Greetings Cedar Springs Homeowners
We hope this update finds you well. This post is to share information about things happening in the neighborhood. We’ve listed a short description of each item followed by a detailed explanation for those wanting additional information.
- Ash tree borer – three dead ash trees at the retention pond
- Replacing dying Exclamation London Plane tree at the retention pond (under warranty)
- Tree damage and dead trees removed at the HOA Willow outlot and Red Oak outlot
- New 3” – 5” largemouth bass will be placed in the retention pond this fall (catch and release)
- More culvert rocks will be replaced at the retention pond again this fall
- Replacement issues with second fountain
- Mailbox labels have been replaced at all six locations, plus restriction on posting notices on the mailboxes
- Online dues payments available
- Complaints about dogs
- HOA Board is seeking new members
- Lift-station information
You may have noticed many dead trees around the city. The majority of these are ash trees.
Unfortunately, we have three ash trees at the retention pond. They are dying and most likely have the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Earlier in the summer, Cathy Coleman noticed sprouts were coming out of the trunks, which is an indication that the water and nutrient flow upwards has been blocked or reduced, and they have gone into survival mode. She contacted Guy Goldsmith from the North Liberty Park Department for a second opinion. He confirmed they most likely have EAB and are dying. Since they are in the city right-of-way, the city will remove them. They are currently working on removing ash trees in the entire city, so we don’t expect them to be removed this year.
Last fall we used some of the funds budgeted for pond and beautification to plant an Exclamation London Plane tree and also added more limestone outcropping next to it to create another area to sit. This new tree started dying over the winter, so we are scheduled to get a warranty replacement tree this fall.
In July a storm knocked over several trees in the HOA outlot off of Willow Lane, and four other trees were found to be dead or dying. The DNR said these pine trees were dying from dothistroma needle blight, so the board chose to remove them at the same time. We also removed two trees in the HOA outlot off of Red Oak Drive that were struggling to survive.
We have been on a wait list since the spring to purchase 3”- 5” largemouth bass for the retention pond. They will be placed in the pond this fall. The bass will eat the smaller bluegills already in the water, so please continue to catch and release all fish.
Thank you for reminding everyone not to throw the culvert rocks into the pond. We only need to replace a few in the culverts and Chilton outcropping this fall.
In the spring we notified you of electrical failures in the pond electric panel. We were able to repair this and get both fountains working. Then this summer the north fountain died, and we were not able to revive it. Given its advanced age, we decided to use the money set aside in our pond and beautification fund to replace it, but we have been unable to find someone to install the new fountain. The vendor who helped us last year with pond issues no longer has staff, so we have tabled the replacement until the spring.
All of our mailbox labels were worn and barely readable, so the board purchased new labels. Rich Ellerie worked tirelessly at removing all of the old labels and replacing them with the new ones you now see. All of the mailboxes in Cedar Springs are property of the HOA, and we are asking everyone to please refrain from posting signs on the mailboxes. People have neglected to remove the signs and tape in a timely manner, and we are now working at cleaning all the tape residue that has been left behind from these personal postings.
The board launched the option to pay dues online for the first time this year, utilizing software from CheddarUp, which facilitates the collection of money or information for organizations such as community groups or in our case, a Homeowners Association. This year about one third of our members paid their HOA Annual Assessment online, so we will continue offering this option.
The board has received several complaints about neighborhood dogs. Please be considerate and remember to keep your dog on a leash, pick up after your dog, and don’t leave them outside if they are barking.
The HOA Board of Directors would like to find additional Cedar Springs homeowners to join the team. The board meets once a month for about an hour and also confers as needed by email or phone. Meetings had typically been held at the North Liberty Public Community Center, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, they’ve been held via Zoom.
As you probably know, our HOA is a large one, with 393 members. We had expanded the board to seven members in 2021, with the goal to have a broad cross-section of input from Cedar Springs residents. One member completed his term, and another recently moved, so we are currently at five members.
Having an active and engaged board enables the HOA to maintain and enhance the qualities that have attracted you to Cedar Springs. It’s a wide-ranging, interesting and enjoyable way to serve your neighborhood.
Among the board’s responsibilities are developing and managing annual budgets, interacting with vendors for mowing and snow removal of HOA-owned areas, coordinating beautification and pond-related projects, working with vendors to maintain the wastewater lift stations, responding to any questions from members or real estate agents, communicating with the membership via emails and the HOA website, interacting with city officials as needed, and conducting each year’s annual meeting.
If you are interested in joining our team, please reach out to us for more information about the HOA Board (firstname.lastname@example.org). Members are elected in January to one-year terms, but they can also be appointed to partial terms at any time during the year.
We have several new homeowners in Parts 7, 8 and 9, plus we could all use a refresher on our private lift stations, so we wanted to again share information on them. Due to the lower elevation of some homes in Parts 7, 8, and 9, lift stations are needed to pump their sewage uphill to reach the North Liberty sewage system for final transport and treatment. The sewage lift stations are located adjacent to the turnaround circle of the cul-de-sacs on Tupelo Drive, Scarlet Oak Circle, Linden Lane, Cypress Ridge, Alderwood Drive, Redbud Circle, and Silver Maple Trail.
We take a proactive approach to keep the sewage lift stations in good working order. Our own efforts include daily review of lift station statistics, alarm conditions, and keeping spare pumps in inventory. Each of these sewage lift stations has two pumps that operate alternately, so if one pump fails the lift station continues to operate on the other pump.
We contract with PeopleService to conduct twice monthly routine inspections of each station which includes cleaning the floats (yuck) that control when the pumps run, checking the alarms, and measuring the electrical draw (health) of the pumps. Once a year we engage Action Sewer and Septic Service to do a deep clean of lift stations that look especially greasy or have a lot of debris or feminine hygiene products present. This year we had stations Silver Maple Trail, Cypress Ridge, and Tupelo cleaned out.
Also, once a year we engage Electric Pump, the company that originally installed the lift stations, to come out and do a comprehensive examination of the lift stations. Their annual examination includes checking out the station’s electrical controls and pulling the pumps out and inspecting them for wear and tear. Their inspection this summer revealed two pumps were headed for failure. They replaced these bad pumps with the two spare pumps we own. They were able to do this on the same day, so we had no interruption in service. We still have another spare pump in our inventory and have ordered two more pumps to replace the two spares we used. Being proactive and keeping spare pumps on hand mitigates the risk of failures.
In the rare case of an extended power outage, like we experienced in the 2020 Derecho, we have a portable electrical generator available which can be connected to the lift stations. If the sewage level for a lift station reaches a critical level during the power outage, the generator will be used to pump the accumulated sewage to the North Liberty sewage lines.