President, 103 Gedney Street Owners INC., Nyack, N.Y.
In March of 2003, while visiting my mother in Rockland County, I saw an ad for a large one-bedroom apartment with river views in Nyack. I’d been looking to buy an apartment for several months but hadn’t considered returning to the area where I grew up. I called the real estate agent out of curiosity and ended up making an offer the next day. Later, during my interview with the board of directors, I asked a lot of questions about the building’s management and finances, and the board seemed to appreciate my interest. At the close of the interview, they asked whether I would ever consider serving on the board. “Sure,” I said. In February 2004, a vice president resigned, and I was appointed to fill the seat. In May 2005, I became president.
Constructed in 1964, our building has 95 units and a wonderful sense of community. During the summer months, that feeling is heightened as residents gather around one of our most prized amenities: the swimming pool. Surrounded by the river, boats, and mountains, it provides a serene, resort-like atmosphere. Each season, its Memorial Day opening is eagerly awaited by residents and their families and friends.
But by the end of last summer, it was apparent that our pool was in need of attention. The concrete deck was settling and the pool itself had some surface and plumbing issues. The board looked at several options and after consulting with professionals, determined that the most cost-effective solution would be to update the plumbing, install a vinyl liner, and pour a new concrete deck.
With that in mind, we selected a mason and a pool specialist to spec out the project. A budget was set and a work schedule agreed upon: demolition would take place during the winter; construction would start after the spring thaw and be completed in time for a Memorial Day opening. At our semi-annual open meeting in November, we announced our pool renovation plan to the shareholders along with a special assessment to pay for it. The news of the assessment caused few if any complaints; shareholders understood the importance of the project and envisioned the tangible benefits they’d enjoy.
Demolition began as planned over the winter – and along with it came a few surprises and added costs. Beneath the pool deck, our mason discovered additional layers of concrete and cavities in the sub-base. A revised plan called for crushed stone and gravel to fill the voids and a rebar grid to support the new concrete deck. In addition, our pool contractor recommended a new epoxy resin that would provide superior durability to a vinyl liner.
Before construction could begin in the spring, however, we were required to obtain permits from the Board of Health and the Department of Buildings. This should have been a simple matter of providing an update to plans and drawings already on file. But the original plans for our pool could not be located, and our engineer was required to prepare all-new plans and drawings. It was now April and we expected to receive permits and begin construction by early May, with a slightly delayed pool opening in June. At our annual meeting in May, we presented a draft of the new plans to our shareholders but were still awaiting permits as our engineer worked through the details with the Board of Health. The pool opening would be pushed back to the fourth of July.
It was the height of the pool season when permits were finally issued in mid-July. With the approvals in hand, our contractors needed to revise their proposals and schedule the work. It’s just after Labor Day as I write and work is finally underway. The new plumbing was installed and has passed inspection and the sub-base for the new concrete deck is nearly complete. Over the next few weeks, the epoxy coating will be installed, the concrete deck will be poured, and the pool will be filled just in time to install its brand new winter cover.
It’s been a tough summer without our beloved pool but the experience has taught us a few lessons: plan for surprises, expect delays, budget way more than you think you’ll need, and be careful what you promise. Through all the delays and assurances of a pool opening sometime this season, our shareholders have been amazingly patient. That patience will surely be rewarded next summer as we enjoy our newly renovated pool.