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Posted on: October 1, 2021

Proposed Amenity Improvement Information and Clarification

Dear Julington Creek Plantation resident,

As you are likely aware, the Julington Creek Plantation Community Development District (“District”) Board of Supervisors (“Board”) has spent the last 18 months exploring opportunities to improve the Aquatics Center, which was built approximately 25 years ago. There appears to be a large amount of misinformation circulating. This informational sheet is intended to serve as factual information to residents about this project. The most common inaccurate information the Board has received is as follows, with a summary of factual information provided for your reference.

The District did not include proper procedures to select ELM as the architect for the project.

The District is a unit of government and is required to follow public procurement laws in soliciting certain professionals, including architects. The District noticed and solicited qualifications from architects for this project and ELM was selected by the Board, at a public meeting, and as required by Florida law. 

The project has already been decided.

The District’s Board has been working on gathering information regarding upgrades to the Aquatics Center for close to two years. The interest in the project began when the Board was reviewing its capital reserve funding for the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget (commencing October 1, 2019 and ending September 30, 2020). The Board noticed that a large number of the upcoming projected expenditures were to make repairs to the Aquatics Center – repairs that would not improve the resident experience but rather would keep the Aquatics Center open and operational. Rather than spend thousands of dollars without a noticeable improvement to experience, the Board decided to begin the process of collecting data and information on opportunities to make improvements to the aged facility as a possible alternative option. The information has been discussed at publicly noticed, publicly held, Board meetings, starting prior to COVID-19. When the state began shutting down facilities in March of 2020, the Board decided to table the project, given the amount of uncertainty. The project research was restarted some months ago. Once the Board had sufficient information to present in an organized fashion to the community for its feedback, the Town Hall was scheduled and also included potential other enhancements to District assets, including at the Recreation Center and Plantation Park. However, the project has NOT been decided, only architectural renderings for ideas and resident solicitation has been formulated, no construction drawings or financial decisions have been made. Furthermore, prior to the District financing any large scale improvements, all property owners in the District would receive a direct mailing with actual financial and project information and a public hearing would be held. 

The project is all or nothing.

The District’s Board is considering everything from making no improvements, to moderate improvements (i.e. small enhancements to the Aquatics Center), to a larger redesign of just the Aquatics Center, to the various improvements presented at the Town Hall. The project is not all or nothing – which was one of the biggest drivers in soliciting resident feedback on what improvements are most important to residents of Julington Creek. 

The survey is residents’ only chance to provide feedback.

The survey was only one means by which residents’ could provide feedback. All meetings of the Board have been public, published and available to resident attendance. Residents can always e-mail individual Board members or members of staff with their feedback (contact information found on the District’s website at www.jcpcdd.org). Residents can call Board members or staff. Residents can attend Board meetings to express their opinions. Residents can leave feedback at the Recreation Center. If the Board moves forward with financing a part or all of the improvements, there will be a direct mailer and a public hearing on assessments and the project. There are several opportunities for residents to provide feedback. The survey was just one tool among many and the Board realizes that the survey has its limitations. 

The surveys are the only decision metric.

The surveys are only one tool among many available to the Board in making a decision on how to approach improvements, operation and maintenance of District assets. The Board understands that survey results can be skewed by any number of considerations. The Board is also reviewing resident e-mail and phone communication received, considering the larger financial picture, and a number of other metrics in deciding how to approach making any improvements to the District’s assets. 

If we do not do this project, assessments will not go up.

It is unlikely that assessments will stay level given the age of the Aquatics Center and Recreation Center, along with the projected timing for capital reserve expenditures for various aging infrastructure repairs. It is true that the level of assessments immediately are not anticipated to increase substantially assuming that the improvements as presented at the Town Hall are not financed by the District; however, it is unlikely that there will not be costs that the District will incur to continue to repair and maintain existing infrastructure over time. 

The District hasn’t maintained its infrastructure and that’s why we are replacing it. 

The District’s Board has been diligent in maintaining all of the District’s infrastructure. The District also has a robust capital reserve study to identify when improvements may need to be made to ensure the integrity of infrastructure is maintained – including such things as roof replacement, air conditioning replacement, pool resurfacing, etc – and how to budget for such projected expenditures. It is not a problem of maintenance. Instead, the Board recognizes that St. Johns County is awash with a number of competing developments with a full array of new amenity improvement offerings. Julington Creek’s Aquatics Center was built approximately 25 years ago, is currently underutilized and the Board desired to explore whether improvements to the Aquatics Center more in line with current market trends would bring more excitement and a sense of community to District residents rather than spending ten’s of thousands of dollars on replacing roofing structures, resurfacing pools and pavers, and other maintenance of the improvements that would not change the design and engagement. 

The project is only about benefitting the swim team(s). 

The project was not designed with swim teams in mind. In fact, the project began with a focus on utilizing the aquatics center as a mixed adult resident and family mindset, without regard to swim team use – including the idea of having a premier wedding/event venue, adult only pool and family lazy river at the Aquatics Center and having the Recreation Center serve as the “sports” area – for swim teams, gym goers, tennis, pickleball, basketball and the like. The swim teams are a large part of the community but this project was not done to serve swim team use but rather to serve the community at large, particularly in keeping Julington Creek competitive and relevant in a competitive market.  

We hope this information is helpful.  Due to the volume of comments received, it is impossible to respond to each comment individually, but all comments will be taken into consideration during the decision-making process.  We appreciate your engagement in the community and look forward to keeping Julington Creek Plantation a wonderful place to live.

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