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GRF Board holds off on expanding social gatherings

Directors move ahead with capital projects, put to rest golf course walking

By Cathy Tallyn

Staff writer

GRF directors will wait and see about expanding indoor social gatherings, look to the future on facilities needs, and put to rest cutting golf hours to allow walkers extra time on the Creekside Golf Course.

Only three of nine Board members were convinced that the capacity of facilities should be increased before Gov. Gavin Newsom announces specific plans to reopen the state on June 15.

Resident Services Director Jeff Matheson explained at last Thursday’s GRF Board meeting that certain precautions would be needed to allow for more people at GRF indoor venues. Residents would have to show proof they are either fully vaccinated or had a recent negative COVID-19 test, and these two groups would have separate seating areas.

Taking this step likely would have allowed facilities to open to more people in about two weeks, he said. But capacity limits could fluctuate between then and mid-June if COVID cases changed in California, he said.

“I don’t know that it’s worth the effort,” said Board President Bob Kelso.

CEO Tim O’Keefe also suggested caution, noting that requiring proof of vaccinations could present unknown legal challenges.

Residents may say this is an affront and that they are entitled to enter because they paid for the amenity in their coupon, O’Keefe said. “I have no doubt we will have these kinds of confrontations,” he added.

Board member Sue Adams agreed. “You will have people here who say, ‘I have a right to this.’”

Director Kathleen Stumpfel asked: “Are we opening ourselves up for a lawsuit?”

Many residents are still reluctant to attend social events, Director Mary Hurt pointed out. Director Dwight Walker added that, having attended two A’s games, he found most people are compliant with the rules.

Director Dale Harrington suggested keeping the status quo. “If we are going to make changes, we should leave that up to staff.”

Kelso said that wasn’t an option. “The buck stops here,” he said. “We have to decide today.”

A straw vote showed only Board members Walker, Carl Brown and Ken Anderson wanted to further discuss opening up facilities to more residents now.

Planning for future

The Board also reshuffled capital projects to remove the “hold” on expansion of pickleball courts ($270,000); a facilities master plan ($150,000); and the Rossmoor Parkway median conversion ($50,000). Moved to “hold” were the replaster of Hillside pool ($115,000); purchase of two vehicles ($52,000); and a walkway test plan ($25,000).

Putting the master plan back on the list of active projects cleared the way for the Board to later vote to spend up to $150,000 on a long-range facilities master plan. It will be undertaken by a team from ELS Architecture and Urban Design, which worked on plans for the makeover of the Tice Creek Fitness Center.

Plans call for a 20-year guide within about four months. Residents will be able to voice their opinions during two public workshops, on surveys, and some will serve on a committee to help guide the project.

“Public involvement is most important,” said David Maseten of ELS. “This will be a design for the present and the future.”

There has been no facilities master plan since the last developer completed its housing project in the early 2000s, said O’Keefe.

“This is a small amount of money,” Walker said of the $150,000 cost, paid out of the Trust Estate Fund, not from the coupon. “It would be a huge mistake if we didn’t invest in it.”

There was unanimous approval.

Other business

The Board decided to let golfers continue to play sunup to sundown Tuesdays through Sundays and on Monday holidays on the Creekside course.

Due to health orders during the pandemic, residents were allowed to walk the two golf courses when they were closed and on a limited basis on Creekside as health orders allowed golf to resume.

“The golf courses have been extremely busy,” said Director of Golf Mark Heptig. More than $520,000 in green fees was collected during the first three months of the year.

He urged the Board to keep the Creekside course open full time for golf. To let walkers back would mean confusion about golf hours, less revenue, and perhaps some animosity on the part of golfers, he said.

“We should put this to rest,” Stumpfel suggested, “and just be done with it.”

“Walkers do not belong on a golf course,” Adams added.

No Board member made a motion to consider allowing additional walking time on the courses.

The Board also is one step closer to placing limitations on how long residents can serve on GRF advisory committees. Formal approval is expected at the May 27 Board meeting. These volunteers advise the Board on such things as finances, recreation and policy.

If approved, committee members would be limited to two consecutive three-year terms but could be reappointed if no one qualified applies. After a one-year hiatus, former committee members can again apply. The new policy would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

The Board also approved spending $5,300 to help modernize production of the Rossmoor News.