Layne Varney, General Manager
It has been one of the hottest summers, breaking records of consecutive days of temperatures over 110 degrees. Still, no monsoon storms, except for the very quick one that passed over several months ago in early June. Regardless, the maintenance work and improvement projects continue onward in SunBird.
Last year a large portion of the clubhouse interior was updated with new vibrant flooring, fresh new paint colors, new décor, and furniture. The plan to update the clubhouse was scheduled to be completed over a three-year period of time. This year the ballroom was updated with paint, lighting, stage curtains, and wall décor, all coordinating with the work from the previous year. The main restrooms of the clubhouse are currently being updated to continue the project. The clubhouse updating project this summer was minimized due to the effects of COVID-19.
Golf cart joint parking expansion project has been completed. SunBird resident Dave Meyers has been studying ways to increase parking at and around the clubhouse for years. He developed a plan that would increase cart parking with 18 additional spaces and improve the entrances and exits to this area. The parking plan included property of the SB Golf Club and Homeowners Association. Both parties both agreed with the plan’s benefit.. Best of all, Mr. Meyers collected the approximately $15,000 to construct and complete the parking expansion project. We appreciate all those who donated to this project, and especially Dave for his foresight and effort to see this improvement completed.
At this time (writing this article early August), data is indicating that with all of the Arizona State Governor’s mandates and strict orders to prevent disease spread, that cases of the COVID-19 virus have begun to decrease. This is good news but not a time to celebrate or take a victory lap. It has been speculated by health officials that a relapse or resurgence could occur again this fall. SunBird will continue to follow the CDC and the state disease prevention practices and protocols.
With the uncertainty of these times with the COVID-19 disease, restrictions and limitations of event gatherings and social distancing, making plans at SunBird for activities and events has been very difficult. A full year of fun and excitement was scheduled prior to these challenges, but in all likelihood, they may have to be postponed. In the meantime, our lifestyle director, Wendy Weber, is working hard searching for creative ways to have different types of activities that are compliant with social distancing. It will likely be a different year in SunBird, just like most of these past months.
How have all these COVID-19 changes, restrictions, and limitations affected SunBird financially? Initially, these restrictions and changes occurred without notice and very rapidly in mid-March. The clubhouse and all recreational facilities were closed immediately. Activities and restaurant services had to be closed with activities already scheduled and large food and beverage catering events. It was first anticipated that these closures would be for a two- or four-week period of time. It has now been almost six months of restrictions and mandates still in place for gatherings and the use of some recreational facilities. SunBird quickly adjusted to these changes to reduce expenses during this period of time. The board of directors and management took quick action to develop plans following governor mandates and CDC guidelines. Further, discussions continued with “what if” and “how long” scenarios to have plans in place for immediate implementation. SunBird department managers had several strategic meetings to determine what actions to take to keep SunBird facilities compliant, keeping both residents and employees at the facilities practicing social distancing and disease prevention methods, and ways to reduce expenses as much as reasonably possible. Utilities to heat the pool, cool and light the clubhouse, and some department staff and hours of operation were reduced. The new requirements of additional and improved cleaning and sanitization of facilities has resulted in increases in products, hand sanitation dispensers, additional and new disinfectant supplies in almost every room and recreational facility has resulted in new and additional expense. SunBird applied for, was approved, and received the Payroll Protection Programs (PPP) forgivable loan from the Federal Government CARES Act for financial assistance. This was a help to SunBird. SunBird has several saving accounts for specific future projects and has an emergency contingency fund. Fortunately, SunBird did not have to use the emergency contingency fund due to the PPP forgivable loan. With the reduction of expenses, new procedures to follow, and the PPP loan, SunBird is projected to complete the year 2020 in good financial state. With many uncertainties ahead, SunBird is planning to cautiously finance the year 2021 by aggressively building our emergency contingency fund should these times continue or repeat.
These are challenging times for everyone. It has affected everyone’s way of living and has placed limitations on what we can do until the situation is safer. We look forward to when facilities, amenities, and activities can return to the new normal. Stay safe and healthy.