By Don McGuire
Glen Edin of Edinburgh Homeowners Association, a 20+ year old town home community, is located in Brooklyn Park on Glen Edin Lane surrounded by the world class Edinburgh Golf Course. The 46-unit property is on l7 acres with much open space. It was created by developer Evelyn Schmidt (deceased) who owned Brook Park Realty in Brooklyn Park and was also the driving force in the development of the famous Edinburgh Golf Course. Evelyn wanted housing opportunities available for all ages on the golf course and in particular executive style town homes. She sent a team of community residents during the mid 1980s to various suburbs throughout the Twin Cities area with the hope of obtaining ideas to develop a complex that would be very elegant.
She envisioned Brooklyn Park residents in single family homes who were looking to retire to a town home community to be the primary market for the housing.
Thus began the process of designing a luxurious town home community. Four builders were invited to build the town home community that started in 1987. All homes were to have separate and unique floor plans with no two having the same plan. Most of the rambler style homes built had lower levels, with several one levels. A mix of detached and side-by-side homes were built with the finished square footage for homes with two levels being from 2,500 to 3,400. All the homes were built facing the golf course with ponds on each hole. All the homes were built with cedar shake roofs and stucco plus brick and board exteriors.
The purchasing of the homes went as projected with most of the homeowners close to retirement or retired. The majority of the homeowners were from the northwest suburbs who either lived or worked nearby.
The association is self-managed, with a board of directors consisting of five members each with three-year terms. A committee structure consisting of maintenance, architecture, social, landscape, and finance comprise the backbone that the board looks to before making decisions. Board meetings are held monthly with an annual meeting of the total general membership.
Long range planning is essential to the board with 15-year budget projections for use in the common area reserve budget. Annual budgeting is derived from the work of committee input with the annual budget capped at no more than 5% increase each year.
The entire no-outlet lane through the complex and resident driveways is owned and maintained by the association as an example of one major common area budget item.
The Finance Committee assists the Treasurer in developing and updating the long-range financial forecast and the annual budget recommendation to the Board.
The beauty and greenery of the complex is evident as one drives in. The Landscape Committee and many resident volunteer gardeners ensure that the shrubbery, flowers and trees are always vibrant. A three-year rotation plan is used for the root fertilizing of trees, spraying trees for insects, pruning trees, and mulching trees and gardens. Regular inspections of turf, shrubs, and trees by residents and vendors catch potential problems before they increase. Residents taking their walks regularly pick up debris blown by the wind.
Both the Landscape Committee and the Maintenance Committee use carefully drafted specifications for vendors to bid jobs and warranties are secured and made good. Follow-up on work done before payment and after ensures quality.
The Maintenance Committee in conjunction with the Architecture Committee ensures that the association is well maintained and that new improvements desired by homeowners meet the high standards established.
Two major hail storms starting in 2005 tested the volunteer leadership of the association. With more than $2 million of damage over the course of two storms, a volunteer storm recovery coordinator from the membership worked closely with the homeowners and insurance companies to ensure a seamless process occurred to ensure that all replacements and repairs were handled efficiently. All 46 units received new roofs amounting to around $1 million. Other replacements dealt with windows, gutters, garage doors, and air conditioners which totaled more than $1,000,000. Deck repainting and staining as well as combing air conditioners made up the rest of the work. Equipped with a sophisticated spread sheet for use with the homeowners, vendors, and insurance company, the recovery coordinator was able to balance the entire insurance budget within .5%. This was an amazing accomplishment considering all the coordination that had to be done with the three stakeholder groups. The insurance companies appreciated our volunteering to coordinate these efforts as it saved them time and money to have it done.
The Social Committee sponsors several annual social functions: a Holiday Brunch, a Ladies Luncheon, the National Night Out event in Glen Edin, and a May weekend garage sale. Additional social events with volunteers contribute to the friendly neighborly atmosphere. The annual meeting in May is always well attended as well as special membership meetings when needed.
Positive feedback for good work and volunteer contributions of time and expertise by the residents makes Glen Edin shine.
The City of Brooklyn Park has been instrumental in seeing that the golf course is an amenity like few others in the Twin Cities. The maintenance and care of the greens and fairways are what one could experience viewing Golf Digest. Our association is one of the beneficiaries of this. Most recently, they lined all the ponds on the golf course including the three beside the association resulting in the ponds always looking fresh and full of water.
The vision of the developer, Evelyn Schmidt, is alive and well. Pride of ownership radiates throughout the association membership, its grounds, and its homes—a testament to the association membership and its leadership. Because of this, very few homes come available for sale each year.