Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Shape of Things to Come

So you've seen the process of the first project.  I'll be working on the planters over the next several months.  The second project is the one that I don't have much control over....the swimming pool.  On a vote of 10 to 2, the pool was voted out!  I was in favor of the pool being removed as I think the courtyard would look a lot nicer with a fountain or gazebo.  Plus it will be a lot safer with it filled in as we have to constantly watch the kids around it. 
The HOA will be saving hundreds of dollars a month with this costly fixture on the property shutdown for good.  There was a leak in the pool that was literally draining our budget.  If we fixed the water pipe, it would have cost 1700 extra out of our own pockets(the dreaded assessment!) PLUS an initial 500 to see if they could figure out the problem.  Ridiculous!  Think carefully about having a pool on your property if you're thinking about installing one.  If you use it everyday or have a family, it's a bit different.  But in our situation, the pool is rarely ever used PLUS the plants around it drop their leaf litter into the water. It was not heated and therefore wasn't used in the winter.  In summer, there were people who sunbathed by the pool, but rarely got into it.  The money saved will go into fixing up the area again and of course, it will take some time to get that money together.  It will also allow for people to think about what they want in that space.  I can see both a gazebo and fountain.  We'll see what happens.  The pool service was 110 dollars a month for a once a week clean. Every two years our pump broke down at 450 bucks a pop.  The pool had an unreachable leak, monthly water bill cost around 200 to 300 dollars.  Yearly permit to have a pool 140 dollars. So one can see the cost involved with a pool....
Several of the arguments were:
  1. It would devalue the property.
  2.  It was the idea that you could swim. (If you wanted to...)
  3. Or...I use it to swim. 
My observations/responses.......
1.  Devalue?  Not true.  Many times, you won't get your money back investing in a pool for your home.Your home price is your home price.  Ask your real estate agent or just watch HGTV.
2.  Is the idea of swimming worth several thousands of dollars of not using it per year?
3. If you are one of the 3 people that use it in June, July, and August rarely, does that constitute paying all that money?  Why not join a gym?  Our pool isn't deep or wide.  One person swam.  The others sunbathed....I'm pretty confident that they'll be able to do that activity:)
4.  No more worries of "why the pool is green" or "who threw that chicken carcus into the pool?" or "why isn't the pump working?" or "the pool has a leak; we need to fill it everyday" Wasted water and money and people's time. In a time when we should be conserving water, the pool was a wasteful thing to have on the property.  However, I do believe water is important in our courtyard for all of us so I'll be crossing my fingers for a large Mexican fountain with benches and planters around a large base.
So for many thousands of dollars to maintain a year, is the cost justified in a community of 16 units? And of those units, maybe 3 people used it?  More people use the courtyard to hang out and have dinners.  It was an interesting situation that will now go through a makeover.  I know that the board is relieved as the finances were extremely tight.  It was made worse because several people were behind in their HOA payments which put things financially in a tight spot with the bills.  

So that's the story of the 2nd Spring project. I do feel for the people who wanted to keep it because I did on occassion use it with my family.  There was nothing better than having a cold beer hanging out with friends and family in 110 degree temps!:) But I didn't use it enough.  If it were every night, I may have fought to keep it.  The 3rd project is less complicated with some gardening info for newcomers to the desert and one that I am enjoying much more as it's about being an artist and gardener. This project is about "front curb appeal" and protecting our borders.  Until next time, stay tuned for the final blog series on El Presidio's spring projects.  PS.  The blogs are kind of ugly as is any restoration type project when you first start them:) However, the process is important and so are the steps getting there for the final product.  We'll see what happens.  It's easier to tear stuff apart than putting them back together.:) In my case, the two landscaping projects are within my capacity to complete.  The pool may be another story:)


  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I love the look of your pool, but yes they do cost money. I can see how a nice fountain would fit that spot too. Here in Australia we have to have lots of inspections and they have to be fenced. We are in a set of 10 units and so far everyone loves the pool and uses it, but we have the climate to swim year round which makes it more of a necesssity.

  2. What a wonderful surprise!! I loved when our pool was used. Your climate sounds like paradise. Ours is pretty nice as well. The evenings get a bit cool here during the winter.


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