The Neighborly Thing Preserving Community Programming

 When condo association budgets get tight, the logical approach is to cut  spending wherever it will hurt the least. No board or property manager wants to  reduce services or take away amenities, yet in the fallout from the Great  Recession, those kinds of tough decisions have been nearly unavoidable. When  times are tough, recreational activities and event planning are often the first  casualties. But while this may save money in the short term, it also can hurt a  community long-term, reducing its desirability and eroding the sense of  neighborliness that made it feel like home.  

 A number of Florida condo associations have weathered this lingering financial  storm not by eliminating activities and community programming altogether, but  by coming up with new and innovative approaches that have saved money without  sacrificing quality.  

 Where We Started

 In Florida, “Luxury living in a resort-style setting has turned into a year-round passion for  many condominium communities, rather than just a seasonal one,” says Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, general manager of The Galleon  Condominium Association in Fort Lauderdale. “The concept of community and a sense of belonging provide positive benefits [to  our members.]”  

 The residents of The Hemispheres condominium community in Hallandale Beach also  were used to a full and diverse roster of programming. Its 1,298 residential  units have access to two club buildings and a broad range of recreational  areas. It is an active community which was able to support an activities  director, an assistant and an activities budget in the mid-five figure range.  

 “As the economy changed for the worse, we started to feel the impact of the  defaults,” says Alicia S. Moreno, a member of the board of directors for The Hemispheres  Condominium Association, Inc. Cuts became necessary and the activities office  was reduced to one person: Moreno, who took on activities duties in addition to  her regular position. “Our second step was to decree that activities needed to be self-sustaining.”  

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