When it comes to offering social programs and amenities to a community, residents' wants, needs and preferences can run the gamut. For board members and property managers, having programs in place that cater to the collective—toddlers to octogenarians and those in between and beyond—can be a challenge.
“A community that has activities and opportunities to get together creates a much stronger sense of belonging and a much more positive atmosphere,” says Attorney Ellen Hirsch de Haan, a partner with the Tampa-based law firm of Wetherington Hamilton, P.A.. With over 28 years of experience in the practice of HOA and condo law, de Haan serves also clients in Dade and Broward counties. “They have fewer disagreements, less challenges with the board and more cooperation with the operations and governance of the community.”
“You find that across the country, depending on where you are, you are going to have a different type of culture and possibly a totally different demographic mix,” de Haan continues. “The Chicago area, for example, is very urbanized so they will have a different way of doing things than a community in Texas or Tampa. Housing stock matters. Geographic location matters as does cultural and demographic backgrounds, and of course age.”
Since a condo property can be populated by a wide range of residents, board members and managers often have to work in a collaborative fashion to ensure all residential requests are considered. For example, a young married couple raising children will likely have different wants, such as playrooms and daycare, than a retired couple who may prefer game nights and social outings to the museum.
“Our community association offers programming to older adults or our 50-plus group and over the last few years, our most popular programming has involved those that are more social in nature,” says Lisa Cox, PCAM, community manager for the Missouri City, Texas-based Sienna Plantation Residential Association. Cox was named a 2014 CAI Manager of the Year and is member of the National Recreation and Park Association and the Greater Gulf Coast Parks and Recreation Directors Association.