Enough is Enough!
By Mike Whiting
General Manager, RCSCW
“Enough is enough!” – an oft used phrase which is also a good introduction to this article.
For a very reasonable fee, the Recreation Centers of Sun City West provides recreational services for more than 28,000 members. Our facilities include four large community centers, seven golf courses, 30 bowling lanes, a library, racquetball, tennis, a woodworking shop, a metal shop, walking tracks, softball field, a theater, outdoor park, lawn bowling, bocce courts, dog parks, etc. The list goes on and on. Here’s a little known fact: We maintain 3,203,897 square feet of asphalt on Rec Centers’ property.
Sun City West is the finest retirement community ever conceived, and none compare to the quantity or quality of recreation facilities that Del Webb built here. So do we have enough? My answer is yes! We have enough!
From time to time a member will come to my office proposing an improvement. These ideas are usually good, and a good justification is often presented. But what are frequently forgotten (or under-calculated) are the operational costs. My goal as General Manager is simple: Maintain the original Del Webb concept. Most everyone here agrees we must maintain our facilities to a high standard, and when we refurbish, we should use modern materials. It’s a pretty simple concept!
Should we update our facilities from time to time? When club membership declines, when interests change, yes we should. Some good examples of this are the addition of the RH Johnson Library Data Resource Center. (The Friends of the Library funded $350,000 of that improvement.) The Stardust Theatre Council funded the $160,000 addition to the Theatre, and the Softball Club has funded $450,000 of improvements to the softball facility over the years.
Del Webb also wisely set up our community Bylaws to allow 9 elected officials to govern the Rec Centers. The Board also appoints several committees to give advice to the Board. You will find this Board to be extraordinarily interested in your opinions, and they meet frequently to get your input. They listen!
The Board adopts an annual budget that includes funding for capital projects and capital equipment. About 70 percent of these funds are spent on equipment and maintenance of parking lots, roofs, renovation, etc. About 30 percent is spent on major projects or renovations such as the Beardsley Fitness Center, Palm Ridge Pickleball Courts or the Library renovation.
Now, occasionally someone proposes something that costs a bundle of money (my estimate is $2.5 million to $3.5 million), like for instance a gymnasium. This topic was hotly debated at the September Governing Board Meeting. So the Board listened to both sides. Just because they listened doesn’t mean they agree! Most of them don’t agree and I would be very surprised if they approve this project!
For the record: I do not support this project. Enough is enough!