Friday, May 10, 2019

New Landscaper in Autumn Walk

You may have noticed that since the beginning of the year, we have had a new landscaping company in Autumn Walk, Johnson Lawn & Landscapes.

This was not a small decision as the landscaping contract is over half of our operational budget, and perhaps the most significant benefit for keeping our community in top shape, especially since it covers much of the private yard maintenance as well.

  • (We are all still responsible for weeding and repairs.)

The Autumn Walk HOA Board decided to competitively bid out the landscaping contract last year, and with the assistance of our Community Manager April Day obtained multiple proposals.

After reviewing the proposals and checking their prior work in other communities, the Board decided to switch to Johnson Lawn & Landscapes effective January 1, 2019.

  • Because the price was competitive, we also decided to add a light, second Fall mulching to replace the mulch washed away after the major Spring Clean-Up.
  • They will also cover contingent (i.e., if needed) snow removal in the common areas during the winter season.

We are monitoring the contract closely, but so far we feel Autumn Walk has received excellent service this year.

We have gotten feedback from some residents that the Spring Clean-Up was done very well and that overall their houses (and our neighborhood as a whole) have never looked better!

Emerson Community Facebook Forum

Did you know that Emerson has a Facebook Forum, a closed group open only to residents and owners, that has become the place to go to get recommendations, find out what's going on in the community, and do a little buying and selling?

Join in the fun! You'll be asked to provide an Emerson address.

Emerson Mailbox Painting

Emerson's newest Board member, Richard Flinn, has created a huge number of initiatives, ranging from revitalizing Emerson's committees with a new Community Affairs Committee, to systematically trying to improve the state of the common area property throughout Emerson.

As part of the latter, we got a very visible sign of progress on our street when our mailboxes were painted on Thursday (along with mailboxes throughout Emerson). The painting is part of a campaign to ensure that everything within Emerson will look spruce and in good repair, to show off our community to the world.

On our street, the slight difference in the colors of our mailboxes created an interesting, and perhaps even fashionable, two-tone effect.

A list of various Emerson initiatives this year:

1. Emerson Clubhouse Renovation (Chair: Fred Leong) - first meeting is 5/16/19

2. Community Affairs Committee Open House - Open House 5/23/19

3. Emerson Food Truck Fridays - Organized by Emerson resident Khaleda Hasan - EVERY FRIDAY through August

New Monument Sign Lighting

The Emerson Master HOA gave us a landscaping light for our monument sign as a test, with the objective of determining whether the lights would work well enough in Autumn Walk and Skylark Ridge to roll them out across the community.

Old and New Lights Together

However, we felt the light had several issues, including a harsh white color temperature, limited placement options for the (single) light, and limited ability to place the solar panel to collect sunlight and avoid getting turned off by headlights at night (with the light shutting off as cars turned onto our street).

Old Light (in the center)

So after some research we found lights, the Solar Light Mart SLM81250, that we felt would deliver a much better result, and purchased them at a very reasonable cost of $39.99. [The manufacturer now has a third generation light that is brighter and still is rated to run from 7-12 hours, though the price of all the lights has gone up slightly.]

New Lights (one on each side)

The caveat, however, is that installation is significantly more complex (a few hours during both daylight and at night versus 10 minutes, to include waterproofing the connectors and burying the cables), which we could afford since we did it ourselves at no cost.

But hopefully you'll agree with us that the result was worth it! Go out after dark and check them out for yourselves!


Let Them Bee

You may have noticed hundreds of tiny dirt nests in our community, mostly behind the north rows but a few in the front yards as well.

Our Community Manager April told us these are ground-nesting bees:

However, they are not aggressive at all unless handled (this was true even though they had been disturbed by our mowers, who are trained to recognize dangerous insects).

So after researching them, we decided not to spray them or try to force them out with water, because Cornell says they are benign pollinators and recommends allowing them to stay. And many bees populations are already under stress.

Hopefully they will move on after the Spring nesting season but we wanted to let you know what they are, and why we chose to "let them be."

Wednesday, May 8, 2019