By: Jeff Sweitzer email@example.com
Happy New Year to all our wonderful Sandy Pines and Lake Monterey Golf Course Members! Goodbye, 2020 which was supposed to be the Year of Clear Vision! Hello 2021! Last year was a very challenging year for all of us. However, we persevered to get through the season and the year. We still had many blessing to be thankful for in 2020. It brought out many good things as we witnessed people helping others in need, spending more time with our families, and showing more appreciation for all the blessings we have in life.
Now it is time to celebrate 2021 by kicking off our 50th Anniversary here at Sandy Pines. As we continue to stay in contact with our state, county, and township officials, we continue to communicate our plan for 2021 which is to have a normal opening and season. 2020 is in the rearview mirror. We were filled with uncertainty and anxiety whether we would be able to open our Happy Place or not. We proved that we could open and have a safe, successful season during a COVID-19 pandemic. If the pandemic restrictions continue into 2021, we know we have a plan in place that we already executed in 2020 to open Sandy Pines and Lake Monterey Golf Course.
Our 50th Anniversary sub-committees continue to meet weekly to develop fantastic events for our 2021 season long celebration. Once a month, the sub-committee leaders present to leadership their status on events, help needed, budget and sponsorship levels to support the cost for these events of which many will be 2021 signature events. The committee is targeting a goal of $75,000 to cover cost for our season long events. These costs will be offset by the sale of sponsorship levels. Sponsorships range from Platinum level for $5,000.00 to sponsoring individual events at $100.00. Why buy a sponsorship you ask? The answer is you will receive significant advertising for you or your business. Advertising will be anywhere from social media to banners to having your family or business name on merchandise or logo wear! Our first round of sponsorship requests was emailed to our members. We know many of our members have your own businesses. Our second round of sponsorship requests were sent to our partnered suppliers who support Sandy Pines. We would like to Thank those members who have already purchased sponsorships as well as FCC Construction, Baar Legal, Beene Garter and Ottawa Kent. We are currently at 23% of our goal or $17,000 toward our $75,000 target. We appreciate your consideration in making these 2021 events happen.
Our staff continues to do an excellent job this off season to get us ready for your return in 2021. This awesome crew truly does all the heavy lifting. They did an excellent job running their departments and keeping up with the business while safely working remote during the public health orders issued in December. Lessons were learned from March and April 2020 shutdowns where we were not equipped or able to support our member or park needs fully. Our Remote Work Policy addressed equipment needs, software needs, and scheduling needs to allow our team to work safely from home while fully serving our members and park.
Our Board of Directors is also working hard in preparation for the upcoming 2021 season. There were many items on our December 2020 board meeting agenda.
The board voted and appointed a new board director. The appointment is for this year only per our Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 7, Sub Section 3. We would like to congratulate Stephanie Saypannha as our new board director. We would also like to thank the other members who stepped up and volunteered to fill the vacancy on the board due to the unexpected passing of Chad Ostrom. The board had a tough task as all members on the ballot were excellent selections. We encourage those who were not appointed to the board during this process to run for upcoming board positions in August 2021. More information on our new board director is in the Board of Directors section of the January Footprints.
2021 Committee liaisons were also reviewed and approved during our December 2020 board meeting. We are blessed and thankful to have an active board supporting many of our committees for Sandy Pines and Lake Monterey Golf Course. The board approved the continuation of the Lake Study Committee in 2021 and beyond. As a reminder, the Lake Study Committee was established in 2020 as a short-term, ad hoc committee to develop recommendations to improve, sustain and protect our number one asset, Lake Monterey. We would all agree that there remains much to be done in this area. We will be reviewing who will continue to lead this committee with the appointment of its current chairperson, Stephanie Saypannha, to the board.
Sandy Pines Wilderness Trails and Lake Monterey Golf Course 2019-2020 financials were also approved during our December 2020 board meeting. Under the leadership of the entire staff and board, we had an excellent year in 2019-2020. Please review our CFO Kimberly Williams’ finance update for more details.
Our FEMA North Shore building remains on track for April 2021. Walls are up and painted. Floors will be complete this month. Windows will be installed. Furniture is being quoted. We will need to decide on a furniture supplier to furnish the building by the end of January or beginning of February. Feedback from staff and our FEMA team is that the building looks great. We cannot wait for our members to see this wonderful asset to the park this season.
We continue to receive much feedback on the cart bridge project we kicked off earlier this fall. As a reminder, there is no safe way for our members to move from Phase 3 to Phase 6 or vice versa. We have many campers, children and grandchildren driving golf carts between these two phases. In 2017, Sandy Pines had an incident where a worker, teenager, was hit by a vehicle at this crossing. After that incident, Sandy Pines was strongly advised to provide a safe way to move between Phase 3 and Phase 6 to get to activities, events, etc. Traffic volume has increased on 26th Ave making this a potential hazardous situation waiting to happen. Our Long-Range Planning Committee developed options to explore: 1. Cart Bridge or 2. Cart Tunnel. The cart bridge was decided to be the path to take based on cost, security, and timing. How is this different than crossing the street in front of administration to get to Monterey Pines Store? The difference is that Phase 3 and 6 as well as the activities and events our campers and members are getting to are part of the park. The store across from administration is not part of Sandy Pines. This project is well overdue. In December 2020, we signed a letter of intent for a bridge developer to draft designs which meet MDOT and Allegan County Road Commission specifications for a pedestrian, golf cart bridge. Those designs will be available this month for review by the board. After board review, designs will be submitted to Allegan County Road Commission for approval. The next step once approved by ACRC is to submit the designs for quote to 2-3 bridge construction companies to receive cost and timing. The construction of the bridge itself will take up to 10 weeks. The goal is to try to have a bridge in place by May 2021. This is all pending design approval. If you have any additional questions, please contact our Board of Directors or me. We appreciate your continued support on this project.
The team will also be working on our IT systems upgrade project this month. We kicked off a solution provider to spend 4-6 weeks with each department to witness the systems, software and processes each department uses to run our business. The solution provider will then be tasked to develop a roadmap of recommendations with cost and timing to upgrade our outdated systems. These recommendations will be reported to our team and then presented to the board. The team is excited to be involved in this project, as the end result will be improved efficiency, better data and a more robust system.
Another project being reviewed this month is our retired site audit. During our December 2020 board meeting, we communicated our administration retired site policy. This policy highlighted the process members must follow should you want to purchase a retired site. We communicated that retired sites will be capped at 3 and must be adjacent to your existing site. We will be auditing the remaining retired sites to see how these may best serve the park.
Lastly, we continue to restructure our sales department to better serve and attract members to utilize this park service. We will be hiring a new salesperson this month as well as reviewing a potential commission reduction for utilizing our sales department. We have received your Sales Department Survey results and will be reviewing your recommendations! Stay tuned to our new Sales and Events Manager, Liz’s February 2021 update.
Have a blessed January 2021! Happy 50th Anniversary Sandy Pines! We cannot wait to see you this season!