain
Option 3: 9 Votes
Leave the trees and hire a pool management company to maintain it.
Option 4: 27 Votes
Suggestions ranging from removing the fountain, to filling it in with dirt and making a huge flower pot to removing and installing another fountain. Regardless, these folks asked for the decision to be tabled until the new board is in place.
The decision on the fountain will be tabled until the new board is in place.
Thank you for your input, it will be gathered and given to the new board in July.
In response to the informal poll that was sent to the neighborhood this morning, below is the response from the Grounds Committee. We feel that the neighborhood needs to be properly informed regarding the circle fountain.
The Grounds Committee has gone on record to adamantly oppose the removal of the four trees.
Removing the trees will NOT solve the problems of that fountain (there will still be leaves from surrounding trees and plantings, plus the mulch that could cause issues. Will these be removed next? As was researched and presented to the neighborhood in April of 2019, the correct solution to the many issues of this fountain would be to demolish the current feature and replace it with a fountain that could be maintained by a company certified to perform these services. As it is right now, no company will touch it (this option was researched for the 2019 presentation and no company was willing to undertake this job).
The current feature has required repairs numerous times to ‘fix’ the leaking problems and pump repair, but the problems always reoccur. The repairs done for this year amounted to $4,000 and it is again
leaking. This is a waste of time and money that would be better used in replacing the current fountain. It is a concrete bowl with 4 feet of water with no safeguards surrounding it, which makes it a legal liability to the community and homeowners. It has no drain and no filter which is why it is a cleaning nightmare and makes it a pool not a fountain and is why no pool or fountain company will manage it.
We suggest any action regarding the fountain be tabled until the new Board is selected and given the time and opportunity to review the situation and then make a determination based on facts for the good of the entire neighborhood.
Many of you are aware Dennis Hill has been maintaining the fountain for several years now. Though quite a few of you stop to thank him, you may not be aware he does this at his expense. He neither asks for or receives any reimbursement. It is becoming increasingly difficult for him due to the four deciduous trees located around it. The leaves fall continually, the pump sucks them in and the fountain is clogged. His frequency of cleanings and unclogging has increased to as much as every other day, and sometimes two or three days in a row. Due to physical limitations, he has lost the help of others. Cutting down the trees will reduce the frequency and labor tremendously. This, however, has been met with opposition. We would like to have your input.
Option 1: Cut down the trees to aid Mr. Hill in maintaining the fountain.
Option 2: Leave the trees and volunteer once or twice per week to clean the fountain
Option 3: Leave the trees and hire a pool management company to maintain it.
Please call or email Sandy at Area Real Estate with your thoughts. We appreciate your timely response.
Renovation and reconstruction of The Fountains walking trail along Raintree Drive is nearing completion of Phase 2. Removal of the deteriorated trail is complete, and our newly contoured walkway will be poured today and possibly one more day, weather permitting. Homeowners are welcome to observe from the safety of the City sidewalk along Raintree Drive after 10AM.
Phase 3 (Final) landscaping and drainage improvements will commence as soon as the walkway construction is completed.
The Estates fountain renovation is done. The contractor did a nice job of cosmetic patching of several existing cracks in the bowl. His estimate is a 90% reduction of leaks, with multiple coats applied. The coatings are hardened, and the fountain is being re-filled for operation.
Our goal to stabilize the existing fountain in a cost effective manner has been achieved, giving us time to further develop plans for the costly replacement of the structure.
The attached before and after photos are for reference. One of the significant cracks is shown in photo one, above the photographers shadow.
Homeowners were asked to consider replacement of the deteriorated fountain in our HOA survey earlier this year, at a projected cost of $74,800.00. Your HOA has seen little enthusiasm for undertaking such an expensive project, and there is still no consensus on exactly what an acceptable replacement fountain would look like.
The Board has received input from a number of homeowners, suggesting a less extensive renovation of the fountain would extend its life and postpone replacement until a design process led by residents has time to meet and develop options.
The Board has accepted a bid to drain, power clean, patch, and seal the fountain with a commercial epoxy for $3,500.00. It will be re-painted a deep royal blue. The work may take a week to complete, if weather allows. Board member Margarite Hill will supervise the work.
Homeowners should note your Board is working hard to accomplish capital repairs in the most reasonable and cost effective manner. No special assessment is required for this revised project.
The Fountains at Raintree Homeowners Survey Results May 28, 2020
The results of the May survey requesting homeowners to prioritize infrastructure repair projects are presented below. There was a slight delay to incorporate late responses. 120 homeowners responded. Not every response ranked all items.
Walking trail repairs
Estates fountain repair/replacement
Cottonwood tree removal/re-plant
Dredge & repair main pond
There were 11 “No” votes on all projects.
Fifteen homeowners responded with written remarks, which will be summarized for discussion at our Annual Meeting.
A detailed three-step project plan for walking trail repairs with pricing will be presented to the membership at the Annual Meeting. The presentation will include alternatives for funding.
Your Board appreciates the thoughtful responses and everyone’s participation in helping guide our infrastructure repair expenditures.
This month’s Survey from your Board includes four discrete capital projects that need to be done in the near future. The information below provides a summary of the issue with our pond.
Our main pond has not been dredged since The Fountains was established. The original small farm pond was enlarged and lined by our developer before 2008. It now contains 12+ years of siltation nearly filling the original 10+ foot depth of our pond.
We are required to maintain the unobstructed flow of water through our pond, as part of the Missouri Conservation Department’s drainage plan. Our pond water also flows into Raintree Lake, which has an interest in our pond not contributing to their siltation issues. Siltation (deposits of dirt and debris from storm runoff) is an ongoing issue. Raintree RLPOA deals with siltation at Raintree Lake. Their annual budget for siltation abatement and dredging this year is $226,400.
Enclosed is a current depth mapping of our pond. The average depth is less than 2.5-feet, filled with siltation from the original installed drain depth of 10+feet depth.
The photos below show the work done in 2017 by your Board to remove siltation and restore the banks of our upper settling pond (above the main pond). This was funded by an approved special assessment totaling approximately $27,000, or approximately $155 per homeowner.
Capital Projects with Estimated Assessment Costs per Household Preference Ranking will be mailed to ask homeowners to prioritize repairs
Dredge and Repair Ponds $1,300.00
Replace leaking Estates Fountain $425.00
Walking Trail Repairs $365.00
Cottonwoods Removal and Replant $310.00
*NOTE: 2020 estimated costs based on first bids
Assessments for Capital Projects are One-Time Costs per Household.
Homeowners rejected the Board’s recommended $24.87 per month dues catch-up proposal last Fall that would have funded all repairs.
There will be some electricians from Jackson County Electrical Services working in the area starting on December 6th (date could change based on weather conditions). They will be working to correct some unsafe conditions so don’t be alarmed when you see them.
There will also be some Evergy (formerly KCP&L) personnel working with them the first day or two. Please avoid any areas where you see these folks working so that they can safely do their jobs without having to look out for any of us in their work areas. The electricians will be working on just about every electrical junction box in the area at some time during this repair.