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Substantial changes may be in Sun City Center’s future

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image Ed Barnes, SCC CA President

Consideration of major alterations...

By MELODY JAMESON

Sun City Center – As this community continues celebration of its 50th anniversary, consideration of major alterations that could change its face also is on the horizon.

A series of three town hall meetings focusing on different but related aspects of possible capital improvements across the community has been scheduled by the SCC Community Association board, according to Ed Barnes, its president.

The first session is slated for Wednesday, November 16, to sketch out for CA members “the big picture, the what and how and why” of a new multi-million dollar enhancement and expansion program aimed at upgrading the community’s famed amenities as it embarks on its next half century, Barnes said.

The second town hall is set for Thursday, December 15, to explore with residents the details of a potential master plan layout. A third meeting is on tap for January 19, 2012, to review the evolving “full blown plan” and to look at the financing options available, he added.

Each session is to be held in Community Hall on South Pebble Beach Boulevard.

The multi-faceted improvements project got underway earlier this year when the CA board proposed a slate of 10 potential additions and renovations designed to enhance or enlarge many aspects of the community’s amenities that residents use frequently or rate as high on their attractions list.

In March, residents were provided a paper ballot and asked to prioritize the list, to add any other amenities improvements they deemed worthy of investment and to express opinions as to financing potentials. Hundreds of SCC homeowners responded . And, in May, Martin Hurwitz , one of the board directors most involved with capital improvements planning, reported that another 35 suggestions for changes to current facilities or construction of new ones had been pinpointed.

Hurwitz also said at the time that a residents’ preference in financing mechanisms was taking shape.

Barnes declined this week to describe exactly which among the 45 or so possible improvement projects seem to have surfaced as most likely from the standpoints of desirability and feasibility. Ultimately, he indicated, the number, size and type could be driven by available and projected funding, in turn, influenced by economic conditions and CA membership commitment.

While not yet precisely ranked publicly, the board’s originally proposed 10 projects have been detailed. Two of them – a café located in the Atrium complex as well as a lobby and ticket booth for the Rollins Theater on the Central Campus - would continue the projects proposed and approved in a 2004 community-wide referendum. Both would affect current golf cart parking space. The café, possibly in combination with a recreational retreat for Wii users, proved a popular choice among the 2011 survey responders, Hurwitz has said.

Among the board’s eight other suggestions are several dealing with creation of new space. These include new construction to produce medium and larger sized meeting accommodations for a number of community users – homeowner associations, clubs, discussion groups, social organizations, CA committees and task forces – in order to relieve an ongoing shortage.

Such construction also could include facilities for the community library, the SCC Security Patrol and the CA offices, some of which functions now are shoehorned into an increasingly inadequate building on the Central Campus.

Additionally, in terms of more space, the board noted the possibility of a new and larger theater-style structure designed with a rising floor levels for better viewing of live performances, motion pictures, lectures and visitor presentations. If this design were to be constructed, the existing small theater would be converted to another use.

Another project might be adding pull-out style graduated seating in the Community Hall building in order to produce better viewing options during large community sessions there, but pushed back against the walls for banquets or dances.

Other possibilities are acquisition of more land for outdoor recreational features such as picnic areas, walking trails, bicycling and for additional parking adjacent to the Atrium.

As for financing these or other amenities features, the foundation has to be the $1,200 per dwelling transfer fee accruing when a home is sold to a new owner, Barnes said. A pay-as-it-goes scenario would begin with a substantial portion of the $800,000 in currently accrued transfer fees but limit what could be accomplished, while a loan secured by pledging future transfer fee monies could set in motion a number of projects but add the expense of interest on the debt. Hurwitz has stated survey responders favored the latter approach by two to one.

Regardless of the improvements wrapped into the ultimate master plan or the funding method finally accepted, CA directors generally agree that expanding the community’s superior number and grade of amenities made available to all SCC residents for nominal annual membership dues is crucial to the community’s future as the area’s retirement center of choice.

Copyright 2011 Melody Jameson

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