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Off to see the Wizard: Summerfield Civic Association wins top honor with 'Oz' theme

Oregon Community Association Institute names SCA as 2013 Civic Association of the Year


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - A WINNING TEAM - Hard-working SCA staff and board members include (front row from left) Board of Directors Vice President Barbara Stayton; President Rod Sacconaghi, and Diane Ragsdale, SCA bookkeeper/receptionist; and (back row from left) board Treasurer Jack Auerbach; board Director Glenn Jay; Rick Sullivan, golf course superintendent; Cari Froeber, SCA administrator; and Rob Lindsey, golf pro.Summerfield turned into Oz in 2013, at least in the eyes of Summerfield Civic Association Administrator Cari Froeber.

"Sometimes… I feel like Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz,'" she wrote in her winning nomination that earned Summerfield the Community Association Institute’s Oregon Chapter 2013 Association of the Year Award in the very-large category.

"And in 2013, I felt like saying, 'Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore…' After the symbolic tornado, I found myself heading down the yellow brick road, chanting 'Carpet, fobs and roof, oh, my!'"

All three issues took a lot of Froeber's time as well as that of the Board of Directors, starting with replacing the upstairs carpet in the Clubhouse that had only recently been installed.

"The contractor/designer team hired in 2011 had made a grave mistake and installed residential carpet instead of commercial carpet," Froeber wrote. "So off to see the Wizard I was… asking for the correct carpet (with installation set for March). But then, much like Dorothy's obstacles on the yellow brick road (the apple trees, the poppies, etc.), we ran into some issues with the carpet installation."

The original glue had not had time to "cure" so the underlayment was pulled up along with the residential carpet; this was followed by a contractor attempting to install incorrect underlayment; and finally, after the underlayment issue was addressed, the installer made the wrong cuts in the new commercial carpet.

"At last, the seams were covered with some beautiful accent strips without anybody knowing that it wasn't the original design," Froeber wrote.

The fobs issue actually went fairly smoothly after the Clubhouse got a new security and access-control system, including security cameras, which meant residents had to exchange their old keys for fobs.

"This complex system and plan took months to prepare for, and the conversion went surprisingly well, thanks to a host of resident volunteers, dedicated staff and a professional vendor," Froeber wrote.

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - THE WAY TO OZ - Summerfield Civic Association Administrator Cari Froeber imagined that a yellow brick road led to the Clubhouse in her nomination of the SCA for the Civic Association of the Year Award.And then there was the Clubhouse roof, which has had leaks and problems since its inception, according to Froeber.

"Fix or replace?" she wrote. "What would the Wizard say? The Wizard said, 'Replace. And while we're up there, replace the rotten wooden enclosure that screens all of the HVAC equipment. And while you're up there, replace the defunct A/C unit too (which entails replacement by crane).'

"All of these decisions, bidding and consultations were throughout 2013, with the actual work beginning in spring 2014."

Froeber pointed out that all of these projects took place while the regular business of the civic association was going on.

"After visiting Oz and receiving the gifts, it is time to head back to 'regular' Summerfield," her nomination concluded. "While 2013 was challenging, exhausting, colorful and successful, I'm looking forward to the plain black-and-white version for 2014. And ultimately, each and every day, the residents and I are able to proudly and gratefully say, 'There's no place like Summerfield… there's no place like Summerfield.'"

The Community Association Institute supports homeowners associations and their managers, boards, residents and volunteers, and each year it offers the opportunity to self-nominate for the Association of the Year Award in four categories based on the number of units. The nomination process includes answering a few questions and writing an essay about the association's accomplishments, obstacles and goals.

Summerfield's award was handed out at the CAI kick-off event in January, with SCA Board President Rod Sacconaghi accepting the award on behalf of the association.

"The committee that reviewed the (nominations) said that Summerfield's was the most creative of all the entries," Froeber wrote in the March issue of the association's monthly newsletter, "Summerfield Summary."

On March 5, some of the staff and board members gathered in the Clubhouse to celebrate the accomplishment, with Froeber noting, "I get the application from CAI every year, and I've applied four out of the past five years."

Summerfield also won the 2008 award with Froeber writing the winning nomination, and she told the Regal Courier at the time that in her office is a plaque showing that Summerfield won the award in 1996.

As for how Froeber, who took over as administrator in June 2008, came up with the "Wizard of Oz" theme for the application, she said, "Some years are more active than others. Every month, all I talked about was the carpet, fobs and the roof, oh, my! And I do love that movie."

Sacconaghi added, "I thought we would be done with the roof by now, but we dealt with constant crises last year."

Board member Barbara Stayton joked, "Some years we just stroll down the yellow brick road, but this year there were obstacles at every turn."

As for how Froeber learned that Summerfield had won the award, she said, "If you get a call the week of the event and a personal invitation to come, you know you have won. But five of us were already going."

Sacconaghi pointed out, "You've got to have a rough year to win the award…"

"And do something extraordinary," Stayton added.

"Look at our golf course - it's a reason we won too," Sacconaghi said. "Golf Pro Rob (Lindsey) is a factor in that."

Indeed, Froeber pointed out in her application that "the Summerfield Golf Course exceeded the golf revenue budget for the year by $31,000 and was $46,000 over 2012. The best news is that we were just $4,000 short of the all-time revenue record from 2003 - amazing!

"We have the best golf course superintendent/crew and the best golf pro/team, and it shows. The mix of immaculate course conditions, along with the marketing efforts and superb customer service from the Pro Shop, created this fantastic and successful year."

SCA Treasurer Jack Auerbach pointed out, "We learned at CAI that nationally, when clubhouses hit 30 to 40 years old, they start showing their age. Our Clubhouse was started in 1973 and finished in 1974, so it's 40 years old. If not for our accrued reserves, we could have faced some serious financial issues, but thanks to previous boards and good management, we could afford to fix the problems."

Could Summerfield really be a magical place somewhere over the rainbow after all?