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The Pen Group Communications
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Fort Myers Seven Lakes Condominium Association Named
2010 Community of the Year in Independently Judged Recognition Program
ORLANDO, FL, March 24, 2010 – The Florida Community Association Journal and the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff today announced the 17 winners of the 2010 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards, including the 2010 Community of the Year, Seven Lakes Condominium Association in Fort Myers.
Board members, residents and managers of the 54 communities selected as finalists gathered with community association industry leaders at the Awards ceremony last night in Orlando to celebrate the accomplishments of condominium and homeowner associations from across the state. Tom Sorrells, Chief Meteorologist at Orlando's WKMG-TV, was the emcee for the awards presentation, which was held at the Fairwinds Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Central Florida.
The awards are the only independently judged state-wide program that celebrates homeowner and condominium associations setting standards for achievement. Communities with more than 200 units and communities with fewer than 200 units were judged separately in each of nine categories.
“The recipients of these awards are role models for communities throughout Florida,” said Jim McMurry, publication director, Florida Community Association Journal . “We were overwhelmed by the high standard of the almost 200 entries we received this year and applaud each of the winning communities for their commitment to improving their associations and in doing so raising the bar for communities across the state.”
The presentation of the “Community of the Year Award” was made to the Seven Lakes Condominium Association, a 1,100-home golf and tennis community in Fort Myers, which was a finalist in three categories and the Award recipient in two categories, “Environmental Protection & Preservation” and “Community Relations and Communication.” The selection of the winners was made by independent experts from education, journalism, environmental advocacy, community association management and public safety. To learn more about the judges visit: http://www.communitiesofexcellence.net/judges.html
The 2010 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards also were enhanced by participation of companies that are dedicated to serving the residents of condominiums and homeowner associations who have joined as 2010 corporate sponsors, including Associa, Association Financial Services, AmeriFlood, Aquatic Systems, Comcast, CondoConduit, The Continental Group, Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), Progress Energy Florida, Superior Bank, Service America and TD Bank.
Following are the communities honored as recipients of the 2010 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards (200+ unit communities appear first):
BEST WEB SITE
- Baldwin Park, Orlando
The award recognizes the redesign of the home page to make it more user friendly and graphically pleasing. The new site includes important community documents, an enhanced “What's Happening” section linking to major area events, and a new a “Meet Your Neighbor” section.
- Clearwater Key Association South Beach, Clearwater
Launched in 2009 with a real estate section for posting rentals and sales, the site features board and property manager blogs and live webcasts of board meetings. Photo galleries now connect out-of-town owners with the latest building renovations and social gatherings.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROGRAMS & INITIATIVES
- Lakes of the Meadow, Miami
Community events include a holiday party, fireworks displays for New Year's and the Fourth of July, plus Halloween and Easter events. Additional events include teen parties, bingo, car shows and movie nights.
- Images Condominium Association, Kissimmee
The association provides children's activities after school and during school breaks. It secured the donation of refurbished computers for a learning center and hosts family movie nights, pool parties, and holiday functions.
SAFETY & SECURITY
- Avalon Park Property Owners Association, Orlando
Residents are involved in Neighborhood Watch and Citizens on Patrol and the community was a 2009 National Night Out winner. A youth council is being started to engage young people along with a text messaging system for residents to report suspicious activity.
- Forest Ridge Village Condominium Association, Fernandina Beach
This beach condo cooperates closely with local law enforcement to reduce crime. The Board instituted background checks for all long-term tenants, established a Neighborhood Watch, increased security education and emphasized vehicle control and lighting.
CIVIC VOLUNTEERISM & ADVOCACY
- Ibis Property Owners Association, West Palm Beach
This golf and country club community's Volunteer Fair presented 28 organizations offering residents opportunities to assist children, nature & animals, the arts, history, the elderly, infirmed and needy. They also support the Ibis Wildlife Foundation; several charities benefiting cancer research and patients; and toy, food, and clothing drives.
- The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale
This beachfront condo-hotel is involved in nine, year-round service projects. Programs include adopting a local middle school, food drives, a clothes drive for runaway teens, beach clean-up, and sponsoring a family with a terminally ill parent to stay at the Ritz to leave them with a lasting memory.
- Tuscany Bay HOA, Boynton Beach
The community's Emergency Response Team has been certified since 2006 and receives continuing education. Their emergency plan is coordinated with outside agencies and addresses hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires and pandemic flu.
- Golden Horn South Condominium Association, Hallandale
The community's disaster response plan includes a command center with impact-resistant glass and a natural gas generator for safe and secure operation during a disaster. They also created a Community Association Response Kit which encourages building evaluations and claims filings to begin as soon as possible in the aftermath of a disaster.
ENERGY & WATER CONSERVATION
- Pelican Cove Condominium Association, Sarasota
The award recognizes a $2 million water line replacement project that has reduced water usage by 23 percent. They have also installed solar panels, low-flow water fixtures, programmable thermostats, and compact fluorescent light bulbs; and have minimized watering of landscaping.
- Villa Magna Condominium Association, Highland Beach
The community retrofitted its air conditioning system to reduce water and energy consumption. The $1.2 million project also entailed installation of solar panels and heat pumps, solar tinting of lobby windows, adoption of compact fluorescent bulbs for common areas and upgrading to energy efficient appliances.
- Ocean Village, Fort Pierce
A $400,000 annual budget savings was accomplished through payroll reduction and outsourcing to local firms without eliminating services. Financial accountability has been strengthened, reserves increased, bad debt taken into account, and delinquent assessments assigned to a collections attorney.
- Fountain View Villas Master Association, Venice
The community has positively impacted cash flow by requiring quarterly payments only by direct deposit or check to the association's bank. Presently 40% of homeowners use direct deposit bank draft payment. Additionally, improved monitoring has helped reduce utilities costs, and Television and insurance cost reductions were achieved.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION
- Seven Lakes Condominium Association, Fort Myers
Water conservation methods include use of closed-loop waste water treatment for equipment wash water, conversion to low-water-use landscaping, removal of invasive aquatic plants and storm water recycling. Energy savings were achieved with conversion to heat pumps for heating pools, adoption of fluorescent and LED lighting and roof coating for heat reflection. They have established a 5.5-acre natural area.
- Aspen Glen, Boynton Beach
The community transformed a dead lake into a thriving habitat for turtles, frogs, fish and ducks by installing an auto-fill system using clean, deep well water, adding fountains and aerators, and stocking the lake with native plants and fish. The result is a beautiful and serene retreat for residents
COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Seven Lakes Condominium Association, Fort Myers
Communication is promoted through meetings between the 29 condominium representatives, the general manager, and department managers, as well as through the newsletter. Committees and the board receive input via workshops and time for owner input is scheduled during board meetings. Board member candidates submit resumes and hold a Meet the Candidate Night.
- Esplanade Club, Naples
The board receives input from owners through surveys, at workshop meetings, and at open board meetings. Community unity is promoted through numerous social events with up to 80 percent attendance and a special committee representing the unit owners.
2010 COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR
- Seven Lakes Condominium Asociation, Fort Myers
Additional information about 2010 Florida Communities of Excellence Awards can be found by visiting www.communities ofexcellence.net
About the Florida Community Association Journal
Founded in 1986, the Florida Community Association Journal provides news and vital information to operators of condominiums, homeowners associations, cooperatives and other multi-unit communities and has earned the reputation of being the industry's most authoritative voice. The monthly publication contains news and feature articles dealing with areas of interest to managers and board members, including legal matters, accounting practices, insurance, rules enforcement, cost-saving practices, industry events, building and grounds maintenance, security solutions, education and more. Additional information at www.flcaj.com/.
About Becker & Poliakoff
Becker & Poliakoff is a diverse commercial law firm with more than 130 attorneys in 13 Florida offices, New York City, New Jersey, Nassau, Bahamas, Prague and affiliated international offices. Celebrating its thirty-seventh (37th) year of serving clients, the firm has seven primary areas of practice: Real Estate, Construction, Community Association, Customs & International Trade, Commercial Litigation, Corporate & Securities, and Government Law & Lobbying. For more information, visit: www.becker-poliakoff.com .